The Lame Man’s Story
John 5:1 – After this, there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. (Verse 2) Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. (Verse 3) In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water.
(Verse 4) For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.
(Verse 5) Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. (Verse 6) Whe Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” (Verse 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.”
(Verse 8) Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” (Verse 9) And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. (Verse 10) The Jews, therefore, said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.” (Verse 11) He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’ ”
(Verse 12) Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’? (Verse 13) But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. (Verse 14) Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more lest a worse thing come upon you.”
(Verse 15) The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. (Verse 16) For this reason, the Jews persecuted Jesus and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.
That, right there just shows how messed up religion can be! Their religion didn’t want them to help anyone on the Sabbath, that would be work! That first encounter with Jesus, the lame man didn’t know it was a Man called Jesus.
Bethesda means “the house of mercy.” When we see the “Beth” in Scripture, in Hebrew it means “house.” Does not the “house of mercy” represent the “Church?” If any place should be full of mercy it should be the house of God.
Believers have received mercy, so it should be easy for us to extend mercy. Unfortunately, the church, many times, is the place of judgment.
Verse 4 says that at a certain time, an angel went down and stirred the water. History tells us that these “stirrings” began in the life of Jesus after He was born. And at a certain time, around the time of the feast, who would have been in town during this feast? Jesus! Could it be that Jesus, as He was growing up and coming to the feast every year, just maybe walked by this pool and place His hand in it and stirred it a little?
Jesus walks by this pool now and sees a man out of a multitude of people that He knows has been there a long time, and says, “Do you want to be made well?” We might think that the question is unnecessary, but Jesus never says anything unnecessary. Has God ever asked you that? Here is the amazing thing: This lame man did not say yes. Why was that?
Most people come up with an excuse as to why they are different and it won’t work for them. That is exactly what the lame man did. He told Jesus that he didn’t have anyone to put him in the water when the angel stirred the pool. “And if while I was to come, another steps down ahead of me.”
Here is what the man was saying, “It’s not my fault that I’m not healed!” He put the blame on others not helping him. This is the number one lie from the enemy that he gets people to believe. “It’s someone else’s fault that I’m in this situation.”
No one can hinder the destination on your life but you. How many people have told you when you’re trying to help them, “You just don’t understand!” They just don’t believe that Jesus can handle any situation no matter how difficult! People think that they are the exception to the power of God. “It just won’t work for me!”, is just an excuse!
Verse 5 says that this man had an “infirmity” for thirty-eight years. We just assume its in his legs. But the word infirmity means “weakness.” We can ask ourselves this question: What weakness do I have in my life? For his man, it was a physical weakness. Then the next question should be: Do you want to be made well?
We need to make an effort.
Jesus didn’t say to the man, “Be healed,” He said, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” Is it not easy to get comfortable in our weaknesses. This man had been like this for thirty-eight years. That’s why Jesus asked him if he wanted to be made well. Was this man willing to change his thinking? This may seem harsh, but maybe some really don’t want to be healed because if they are healed they have to work and do the things that take effort. They also won’t need someone to take care of them anymore. How about not having people feel sorry for them anymore?
Jesus told this man when he was in the temple not to go back to that way of thinking, “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” And that statement in no way means that all diseases are connected to sin. That would be a false doctrine! Maybe the man was bitter after all these years. Maybe he had built up resentment towards others because others received healing and he didn’t.
A lot of people will feel sorry for themselves and not realize that self-pity is a sin. By being afflicted with something, it brings them attention and if they are healed the attention will disappear.
Here is another question: Why do so many blame God for their afflictions? Is a person going to go to the one they are blaming to heal them? Probably not. The effort has to come from us.
This man was waiting for an angel to come down and that’s all he knew to do. Jesus comes along and basically asks, “Are you willing to do something different than what you are experiencing?” It was the Sabbath and religion had convinced this man that he could not be healed on the Sabbath, but Jesus told him to rise up and walk.
It was not against the law for this man to carry his bed on the Sabbath, it was against the law to work! The Jews were the ones that had taken that law to extremes. This man had to go against his “religious upbringing.” There is a possibility that in order for some to be healed, they may have to step out of their comfort zone whe it comes to someone’s religious upbringing.
The angel was what this man was looking for because this is the way God had moved in the past, so he was looking for that same experience. And when Jesus did walk up to him, he didn’t know it was God. I believe if he would have known, he would have said yes when Jesus asked him if he wanted to be made well.
If you need healing or a situation to change: Stop making excuses, put some effort into to it, and humble yourself because it might not be done the way you are used to.