Read John 4 - 5
In Today's Reading:
Jesus and the Samaritan woman; miracles of healing; Jesus answers the Jews
The sheep gate where lambs were bought for sacrifice was located at the northeast area of the Temple court in Jerusalem. Nearby the sheep market (is) a pool, which is called . . . Bethesda, having five porches (John 5:2). At this pool lay a great multitude of impotent (sick and physically disabled) folk (5:3). It was believed that the first to enter the pool of water after an angel stirred up the water would be cured (5:4). The Great Physician, Jesus approached this crowd of helpless sufferers, but no one recognized who He was.
In this crowd of helpless people was a certain man . . . which had an infirmity thirty and eight years (5:5). What possibility was there that anyone would care if he were ever healed? When this man expressed his hopelessness, Jesus looked beyond the man's physical problem and asked him to do something about it, saying: Rise, take up your bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked (5:7-9).
Like this man, anyone who has not trusted in Christ is spiritually helpless. We should be eternally grateful that Jesus did not pass us by but asked us if we also wanted to be made whole. Jesus cares for the most helpless because He desires that all will recognize Him as Savior and Lord. The helpless includes popular athletes, intellectual leaders such as Nicodemus, pitiful prostitutes like the woman at the well, or any other lost person (see Luke 19:10).
The sheep gate illustrates Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). The pool called Bethesda means house of mercy or grace. It is only through the compassion of Christ that any lost sinner, without exception, can find mercy and grace by accepting His sacrifice on the cross for our sins.
The Apostle Paul reminds us that we once were children of wrath, but we have been cleansed from our sins and given a new nature with the privilege to put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 2:3; 4:24).
4:6 sixth hour = noon by Jewish time and 6 pm by Roman time; 5:21 quickeneth them = gives them life.
Pray for The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Bett Brown · BP Staff: Letha Hash · Country: Zimbabwe (11 million) in south-central Africa · Major languages: English and Shona · Limited religious freedom · 43% Protestant; 38% animism, mediums, and spirit-possession cults; 16% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Intercede in prayer for others, knowing that God hears your prayer (II Chronicles 30:18-20).
Memory Verse for the Week: I Corinthians 6:10