The Impotent Man Healed
John 5:1-9 – After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 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. 5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. 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? 7 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. 8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. 9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
A. This miracle is the third recorded miracle in the book of John.
1. John 2:1-12 - The water turned into wine.
2. John 4:46-54 – The Nobleman’s son healed.
3. John 5:1-9 – The impotent man healed.
4. John 6:5-13 – The 5,000 fed.
5. John 6:16-21 – Jesus walks on the water.
6. John 9:1-7 – The man blind from birth is healed.
7. John 11:1-45 – Lazarus is raised from the dead.
B. All the miracles of Christ are true miracles, but the miracles of John reflect more on the Godhead of Christ than the miracles in the other gospels, as the gospel of John declares only the miracles recorded at Jerusalem.
1. John 2:1-12 – The water turned into wine reflects how Christ, as God, is over and has control of all the high officials of this earth.
2. John 4:46-54 – The Nobleman’s son healed shows how Christ, as God, is able to heal the loved ones of those who have great power on this earth. The nobleman lived in Judaea, but sought Christ, who was in Galilee (the despised district); his son was healed immediately, but the nobleman was not told this until he was on his way home.
3. John 5:1-9 – The impotent man healed shows how God understands the reasons behind an infirmity, which no man can know – see John 5:14.
4. John 6:5-13 – The 5,000 fed reveals the power of God over food, the common element of all, and how he is able, as God, to feed the common people, as well as the rich and famous.
5. John 6:16-21 – Jesus walks on the water, a feat which shows Christ, as God is over all the elements of this world, as he is the creator of this world.
6. John 9:1-7 – The man blind from birth is healed compared to miracle # 3 (John 5:1-9) shows that the blind man had done nothing wrong – reveals that Christ, as God, can use everything in this entire universe for his eternal glory and honor.
7. John 11:1-45 – Lazarus is raised from the dead, the final miracle of John, reveals that Christ, as God, is able to overcome the final power, which will eventually overtake every man.
II. The miracle is recorded in verse 1-9.
A. The time.
1. John 5:1 records there was a feast at Jerusalem, but does not state which feast.
2. If this was a feast of Passover, the ministry of Christ would be as long as 3 ½ or 4 years.
3. If this was not a feast of Passover, the ministry of Christ would be about 2 ½ years long.
B. The place.
1. Jerusalem is where Christ went for this feast, which is probably Passover.
2. By the sheep market, there is a pool called Bethesda, having five porches.
a. Men did all they could to make the sick comfortable, shielding them from the heat of the sin, rain, and perhaps giving some shelter from cold wind, but healing is of the Lord.
b. It is good today for us to do all we can do to make the sick comfortable, but healing still comes from the Lord.
3. Notice the many different forms of illness.
a. This body is fearfully and wonderfully made, therefore sin can cause many difficulties in many different body parts.
b. The result of sin has always been with men, and will continue to be with men until sin is eradicated.
4. The place is special because an angel came down at certain seasons, stirred the water, and the first to step into the pool was healed.
a. Many commentaries declare this passage is not in the original, stating the verses were added.
1.) The KJV is true, and we must accept it all, or none of it.
2.) If God could not keep this passage pure, he could not keep any of his word pure.
3.) It is very amazing to me that “scholars” and “experts” agree this passage, as well as some other passages, is not in the original, yet they do not have the original.
4.) God had the original scriptures destroyed so nobody would worship them.
5.) God wants us to understand his power in inspiration and proved it by perseveration.
C. The man who was healed and his cure.
1. Verse 6 reveals that Christ knew the man.
a. Jesus knew the man had been in infirmity 38 years.
b. According to John 5:14, Jesus knew the reason the man was in infirmity.
c. Evidently, he was being chastised for some wickedness.
d. If the man was 20 years old when he committed the wickedness, he was not 58 years old.
2. Verse 6 – When Jesus asked the man if he would be made whole, he did not reply, “yes”, but stated why he could not be healed.
a. There was no man to help him step into the water, but another steps down first.
b. I can see this happening in my mind – see the joy on the face of the one healed, and the disappointment on those not being healed.
c. There is no animosity toward the ones who were healed, only despair at the present condition.
1.) When Jesus healed this one man, there is no record he healed the rest of the folks, or did anything to them at all.
2.) I can use my imagination to believe Christ healed them all, but there is no Biblical record of this happening.
III. Verse 10-13 gives the reaction of the Jews, who accuse the healed man of breaking the Sabbath Day laws. The circumstances after the man was healed.
A. The man was seen carrying his bed, apparently away from the pool of Bethesda.
1. The Jews “jerked” the man to the present reality of religion by declaring he was carrying his bed illegally.
2. It might have been that the man was aware of this legality of the Jews, as it was a possibility the angel might stir the waters on the Sabbath.
3. It seems reasonable to assume the impotent folks gathered at the pool would discuss this.
B. It seems the man was unaware of who Jesus was.
1. He did not tell the Jews Jesus had healed him, and could not point him out.
a. It is very likely the healed man had never met Jesus, as he could not travel with the multitude.
b. There were no pictures of Christ, therefore Christ’s picture was not plastered all over the “Jerusalem Daily” newspaper.
2. There was a multitude in that place, and Jesus had conveyed himself away.
a. It is amazing to me that Jesus was able to get away from the multitude.
b. It seems reasonable to assume people would flock around Christ, but apparently, they did not.
c. They were greatly concerned with the man who was healed, all eyes being on him, and not on Christ who healed him.
d. How sad it is that often men look on the miracle, and not on the one who performed the miracle.
3. It seems Jesus came quickly and quietly to the man.
a. The miracle was performed quickly and quietly, with no “fanfare” at all.
b. Then Jesus immediately faded into the background.
c. The purpose of Jesus disappearing is not that he is afraid of being caught by the Pharisees, but that he wants them to see the miracle and understand a power greater than themselves had done it.
4. Did the healed man know the name of Jesus?
a. There is no way to know, but he did not say to the Jews, “Jesus healed me.”
b. It seems “unreal” to think the healed man had never heard of Christ, but that could be the case.
c. He could have been so “tuned in” to the one way of healing (through the stirring of the waters by the angel) that he did not think of any other way of being healed.
d. Sometimes we get so focused on one thing, we do not see any other way.
IV. Verse 14-16 records the conversation of Christ and the healed man.
A. Jesus found the man.
1. It is very good that the man was found in the temple.
a. I suppose he was worshipping God, as he understood something of his miraculous cure.
b. I assume he was previously unable to go to the temple as he was impotent.
2. There is a reason Jesus seeks for the man.
a. There is always a reason when Jesus seeks any man.
b. You are not saved by accident, but on purpose.
c. When God deals with you in particular, he has a particular something he wants you to do.
3. In this case, Jesus gives the man a stern warning to not sin any more.
B. Verse 14 – states, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
1. Christ implies the man’s previous infirmity was due to some sin or wickedness on his part.
2. There is no way of knowing what the sin is, but I doubt it is any sin of his parents.
a. John 9:1-2 – The man born blind.
1.) The disciples of Christ wonder who sinned, the man or his parents, that he was born blind.
2.) Christ informs them that neither sinned, the man was born blind that the works of God be revealed in him.
b. Christ told the woman taken in adultery – John 8:11 - She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
1.) Christ recognizes her sins, forgives her, cleanses her and sends her on her way.
2.) The words he uses are not exactly the same as in John 5:14, as Christ says nothing about her being under a greater condemnation if she continues in her sins.
c. Mark 2:5 – the palsied man brought to Jesus by four and let down through the roof.
1.) Jesus said, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
2.) Jesus said these words to amplify that there is no difference in saying “thy sins be forgiven thee”, and “take up thy bed and walk”.
3.) The wording of John 5:14 indicates the palsied man was suffering the chastisement or judgment of God.
3. Wickedness is often stopped by physical infirmities.
a. It is not that the elderly do not sin, but physical infirmities restrain them for sinning any more than they do.
b. Brother Wilbur Johnson often remarked that old people sin because they do not care any more.
c. They know they will soon die, and desire to sin before they are any more physically infirm than the are.
4. People that are healed need to be careful less the thrill of health cause them to forget their past sickness.
a. When a person is sick, they often resort to prayer and Bible reading, but when the sickness is removed, they forget prayer and Bible reading.
1.) It seems this man, in particular, could be headed in that direction.
2.) Even though this man is in the temple, Christ believes it is necessary to give him this solemn warning.
3.) Even though you are in worship services, hearing this message, it is necessary to warn all (me included) that we have sinful tendencies, which will lead to more and more wickedness.
b. Christ warns the man that a worse thing that being inform for 38 years could come upon him.
1.) What could be worse than 38 years of infirmity?
2.) Many things – only God knows for certainly.
3.) Hell is a lot worse than any physical infirmity.
4.) If the result of sin confined the man to 38 years of infirmity, the sin of neglecting his eternal soul would confine him to eternity in a burning, fiery hell.
V. Verse 17-18 reports the initial conversation and reaction of the Jews toward Christ.
VI. Verse 19-47 records the speech of Christ to those Jews who were going about to kill him.