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Bible Pathways 11/02/2002

November 2

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 werebought 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 the physically disabled, the blind, and the 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 anyone ever cared if he were healed? 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 person. We are reminded that Jesus sees everyone and equally cares for all, desiring that they will recognize Him as Savior and Lord.

As Jesus walked in the midst of this great multitude, He 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 see only their limitations. Many retreat within themselves as this man did, and often blame others for their problems.

When facing any problem, be it sin, illness, or depression, everyone must give an answer to the same question: Do you want to be made whole? (5:6). There will be no change until the desire is there.

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 through the compassion of Christ that any lost sinner, without exception, can find mercy through accepting His sacrifice on the cross for our sins.

Bethesda had five porches (5:2). In the Bible five always implies “grace.” It was with five loaves that the Lord Jesus fed the hungry multitude. The fifth clause in the Lord’s Prayer is: Give us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6:11). When this man expressed his hopelessness, Jesus looked beyond the man's problem, asked him to do something about it, and 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).

Like this man you and I once were spiritually helpless. We should be eternally grateful that Jesus did not pass us by, but asked us if we wanted to be whole. The Apostle 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 to put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:24).

Thought for Today: Temporal "satisfactions" may "quench our thirst" momentarily, but they will never truly satisfy.

Word Studies:

4:6 sixth hour = noon by Jewish time and 6 pm by Roman time; 5:21 quickeneth them = gives them life.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for your Sunday School teacher · Country: Burundi (6 million) in east-central Africa · Major languages: Kirundi and French · Losing religious freedom · 51% Roman Catholic; 12% animist; 11% Protestant; 1% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Pray in such a manner that others would be encouraged to praise and glorify God also (Jude 1:24-25).

Memory Verse for the Week: Philippians 2:16

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