Jesus and Miracles… Seeking the Greater Healing! 

“Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!””

‭‭John‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

In John 5, Jesus returned to Jerusalem for a “Feast of the Jews.” We’re not told which Feast this was. Passover? Pentecost? Tabernacles? But the last time we saw Jesus in Jerusalem for one of the Feasts, He made a scene by chasing out the animals and flipping tables. Jesus also had performed some miraculous signs then that stirred belief. There must have been anticipation and great excitement to see what Jesus would do at this holy celebration.

Jesus essentially announces His presence at this Feast with another miracle, healing a man who had been ill for 38 years.

Honestly, I have always thought of this man as crippled, lame, or paralyzed because Jesus told Him to get up, take up his mat, and walk. The other man Jesus said this too had been a paralyzed man who was carried to Jesus by four friends and lowered down through a roof right in front of Jesus. But was this man crippled or paralyzed? What are we told about him?

1. The place where Jesus found the man was filled with sick people- blind, lame, or paralyzed.

“Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches.”‬‬

‭‭John‬ ‭5:3‬ ‭NLT

2. The man was described as being sick or ill.

“One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years.”‬‬

‭‭John‬ ‭5:5‬ ‭NLT

3. The man couldn’t get into the “healing waters” of the Pool of Bethesda on his own.

““I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.””

‭‭John‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

One of two things seems to be true about this man. Either he was a lame man, unable to walk, whether disabled or paralyzed, and someone had carried him to the Pool of Bethesda and left him there to beg… Or, this man was sick, but was able to walk on his own to get to the Pool, a strategic place to beg for money, and laid there with his pathetic story to conjure up pity from passers-by.

Perhaps it is the second scenario, which was why Jesus asked him, “Hey, do you want to get well?” Maybe Jesus could see from his condition that he was poor and sick, but not actually lame or paralyzed, and was playing this up for pity.

He was certainly sick for a long time. 38 years. His was a life-long illness. And Jesus healed him.

Most people Jesus had healed became believers, placing their faith in Him. Evidently, this man hadn’t. At least that’s what Jesus’ message to him would indicate.

“But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.””

‭‭John‬ ‭5:14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Stop sinning? What had Jesus seen that made Him say this? This has a much different feel than Jesus’ words to the woman who had been caught in adultery, “Go, and sin no more.”

What “worse thing” would happen to this man? What would be worse than being sick for 38 years? Getting a worse sickness? I doubt it. It seems like Jesus is saying, “Repent of your sin. Turn to Me, and believe in Me as Messiah and Savior, or you will be separated from God forever.”

One interesting note to this story is this. The area at the Pool of Bethesda was filled with sick people- blind, lame, paralyzed. Evidently, Jesus left all but one there to remain in their condition- blind, lame, or paralyzed. He had a perfect opportunity to seize the moment and perform healing after healing, but evidently He didn’t. There would be a large crowd there to witness His miracle healing service at the Pool of Bethesda since it was right outside the temple. What an opportunity! But no. Jesus didn’t heal them all.

While in some scenarios, we’re told that Jesus healed all who were brought to Him, in this case Jesus evidently chose not to.

I wonder why Jesus didn’t heal them right then and there? It obviously was not the Father’s purpose at that moment. Through Jesus’ confrontation that ensued with the Pharisees, we see that Jesus’ purpose at that moment was to proclaim with words whom He was. He could have done this with actions, but He had already publicly displayed that with His actions at Passover a year earlier. He had just roused that memory with this single healing. And now, it was time for Him to boldly declare with words His claim to be the Messiah, the Son of God.

Which would be the greater miracle? This man being healed physically, picking up his mat and walking away from the Pool of Bethesda? Or this man, in an instant, going from death to life spiritually, receiving forgiveness for his sins and the free gift of eternal life?

NOTE: Today’s blogpost is based upon Sonlife’s study, Knowing Him / A 50 Day Study in the Life of Christ / Day 17

Knowing Him has companion videos with our global leaders shot on location in Israel. Click here to watch the video that accompanies today’s study.