John 5:1-16

John 5:1-16 has Jesus heading back to Jerusalem for another feast.  As He entered the city, He came upon the pool of Bethesda which was know to be a healing pool.  There were “Hundreds of sick people–blind, crippled, paralyzed– in these alcoves”.  Jesus is walking by them when He sees a man who was an invalid.  This particular man had been there attempting to get well for 38 years – that is a very long time to wait for a chance to get into the pools to try and get well.

Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew his story, so Jesus asked “do you want to get well”?  Seems like a silly question given what Jesus already knew, but He wanted to hear the man verbalize the answer.  The man told his story of how when the water is stirred and there is a chance to get in, he can’t get there fast enough and someone else beats him into the water.  Jesus then makes a bold statement.  “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking”.  Wow.  This guy has been laying by the pool for 38 years and Jesus simply tells him to get up.

Jesus didn’t just say get up.  He told him to get up and move.  And guess what?  “The man was healed on the spot”.  Jesus spoke healing into his life.  And the man “picked up his bedroll and walked off”.  Seems like a great outcome, doesn’t it.  But wait, there is an issue, at least for some.  Because the day happened to be the Sabbath, and the Jews stopped the healed man and told him that it was against the rules to be carrying his bedroll around on that day.  Bunch of killjoys for sure.  This guy has been lying there waiting for 38 years.  Jesus speaks healing into his body, and now the Jews are telling him to stop.

But they really wanted to find out how this happened.  “Who gave you the order to take it up and start walking”?  The blind man didn’t even know who Jesus was, and He had slipped away through the crowd.  Later Jesus ran into the healed man and told him “Don’t return to a sinning life or something worse might happen”.  Was his calamity a result of sin in his life?  Sort of sounds like it may have been.  But the key to the story is that Jesus is able to heal no matter the cause of the situation. He can set us free.  He did set this man free, and the Jews were out to get Jesus from that point because He was violating their laws around the Sabbath.

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