1 After these things there
was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is
in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew
Bethesda, having five porticoes. 3 In these lay a multitude of those who
were sick, blind, lame, and withered, waiting for the moving of the
waters; 4 for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the
pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up
of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which
he was afflicted. 5 A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight
years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already
been a long time in that condition, He said to him, "Do you wish to get
well?" 7 The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into
the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another
steps down before me." 8 Jesus said to him, "Get up, pick up your pallet
and walk." 9 Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet
and began to walk. Now it was the Sabbath on that day. 10 So the Jews
were saying to the man who was cured, "It is the Sabbath, and it is not
permissible for you to carry your pallet." 11 But he answered them, "He
who made me well was the one who said to me, 'Pick up your pallet and
walk.'" 12 They asked him, "Who is the man who said to you, 'Pick up
your pallet and walk'?" 13 But the man who was healed did not know who
it was, for Jesus had slipped away while there was a crowd in that place.
14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, "Behold, you
have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to
you." 15 The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had
made him well."
dam of hope in this world for the most miserable. A testimony that
it could be found a healing power in the existence, which was stronger
than the destructive. And it says straight out: "- for an angel
of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred
up the water" - not that it was just something they believed
in, but that it actually happened. (v.4). Why God let this happen,
remains as a mystery to us, but as mentioned it was a testimony about
a power which conquered the evil, the miserable surrounded themselves
around this power - those who saw and experienced their need of it.
They had their only hope of a condition
free of pain, need and degradation attached to this certain water
- and not just the water in itself, but to the Lords angel who
Otherwise the water was like every other
water. Like it is with the Christening water - without the Word (The
Lord) (John 1:1) who touches it, it is only like any other water, but
when He touches it - is in it - it has a healing, which means a complete
healing power, in it.
But what the wonder at the dam of
Bethesda was concerned, it was a lot up to the miserable himself, how
the outcome would be. The healing was at hand - given freely and without
the persons esteem, but only those whom by human power - ones own
or others - could get themselves fast enough to the water would receive
Jesus came there - He who has been given
for atonement - and wit that healing - for all the worlds sin. He stands
next to the most miserable of the miserable - one who lied there and
hoped for the power in the water, but also knew with himself that he was
without assumption to fulfill the necessary demands. There
Jesus knew him - He knew his history, and knew that he had been
sick for a long time (v.6). Jesus also knew that he himself was to blame
for this decease. (v.14b). It seems like he had a decease that was
related to his sinful life.
At this man, Jesus stops, and asks the most odd question: "Do you
wish to get well?" (v.6b). But by question Jesus wants to bring this
hopeless mans situation evident to his own consciousness - so that he
sees, and realizes, his own helplessness: If I shall be helped,
someone has to interfere, because I have no assumption in myself. Just
hear his sincere sigh of need in his answer: "Sir, I have no man....but
while I am coming, another steps down before me." (v.7).
Don't you recognize this from your own life? "Lord I have no man! -
There is no way that this can be done for me with the human power - and
when I am about to receive the healing, there is always something in the
way" - because, "I cannot fulfill the terms!"
There is always so much missing! "I can know that the
healing is in the dam of Bethesda," I can long for it, and
bear towards it, but how can I get in - me, so ill and completely
without premises as I am?
Then Jesus also stands by your side. - And listen to what He
preaches unto you now!: "But to the one who does not work, but believes
in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,"
But what does the (soul) sick person then? Yes, now he finally hear
about the redeeming deed which is required of him: He has to
believe, then he will be made well.
Oh yes, how ill and blinded we are! No, hear about whom He
preaches to you! "He who justifies the ungodly." "This is how God
is," He says. - And as it starts to dawn on you - then you will have the
justifying faith - which is having faith in Him who justifies the
ungodly who does not have deeds - and who also does not justify
you because of your faith, but because of Jesus, He whom
you have faith in.
Did not God give Jesus in your place before you believed? If
you doubt the answer, listen to the Lords own answer: "For while we
were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the
ungodly." (Rom. 5:6).
Jesus quite simply asks: "Do you wish to get well?" - And what does
the man do? - Yes, he starts to talk about his hopeless situation. He
could have answered as simple as Jesus asked him: "Yes, Lord!"
But he had still his eyes fixed on the place which required his own
premises, and therefore he did not see Him clearly who "has come to seek
and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10).
And this is exactly the lost condition and position: Ill, under
Gods judgment for his sins sake, without any assumption in himself to
improve his situation, but on the contrary, all movement just worsens
the situation, and outlines the misery in the situation even clearer for
"Do you wish to get well?" Jesus asked.
What do you answer?
"Jesus said to him, "Get up, pick up your pallet and walk."
Immediately the man became well." (v.8-9).
But the same should not count for you as well here and now? Can I
do the same concerning my salvation? Haven't you heard the Word? What
about the two quotations you just read in the letter to the Romans? And
hear the testimony of John: "And He Himself is the propitiation for our
sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world."
(1 John 2:2). Are you not included here too? - And, isn't also
your sin included here? Yes, but then it has already
happened! Yes but listen! - First of all I am more ill (more evil)
then anybody can grasp - and second of all, do I not have to
receive a specific word?
Yes, both thing are true, and the
Scriptures answer is that, first of all, it is not the well
people who need a doctor, but those who are suffering (Matthew 9:12),
and second of all: Have you not received a specific word
If that is the case, read Rom.4:5 and 5:6 and 1 John 2:2 again and
Wake up! Start thanking God for this, because it is impossible
that the Word of God can lie!
This Jesus Christ healing shouts out to the whole world, but the
world answers: "We are not ill! At least not so ill that we have
to be healed by grace alone."
You who read this, do you belong among
these well people, or some what well, in secret or in the open - then
forget Gods salvation and totally go for your own - because there is not
anything both - and in the kingdom of God, but only either - or!
He came to seek and to save that which
was lost. It is you the Word (Jesus) has searched to reach
through this, what we just have shared.
At last, let us just stop for a moment, for the mind that filled
the "well" people in the congregation, as v.10 expresses. - And this
mind comes even clearer to the surface in the verse in our passage: "For
this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing
these things on the Sabbath." (v.16).
This is always the "well" peoples mind. - Behind all alms,
mission eagerness, goodness, god fear, devotion, spirituality etc.
Notice this: This man did not get healed because of his faith! He
did not even know who Jesus was. And he was obviously someone who lived
in and loved sin! Jesus word to him and his whole attitude shows this.
This shows how superior it all depends on Jesus (Gods) grace! The
Lord is the God of the wretched! (Ps. 68:11)
Holy Bible New American Standard Version
Translator: Benedicte Holtan Smart