Jesus Heals an Invalid Man
Comments for Study 6
Key verse: 5:8
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I. "Do you Want to Get Well?" (1-7)
>1. Describe the crowd waiting around the pool of Bethesda.
* "Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie--the blind, the lame, the paralyzed." -John 5:1-3
* "Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem" -This event is not in any other gospel because John's gospel concentrates on Jesus in Jerusalem, while the synoptic gospels concentrates on Jesus' ministry in Galilee. The length of time between this is only described at being "some time later". We really don't know how long.
* "for a feast of the Jews" -Most likely one of three feast that God told Moses that the Israelites were required to attend. The feast as recorded in Lev. 23 are; the spring feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks later called Pentecost and the fall feasts of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles. However, there are other feast that they celebrated (and still do) that people sometimes went to Jerusalem to participate in even though it wasn't required. Jesus, being a Jew and the Son of Man observed the feast as did his disciples who were with him. After the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. many of the feast could not be celebrated in the way that the Bible described because the temple was needed. More importantly since most of the Jews rejected the Messiah, the Lord stopped their celebrations because they had become detestable to him.
The feasts are not bad. They are good if a person's heart is correct. The same goes for remembering Jesus in the Passover meal (aka the Lord's Supper and Communion) that he instituted. Christmas and Easter were not Jewish feasts.
* All people want to be healed of their problems, whether physical or spiritual.
* "Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades." -John 5:2
* This pool has been discovered. An underground spring feed it. See map link above.
>Why were they waiting?
* "Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me." -John 5:7
* The sub-note in the NIV says, "3; Some less important manuscripts, "...paralyzed-and they waited for the moving of the waters. 4 From time to time an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters. The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease he had."
* Like a Christmas sell at Macy's.
* Each person would have their own problem in getting to the pool.
>Think about their attitudes toward one another as they waited.
* Their attitude towards each other was o.k. during normal times. They had small friendships.
* During times of trouble it was each man for himself. Verse 7 implies this.
* It time of the stirring they probably despised each other.
* The blind would feel they are better off (or worse off) than the lamb and vis-versa.
* In those days they were the reject of society because many Jews viewed the disabled and handicapped as cursed by God.
>How is this scene like our world?
* We are sick and disabled because of our sin.
* When times are good man can somehow live with his fellow man, but when troubles come it is each man for himself.
* Thus the saying, "It's a jungle out there."
* What is our attitude towards other, Christians or non-Christians.
* Each person has their own obstacle in having the good and easy life dream.
* Everyone wants to be healed.
* Some are better than others.
* People think badly of others, deeply.
* Many want to get to the top but only one makes it.
* People step on another to get to the top.
>2. To which one of the crowd did Jesus speak?
* "One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time..." -John 5:5-6a
* "for a long time" -this passage doesn't say that he was at the pool for 38 years but it implies it.
* Think of all the things that can happen in 38 years.
>What kind of sinner did this man represent?
* Those who have a beggar mentality.
* One who expects help from others. (7)
* But when he doesn't get it he complains. (7)
* Helpless and dependent.
* His beggar mentality burdens others.
* He lived by the motto, "The world owes me."
* What would make a man wait around there for so long. Surely if he couldn't get in except with someone's help why didn't he give up? Surely there is more to this man's motive then wanting to get well.
>What did Jesus ask him?
* "When Jesus saw him there and learned that he had been this way for a long time he asked him, 'Do you want to get well?'" -John 5:6
>Why do you think Jesus asked him this?
* So the man would realize his real problem and himself. Throughout the Bible God often asks people questions, not because he didn't know, but because they didn't know. EX: God asked Adam in the garden, "Where are you?" and He asked questions when counselling Cain.
* "Jesus saw him...learned...asked him," -Jesus took the initiative. Jesus had compassion on him and wanted to help this man who was so far from God's grace.
* It was God's mercy that Jesus chose this one out of so many. He should have thanked God. Jesus didn't save everybody. I should be thankful. God's sovereignty.
* We need to have a desire to "get well". If we don't want to get well, God won't heal us of our sins. To this day God is asking people, "Do you want to get well?"
* Stir up an attitude in others to be healed.
* We have to help such people like Jesus did.
>Was it possible that he might not want to be healed? Why?
* This man got settled in his way. He became content.
* Being there 38 years shows he had no desire to be healed. In that time he would have found a way.
* What kept this man there for 38 years?
* He liked others help and pity.
* He was lazy and fatalistic.
* Soon became bitter towards God and life.
* Perhaps he had pride in being the person who was there the longest.
>3. Did he answer Jesus' question?
* ""Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me." -John 5:7
>What does his answer reveal about him?
* He had a dependent attitude.
* He had a complaining attitude.
* He was lonely inside.
* He was bitter.
* He had excuses.
* If there is something one can't overcome we blame others and have excuses. Example: Adam after sin. Today psychiatrist would blame mothers, teachers, parents, ect.
* He should have said, "Yes Lord. I want to get well." or, "Lord, I have had troubles overcoming but I will find a way."
* Be responsible for our own sins.
* This man is in contrast to blind Bartimaeus.
II. "Get up! Pick up you Mat and Walk!" (8,9a)
>4. What command did Jesus give this man?
* "Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." -John 5:8
* Not sympathy but a pure command. It was hard to receive. But no one dealt with him like Jesus did because no one had faith.
* This man was totally unworthy to be cured. It was the grace of God and Jesus.
* This command is just as amazing as his earlier question.
* They are challenging words.
* Jesus ignored his complaining words. He knew their origin was from a sinful attitude.
* Jesus wanted to heal him.
* Pity and compassion are different. Pity pays to attention to others words and gets side tracked instead of trying to do something to help someone.
>How did he respond?
* "At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked." -John 5:9a
* The power of Jesus' words moved the man. The man was not use to this kind of treatment. There was no personal faith in this man.
* Yet obedience is important.
* "cured" -physical not spiritual.
>In what way were Jesus' words the voice of God to this man?
* The Holy Spirit through Jesus' word revealed his life.
* God was saying overcome your dependent mind and lazy attitude.
* Some people come to Jesus and are moved to do something by his words because they are so powerful, but do not gain personally faith.
IV. "Stop sinning, or..." (9b-15)
>5. Why did the Jews rebuke the man who had been sick?
* "The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, "It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat." -John 5:9b-10
* The laws and words of the Jews did not help the person. Although they were powerful words and challenging words.
* Their attitude is interesting here. They claimed the law stated he couldn't carry the mat. However, nowhere in the word of God (aka Torah) does it say that someone can't carry a mat on the Sabbath. It does say that we shouldn't work, and that we should honor God on the Sabbath. However, the Jewish leaders created an ever expanding list of rules which explained what was considered work and what was not considered work. This list they equated with the word of God. Some said it was even better.
* Jesus probably purposely healed on the Sabbath so the Jews hypocrisy would be opened. So they would have a chance to repent and come to him for forgiveness.
>Who did he blame?
* "But he replied, "The man who made me well said to me, 'Pick up your mat and walk.'" So they asked him, "Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?" The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there." -John 5:11-13
* He did not stand under persecution.
* The man did not want to be healed, so he was not thankful when he was. He was still spiritually blind.
* He meet Christ face to face and received healing and could still go to hell.
* He left out, "Get up" and the healing which revealed God's work. He emphasized the wrong thing.
>Why do you think Jesus told him (verse 14) to stop sinning?
* "Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." -John 5:14
* "Later Jesus found him"-follow up ministry is good. But note that Jesus stopped when no change was seen and the man refused to repent. This is in line according to Jesus as recorded by John. Make sure it is this case however. He really knew, but didn't react. Make sure they know the truth. Can't mix up with a person like Peter who denied Jesus three times and then repented.
* Jesus wasn't condemning the man. He wanted him to repent.
* "Something worse" -he would go to hell.
* It is important to repent continually, even after grace has come. We can repent anytime.
* The man still could sin after Jesus healed him and helped him.
* "The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well." -John 5:15
* The man should have asked, "What should I do?"
* Rom. 11:13-24 -one saved.
* Ingratitude is a worse sin than his earlier sin.
III. The Son Gives Life (16-47)
>6. Why did they persecute Jesus?
* "So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him." -John 5:16
* "persecuted him" -Persecuted Jess with words. Later their persecution would turn violent. Jesus said that if they persecuted him, our master; then we too will be persecuted. He promises it. Some are persecuted more than others. Yet, all are persecuted. If you claim to be a Christian and are not persecuted in any way or form, then you are not a true Christian. For Christian means Christ follower, and that means in all things. This logic does not work in reverse. Just because a person is persecuted does not mean that they are a true follower of Jesus.
* It appeared they did this because of the love of God. But Jesus exposed their true motivations in the rest of the text.
>What did Jesus teach the Jews about himself in verses 17 and 18?
* "Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God." -John 5:17-18
* Jesus exposed the real reason why they opposed him.
* Why then teach? Plant and help them accept and repent.
* His work of God.
* The Jews looked at Gen. 2:2-3 to justify their statement. But God always works. If he wouldn't work all would stop. Jesus follows God's example of doing good on the Sabbath as well as other days.
* God heals spiritually on the Sabbath too.
* Jesus view of God's work is to save lives. He taught elsewhere, "Man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man." The Sabbath rest was made for time to reflect on God, worship God, and rest in him.
>Why did this make them more angry?
* First, Jesus worked on the Sabbath. (18)
* Second, Jesus was calling God his Father. (18) The Jews would not do this because they felt God deserved more respect. However they didn't know God.
* Finally, Jesus made himself equal to God. (18)
* In Hebrew what Jesus was saying carried great weight.
* If they loved God they would have accepted his words here.
* Jesus is God.
>7. What did he teach them about his work in verses 17-22?
* "Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son," -John 5:17-22
* Jesus' great love for the Jews is seen here in the way he expressed and taught the truth to them.
* God always works. (17)
* Jesus did nothing by himself. (19)
* He can only do what he sees his Father do. (19)
* The Father shows him all he does. (20)
* Just as the Father raises the dead and gives life whom he is pleases to do. (21)
* The Son is the Judge. (22)
* John 3:17
* The Father and the Son are very close.
* The Father is involved in Jesus' work.
* The Father and the Son honor each other.
>How does this explain the healing of the paralyzed man?
* God's sovereignty.
* Jesus was pleased to heal him as his Father is.
* Jesus is full of compassion.
* "Man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man."
* God is always at work whether men accept it or not.
>What work will the Son of God do when he comes again?
* "Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him." -John 5:22-23
* Raise the dead. (29)
* Judge men. (22, 27)
>8. Think about verse 24.
* ""I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." -John 5:24
>What promise does Jesus give to those who hear his word and believe in God who sent him?
* He has eternal life. (24)
* Will not be condemned. (24)
* He has crossed over from death to life. (24)
* To hear the words and believe is to have eternal life.
* "Hear words"-understand, accept, hear as word of God, acknowledge it with respect.
* "believe"-put trust in, stand upon as if trust, as if life depended on it.
* Not just one time experience.
* Always examine ourselves.
>What does this mean to the invalid?
* He must hear Jesus' words and believe and repent.
* We can have eternal life if we believe in the God who trust Jesus (not a vague god).
* We must pay careful attention to Jesus' words.
* Don't take Jesus' words lightly.
>9. Who are the witnesses that testify about Jesus? (31-37, 39, 47)
* ""If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid. There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is valid. You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form," -John 5:31-37
* "You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me," -John 5:39
* "If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me." -John 5:46
* Witnesses that testify about Jesus
1) Jesus (31)
2) John the Baptist (33)
3) The Father by the word (37) and works (36)
4) The Scripture (39) Moses writings (46)
>10. Why didn't the Jews believe in Jesus in the face of such overwhelming evidence? (38, 40, 42, 43)
* "nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent." -John 5:38
* "yet you refuse to come to me to have life." -John 5:40
* "but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father's name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him." -John 5:42-43
* Jesus pointed out they didn't even believe what Moses said.
* They didn't love God.
* They loved themselves.