Day 17: The Man at the Pool of Bethesda

Text: John 5
Event(s): Jesus goes to Jerusalem for second Passover, heals a lame man at the pool of Bethesda 

John 5:4 If you’re reading a paraphrased version of the Bible (for example, NLT or MSG) the last part of verse three and verse four are omitted.

John 5:6-7Do you want to be made well?” This was a pretty straightforward yes or no kind of question. But instead, the man gave a reason as to why he wasn’t well. His answer, however, reveals his desire for someone to help him. He also revealed where he was placing his faith for his healing – in the pool.

John 5:14Sin no more..” Like we read in yesterday’s passage in Luke 5 with the other miracles, sin was the cause of this man’s paralysis. I love that one of the first places this man went, was church,  if you will. He hadn’t stepped foot in a temple in 38 years, but now, he couldn’t stay away.

John 5:20 “For the Father loves the Son..” The nature of our heavenly Father is to show us, and teach us to do on earth what is already in heaven. He does this because He loves us. What do we have authority and power to do? That which is of the Kingdom of heaven. When we encounter things on earth that are not things of the Kingdom (in this case, sickness) we have full permission to evoke God’s authority and power to bring life.

John 5:24but have passed from death unto life” One of my favorite phrases in the entire Bible. Paul says it this way in Colossians 1:13, “For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son..” (NLT) For those of us who have made Jesus LORD of our lives, we don’t even belong to the same kingdom anymore. Think of yourself as being picked up, removed out of the old place we were, and relocated entirely. 

John 5:28 Jesus concluded that one of the byproducts of allowing God’s word to abide in our hearts is that we will be willing to put our faith in the next thing God wants to do.

Today’s Takeaway: We may not be needing a physical miracle as this man did, but in listening to the question Jesus posed him, “Do you want to be made well?” I can’t help but hear, Are we willing to turn from what we’re trusting in for our miracle and turn to Him wholeheartedly instead, lest we miss how He wants to move? If it is indeed physical healing we need, medicine and doctors are great, and God may use those to heal us, but are we trusting in those things, or are we trusting in Jesus? If we’re believing God for a miracle in our finances, are we trusting our places of employment to give us a raise, or are we trusting in Jesus? This man’s faith was in what happened in the pool, and had it not been for the grace of God that was intentional to reach out to him, he may have missed it.

The other thing I hear is, Are we willing to receive a miracle we haven’t worked for? Are there works we’re attaching to our faith? Are we convinced we have to pray a certain way or do certain things in order to get God to move? We can certainly stir our faith through prayer, etc. but in this story, I see simplicity of living in belief and being open to how God wants to work, not having an expectation of how He should.

Additional (optional) reading: 1 Kings 17:1-10 In this story in the life of Elijah, we have another great example of keeping our faith fresh and staying in tuned with God. We can’t miss what God is saying today because we’re so locked in to what God said yesterday. (I say this of course referring to specific direction for our lives. God never changes, but some prophetic words and some of the specific direction He gives us does have a shelf life.)