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, invalid, 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 approached this crowd of helpless sufferers, but no one recognized Him.
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 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, 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 made whole. Jesus cares for even the most helpless, desiring that they will all recognize Him as Savior and Lord. They may be popular athletes, intellectual leaders such as Nicodemus, pitiful prostitutes like the woman at the well, or any other lost person.
This was on the day there was a feast of the Jews (5:1). Some believe this was the Passover, which would be very fitting. But others believe it was Pentecost (Deuteronomy 16:1-11), the day on which believers were first filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered to be witnesses to the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8; 2:1-4).
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 Bible Pathway Internet Outreach and the Bible Pathway devotions in Arabic, English, French, German, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Norwegian, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish that are now on-line at www.biblepathway.org. Let friends and missionaries overseas know that the devotional commentary is now available in these languages · Country: Bosnia and Hercegovina (4 million) on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe · Major language: Serbo-Croatian · Little evangelism being done · 40% Muslim; 28% Serbian Orthodox; 14% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Intercede in prayer for others (Numbers 21:7).
Memory Verse for the Week: Galatians 5:16