Pool of Bethesda
Part 1

(John 5:1-30, ESV))

THIS WEEKS STUDY BEGINS WITH THE POOL OF BETHESDA -(buh-THEZ-duh) literally meaning "house of mercy" in the Gk. And "house of grace" in Aramic.

In the first part of this study Jesus heals a cripple by the Pool of Bethesda. The second part has to do with a confrontation Jesus had with the Jews, which was brought about by His healing this man on the Sabbath.

Toward the end of this study Jesus briefly teaches on what we would probably call "es-cha-tol-o-gy = having to do with the destiny of humanity, the Second Coming, and the Last Judgment.

It is generally agreed that The Pool of Bethesda is located in Jerusalem at the double pool of the present day "Church of St. Anne." The history of this site was once in question. But in 1956 archaeological discoveries once again confirmed the Biblical account. Surprise, Surprise!


The present day St. Anne Church is believed to be over the location of the original church which was the birthplace of (Anne) or (Hannah,) the mother of Mary. It is now in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem.

This picture of the Pool of Bethesda is an artist's rendering of how the Scholars believe the Pool of Bethesda would have looked in Jesus' day.

(This is not the way I thought the Pool of bethesda would look. I had in mind a cool little pool in the center of downtown, perhaps 20 ft across, 2 ft deep, surrounded by Palm trees.)



John 5The Healing at the Pool on the Sabbath

VERSE 1 - After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

(John doesn't tell us which Feast this was. There were actually three feasts each year that all the Jewish men were required to travel to Jerusalem for. they were the "Passover," "Pentecost," and the "Feast of Tabernacles." It's believed this was the Feast of Tabernacles because it is referred to as "the feast," and that was the term most commonly used for the "Feast of Tabernacles"."

(The "Feast of Tabernacles" translated from the word meaning "tent" or(or booths) was a seven day feast held yearly in Jerusalem, in October, to remind the people that their fathers dwelt in these booths or tents during the wilderness journey.)

(But the issue in this story is that the day Jesus heals this man by the pool of Bethesda was on a Sunday.)

2"Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades."

Jerusalem was destroyed in 70AD which is thought to be before John's writing, but his description of the site is accurate.)

3In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed.

(It is thought that Jewish community in Jesus' day probably viewed the pool of Bethesda as a place of healing. But the temple authorities did not approve of it because they considered it to be a healing shrine for pagan gods, which were, in general, characterized by Greek cults.)


(Verse 4 is interesting in that it was omitted in some ancient Greek manuscripts and is not included in the ESV, the NIV and numerous other bible translations)


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."(KJV)

(EITHER WAY, IT DOESN'T TAKE AWAY FROM WHAT JESUS DID) MAKES IT EVEN BETTER, BECAUSE even if that were the case, He did what the pagan gods couldn't do.

(VERSE 5 SAY'S)5One man was there by the Pool of Bethesda who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.


(AND IN VERSE 6)6When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be healed?"

(A NOTE)(Now, we know that Jesus already knew all about this man. He knew he had been an invalid for 38 years and evidently had been doing everything he knew to do in order to be healed, and yet Jesus asked "Do you want to be healed?"

I believe this man, although he was by these supposedly healing waters, was rather hopeless by this time, but by this statement/question, and in that moment Jesus had begun his restoration, not only in health, but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

(VERSE 7) 7The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me."

(Can't you just hear the empty ring in this man's voice, the desperation. He had been trying to get into the pool of Bethesda for 38 years, longer than some people lived in that time. I don't think he had much hope.

Like some of the others in the bible, we don't know much about him, yet we know that he had family or someone who loved him enough to carry him down to the pool.

(JESUS CHANGED EVERYONE HE CAME IN CONTACT WITH, AND THIS WAS HIS DAY.) 8Jesus said to him, "Get up, take up your bed, and walk." 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath.

(It doesn't say that Jesus helped him up, do you think He did? Probably not, after all healed people don't need help getting up, and he had been healed. Don't you just know that he was a change man from inside out.


10So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, "It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed."

(don't you find their reaction incredible, at least according to our standards? But the Jewish Law explicitly forbade carrying things on the Sabbath, it was simply against the law.)

(IN VERSES 11&12)11But he answered them, "The man who healed me, that man said to me, 'Take up your bed, and walk.'" 12They asked him, "Who is the man who said to you, 'Take up your bed and walk'?"


13Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place.

(At this time Jesus had not introduced Himself to this man, just simply healed and restored him to perfect health, and since there was a crowd, He had "withdrawn" and slipped away.)

THE "Word for withdrawn in "Strong's #1593" is ekneuo (ek-nyoo-oh) used only here in the New Testament describes Jesus leaving the premises after healing the lame man. Although some believe that Jesus slipped away to escape danger, others believe that He was avoiding audience applause or the crisis precipitated with the religious order by healing the man by the Pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath."

(BUT IN VERSE 14)14Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, "See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you."

(The temple was next door to the pool, but it seems worth mentioning that's where the man went, and that Jesus knew where to find him.

Isn't amazing that Jesus could say so much in so few words!) Scripture doesn't otherwise tell us that this man was a sinful man, after all, he was an invalid, but we also know the man wasn't perfect, and at any rate Jesus said "...you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you."

ISN'T THAT DEEP? WHAT DO YOU THINK?)(Is there a message there for us? Do you think that what He said to this man might apply to us.


Heb.12:5-6(ESV) "And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son whom he receives." ("Chastise," in our present day "Webster's New World Dictionary and Thesaurus means to "scold, discipline, spank")

Perhaps this is the message/warning Jesus was giving the man He had just healed?

(IN VERSE 1515The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.

(Now Jesus didn't tell him not to tell, but, at any rate he did)

(VERSE 16 SAYS)16And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath.

(IN VERSE 17 HE CALLS GOD HIS FATHER) 17But Jesus answered them, "My Father is working until now, and I am working."

we were just talking about this scripture last week, and I couldn't remember where it was. But we had been talking about the greatness of God, the 325, billion and counting galaxies, and wondering what all He had been doing these past few thousand years. I don't believe He's been sitting up there on that throne drumming His fingers.


18"This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

(They were just spiritually blind, weren't they? They just didn't get it! The very people who had receive the prophesies concerning Jesus, trained in the word, perfectionists in the Law, yet didn't recognize Him when He came.) Isn't that pathetic?


19So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.

(Jesus is plainly saying that apart from the Father He could do nothing. As you may remember, He later in this chapter He tells US that we can do nothing apart from Him)

20For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.

(So, what works does the Son do? Well, he healed the cripple by the pool of Bethesda. In verse 19 He says that he does the same works He sees the Father doing) (He then went on in verse 20 to tell these Jews that they would see greater works than this healing, so that they might marvel)

and then continues to verse 21 by beginning with the word "for") -

21For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.

(Jesus is saying that just as the Father has power over life and death, so does the Son. The life Jesus is speaking of here is the Spiritual, eternal life)

22The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son,

(Jesus is not only the Christian's Saviour, He is also our judge.)

23that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.

(As we studied in the previous scriptures, Jesus has plainly said that He was sent by God. Basically what He is saying here is that anyone who does not accept Him dishonors God.)


Continuing with verse 24 to the end of today's study and actually to the end of this chapter. HERE Jesus continues his discussion of His relationship to his Father with the ones who are accusing Him of blasphemy.

24Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

The judgment He is speaking of here is what we often refer to as the last Judgment at the "Great White Throne" where those whose names are not found written in "The Lambs Book of Life" are eternally separated from God.

Jesus said in verse 24 Christians do not come into that judgment, but HAS (didn't say "will') passed from death to life. We've studied before how the unsaved face two deaths, the death of the body and then the spiritual, eternal death at the last day.

Christians only face the natural, or physical death.--- I'm sure we each probably have our own way of viewing death, but I see the death we, as Christians, face as a doorway, but not as a doorway to death, instead , as the doorway to Heaven; and we don't have to earn it, only trust in Him, because Jesus paid our way by what He did on the cross.

IN VERSES 25-30 JESUS WAS BEEN SPEAKING OF THE FUTURE,interwoven with THE PRESENT. 25"Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

Most bible scholars seem to agree that this particular reference to the "dead" is a reference to those who are physically alive, but are spiritually dead.(see Luke 15:24)

26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.


27And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.

(Why would being the "Son of Man" be a reason for God to grant Jesus to have the power/authority to give eternal life?)

Well, I guess we can say that He certainly deserves it by walking in man's shoes and paying the ultimate sacrifice. But that had been prophesied. Dan 7:13-14 referred to "One" like the "Son of Man" who was to rule for God in the future kingdom; ruling included executing judgment.(read if you have time)Daniel 7:13-14 (English Standard Version)

The Son of Man Is Given Dominion 13"I saw in the night visions,

and(A) behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man,and he came to the(B) Ancient of Days and was presented before him.14(C) And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,that all(D) peoples, nations, and languages should serve him;(E) his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away,and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. IN VERSES 28 AND 29:28Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice29and come out,those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

SO IN THESE VERSES 28-29 JESUS IS DECLARING HIS AUTHORITY AND CHARACTER, AS THE MESSIAH. God truly did turn all things over to Him. He talks about raising those who are dead in sin, to newness of life, by the power of the Spirit, then to that of His raising the dead in their graves, and of His office as a Judge.

(OUR LAST VERSE FOR TODAY) JESUS GOES ON TO SAY:"I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. >>>


30I am able to do nothing from Myself [independently, of My own accord--but only as I am taught by God and as I get His orders]. Even as I hear, I judge [I decide as I am bidden to decide. As the voice comes to Me, so I give a decision], and My judgment is right (just, righteous), because I do not seek or consult My own will [I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose] but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me.


Since Jesus is talking about "end times," there is the second coming we often refer to as "The Rapture. It's Recorded in "1 Thess. 4:16-17"(AMP)

16For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud cry of summons, with the shout of an archangel, and with the blast of the trumpet of God. And those who have departed this life in Christ will rise first.

17Then we, the living ones who remain [on the earth], shall simultaneously be caught up along with [the resurrected dead] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so always (through the eternity of the eternities) we shall be with the Lord!

It's for sure that Jesus was totally committed to doing God's will. And He is our example.

Go To the 2nd Part of this Study:

"Pool of Bethesda - Part 2") 

(John 5:31-47) 

Jesus continues his confrontation with the Jews who didn't approve of His healing on the Sabbath

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Bethesda Part 1

Samuel L. Mills