Friday, November 6, 2015

Jesus Heals The Man at the Pool of Bethesda

John 5:1-47

“After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.  In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.  For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.” (John 5:1-4)

In Exodus 23:14-17, God commanded, “Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year.  Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:) And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.  Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD.” 

Jesus had gone for the Passover and feast of unleavened bread, so this feast was probably the Feast of Firstfruits.    All Jewish men were supposed to go to the Temple to celebrate it.    At Jerusalem, there was the pool known as Bethesda, with five porches or shelters around it.  Periodically an angel stirred the waters, probably somewhat like a small geyser or bubble bursting into the pool.  The first person into the pool after the stirring was healed of whatever disease they had, making it clear this was not simply a geyser.    As a result there were many hanging around the pool hoping to be the first in after the waters were stirred.     

“And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. Joh 5:6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?

The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.” (John 5:5-7)

One of the people at the pool was a man who had been sick for thirty eight years.    It was obvious he had been there for a long time, and Jesus asked him if he would like to be healed.   The man said he hadn’t because there was always somebody else who was not as sick who got there first. 

“Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.  And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.” (John 5:8-9)

When Jesus asked the man if he wanted to be healed, he was in effect asking if the man was willing to let Jesus help him instead of depending on the water in the pool.  He told the man to get up and roll up his blankets and leave.  The man did as Jesus told him, carrying his blankets with him.   Jesus was fully aware that it was the Sabbath day, and that the Jews would be upset.   

“The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.

He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.

Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?  And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.  Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.  The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.  And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.” (John 5:10-16)

The man had been unable to walk around for years and had no idea who Jesus was.  When the Jews got angry with him for carrying his bedding, all he knew was the man who healed him had told him to take his bedding and leave.  Later Jesus met him, telling him not to sin anymore or something worse would happen.  The man learned who he was, and went and told the Jews.  Jesus in effect made sure he knew who he was.   The Jewish leaders were already angry about his cleaning out eh Temple and this was another affront to the Interpretation of the Law as proposed by Hillel. 
Under the teachings of Hillel, who started his school about 3o BC, Some things in the law ware carried to the extreme while others were modified to be almost meaningless.  Many of Jesus’ condemnations of the Pharisees related to such distortions of the scriptures under Hillel’s interpretations.  Things such as tithing, keeping the Sabbath  or washing the hands before eating  were really emphasized while  the commands about freeing a person from slavery or providing justice for the poor or orphans and widows was ignored.    

“But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.  Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. ” (John 5:17-18)

Though the Jews claimed to be God’s children, they resented anyone else making a similar claim, and especially someone who questioned their practices. 

“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.  For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and he will show him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.  For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.  For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.  For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.  Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” (John 5:19-29)

Jesus said that the proof whether he was from God could be seen in that he did the things God did.  Unless he had God’s power he could not do those things, just as Nicodemus had said to him.  That he did things only God can do indicated that he was God, and that he was to be worshipped as God. Anyone who would listen to his message and believe it would receive everlasting life and escape eternal judgment.   He continues by describing the Lord’s return with the believers being resurrected to eternal life and the unbelievers resurrected to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. 

“I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.  If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.  There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true.” (John 5:30-32)

A man can make all kinds of claims about himself, but only a fool will accept those claims without verification.  There are witnesses to verify that he is in fact the Son of God.   The first indication to be considered is that his focus is not on his own benefit but on what God has said. 

“Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth.  But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved.  He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.  But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.” (John 5:33-36)

They had admired John and his teaching, and when questioned, John had told them Jesus was the Son of God, but they hadn’t believed him and without verification, John’s testimony was also suspect. 

“And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.  And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.  Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.  And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

I receive not honour from men.  But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.  I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.  How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?  Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.  For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.  But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:37-47)

God had publicly identified Jesus as his own Son, but because they didn’t really know the Lord or have his Soirit, they didn’t believe what they heard.  If they really believed in god they would have studied the scriptures to see what the Bible said, and learned that he was the Savior, but they wouldn’t turn loose of their own ideas and accept him. 

Instead they were more concerned with what other people said about Jesus.  If somebody else came offering no evidence and not even claiming to be from god they might well accept him as savior because some other people  supported him, but they rejected the teachings of the Bible, and of prophets such as Moses, even though Moses mentioned him.  If they would not accept the Bible as true, how could they believe in Christ?    How can people believe in Christ today and not believe what God has said?

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