"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
The House of Mercy
John 5:1-15 (KJV)
5 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.
10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.
11 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.
12 Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?
13 And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.
14 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.
15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.
In the first verse here in chapter five we see that Jesus was on His way to a Jewish festival in Jerusalem. Of course, this would only be sensible considering this is where He was headed because Jesus was still Jewish and was “about His Father’s business.” This would include Jewish festivals, ceremonies, observed holidays, and so forth. It was also because this is where He would find the largest gathering of lost people, fellowship, and worship to the Father that was necessary for the ministry that He brought. This festival would be full of lost individuals following a system of legalism and blindness to nowhere. After all, Jesus was the Savior of the world. But, isn’t it just like Jesus to be distracted by great need and suffering?
Verse two starts out by explaining that there was this pool or some type of body of water which was located near a sheep gate, some say sheep market. Some claim to know which pool this was and where it was located, but these claims are theories and difficult to prove. We do know that it was called in Aramaic, “Bethesda.” This also means, “House of Mercy.” It also tells us in the Scripture that it has five porches or covered areas.
This verse shows us there were many people present. The Word tells us there was a “multitude” of handicapped or disabled people waiting for the “moving” of the water. I want to remind you today that you don’t have to wait on a pool of water any longer, but let the fresh spring of the Holy Spirit touch your body today. Whatever these people were facing, they had a lot of “stuff” going on with them physically and spiritually. If you have things going on in your life, come on down to the Rivers of Living Water in God and get your deliverance right now.
Verses 4 & 5:
This section of the Scripture shows us that our chosen blessing may come in a season, just as this angel would come down for a season to stir the water that brought healing. Whatever the problems or issues you have in your life, God wants to grant you a season of deliverance, a year of Jubilee. However, we must be prepared and ready for this season so it will not pass us by as it did many times for this man. The fifth verse tells us that there was a man there who had suffered 38 years with his disabilities, which was most likely most of his life. His whole life had been spent battling this issue in his life. I can somewhat relate to this man because prior to giving my life over to Christ and serving Him, I had spent my whole life battling the issues brought on by sin in my life. Some of the issues I battled may have been the product of my environment such as some of the issues for this man, but many of our issues are brought on by ourselves.
This man may have been disabled for 38 years, but what he didn’t know is that there was a man in town named Jesus! Jesus was “the” Man, the Son of Man, the Messiah, and the Savior of all mankind. Jesus looks at the man and asks, “Wilt thou be made whole?” He was saying, “Do you want to get well?” What the man didn’t truly understand was that Jesus wasn’t just talking about his physical body, but be “made whole” would also save his spirit as well.
In ignorance the man replies to Jesus telling Him that he had no one to help him into the pool, failing to realize the Healer stood directly before him. His focus was on how every time he got ready to be healed, he was beaten by someone quicker. I want to ask you and myself, “what excuse are we giving Jesus today as to why we haven’t sought our deliverance after He has already won the victory for us?” What kind of lame excuse do we have for missing our own deliverance and anointing? Maybe you feel like this man, watching as every new believer or even unbeliever keeps getting their blessing, jumping in line ahead of you, even though you been waiting for nearly 40 years for yours.
In verse eight, Jesus just gets blunt (He may be tired of hearing excuses from people by this point) and tells the man, “Rise, take up thy bed and walk.” “Get up! Pick up your man and walk.” The Word tells us that “immediately he was healed” and he got up and walked. There were a couple of issues here. First, the man never mentions his faith in Christ and doesn’t even know who he is yet as we see in verse 11. The other issue is that the healing happened on a Sabbath day and rather than confronting the hypocrisy and allegations against Christ, the man helps to identify Jesus to the Jewish leaders.
In verse 13 we see that Jesus didn’t stick around to receive the glory for the healing. He had “slipped away into a crowd.” Sometimes when we do a work for the Lord or in service to others, we don’t need to stick around for the glory, but rather slip back into the crowd. We should go right back to our pastures just like David did before he was king as he played the Harp at the palace for King Saul. Afterwards he would go home quietly back to his pasture to shepherd his sheep. We should serve God, then quietly go back to our lowly places so the God gets the credit. One day we will see our reward, not here, but in eternity.
Later on in verses 14 and 15, we see Jesus returns again, knowing this man seeks to know who He is. He comes back to the healed man to help him recognize his “wholeness” gifted to him and to warn him against backsliding saying, “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” Unfortunately, the Scripture does not explain much of anything good coming from this conversation for the man other than his healing, but tells us that the man goes right back to the Jews after the warning from Jesus (effectively turning his back on Jesus) telling them who healed him.
The symbolism in this text is rich, especially when you begin to examine it from the perspective that the Word only talks about this pool at this point when Jesus arrives. Here is verse two we see, not only a pool of water, but five porches or small “house or apartment” type dwellings where people could stay. This represents the five books of Moses symbolizing the law where men were currently under. These men were waiting for the moving of the water, but more than that, men were also awaiting the arrival of Jesus and later on the Holy Ghost. The Benson Commentary mentions, “As the word rendered angel means also messenger.” John the Baptist was God’s messenger for the preparation and arrival of Jesus, baptizing people in the wilderness and calling for repentance. In the midst of all this in verse five, there is a man with an infirmity and situation that he could not be healed/saved from in this old law system due to his handicap which to me represents man’s handicap of sin. When Jesus arrives, bringing with Him the Kingdom of Heaven, salvation is now offered. The first person in the water was healed in the old system, but today Jesus is the “first and the last”. Now, this man who was previously always last is made first in the Kingdom of Heaven. The old system has now been fulfilled and in comes the new system of grace and mercy.
Jesus heals this man regardless of his faith in Him as Lord as He died for us on the cross regardless of if we decide to accept it or not. This is the grace of God that He would offer His salvation and eternal life even though we do not know that this is what we seek from within. As Jesus tells him to “rise, take up thy bed, and walk” I can’t help but notice how we as Christians must take up our cross and carry it with us everywhere we go, proclaiming our testimony of our salvation in Christ. We used to be handicapped and chained by our sin, situations, and debt, but now we are free! Notice that the man was “made whole.” He did not keep an infirmity of the arm or of the leg, but was healed completely. However, just like in the days of Jesus we have those who doubt the faith and prefer their ways of legalism whether through standard religion or the lack thereof. It wasn’t even the fact that a man who was lame for 38 years was healed that made them emotional, but rather their anger was sparked by the fact that this man violated a man-made law which required him to not lift over a certain weight or item on the Sabbath day. Their priorities were so out of line, that instead of the purpose for the Sabbath being made for man as it was intended, was now placed over man as an idol. Even though this story ends with the man healed and a life changed, much like him many of us turn right around in a short time and stab Jesus in the back (many times unknowingly). Even though He has saved us and made us whole, we continue to put our faith and trust in the systems of mankind. Let us not give leverage to the Pharisees and legalists of our day by lacking trust in Christ, but let us believe with our entire hearts and minds for our eternal life which comes for us on the Day of the Lord!