John 4 -- 5
The sheep gate where lambs were bought for sacrifice was located in the northeast area of the Temple at Jerusalem. Nearby was a pool that was called Bethesda. At this pool lay a great multitude of physically disabled, blind, and paralyzed. It was believed that the first to enter the pool of water after an angel troubled it would be cured (John 5:3-4).
In this crowd of pathetic people was a certain man who had an infirmity thirty-eight years (5:5). What chance was there that anybody cared if he ever was healed? It is a reminder that Jesus sees everyone and cares for all who will recognize Him as Savior and Lord. A person may be a popular athlete, an intellectual leader such as Nicodemus, a pitiful prostitute like the woman at the well, or any helpless, needy, unsaved person.
As Jesus walked in the midst of this great multitude, He stopped and asked one man: Will you be made whole? (5:6). This man knew how hopeless he was and said: While I am coming, another steps down before me (5:7). Some people are overcome by their illnesses, depression, alcoholism, or some physical handicap and become hopeless invalids. As this man did, many retreat within themselves, and may blame others for their problems.
In dealing with the defeated whether they be in the office, in a hospital bed, or the homeless on the street, the same question must be faced: Will you be made whole? (5:6).
The sheep gate illustrates Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (1:29). The pool called Bethesda means house of mercy or grace. It is only in Christ that any lost sinner, without exception, can find mercy through His sacrifice on the cross.
Bethesda had five porches (5:2). Five in the Bible always implies grace. It was with five loaves that the Lord Jesus fed the hungry multitude. The fifth clause in the Lords Prayer is give us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6:11). When this man expressed his hopelessness, Jesus said: Rise, take up your bed, and walk. And immediately . . . The man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked (John 5:7-9). This man had been waiting for about 38 years -- the length of time that Israel wasted wandering in the wilderness after they left Mount Sinai (Deuteronomy 2:14).
Like this man you and I were spiritually helpless and we should be so very grateful that He did not pass us by.
Jesus cautioned this man: Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you (John 5:14). Paul reminds us that we once were children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3) but have been cleansed from our sins and given a new nature with the privilege of putting on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:24).
BPM Staff: Letha Hash · Pray for Stephen Wike, Media Management/Crosswalk.com, Inc. · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast sponsored by Summer Institute of Linguistics, Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea · Country: Haiti (6 million) in the West Indies · Major languages: French and Creole · Religious freedom · 75% Roman Catholic; 17% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray each day for the Lord to protect you from evil (I Peter 5:8).
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