(buh-THEZ-duh), means, "House of Mercy" in Greek - "House of Grace" in Aramaic.
The Pool of Bethesda (Picture) is located in Jerusalem at the present day Church of St. Anne (Picture).
Note: Your Bible May Not Include Verse Four
Verse 1: "After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem."
John does not tell us which Feast this was. There were three feasts each year that all the Jewish men were required to attend in Jerusalem, 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," the term most commonly used for the 'Feast of Tabernacles.'"
The "Feast of Tabernacles," translated from the word meaning "tent," or booths, was a seven-day feast held each year in Jerusalem, in October. It was to remind the people that their fathers dwelt in these booths, or tents, during the wilderness journey.
The issue in this story: Jesus heals a man by the pool of Bethesda, on a Sabbath.
Verse 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 and is thought to be before John's writing, but his description of the site is accurate.
Verse 3: "In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed."
The Jewish community in Jesus’ day viewed the pool of Bethesda as a place of healing. However, the temple authorities did not approve of it. They considered it to be a healing shrine for pagan gods,
Verse 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)
Verse 4 was omitted in some ancient Greek manuscripts and is not in the ESV, the NIV, and numerous other Bible translations
This does not take away from what Jesus did. In either case, Jesus had healed a crippled man, something the pagan gods had been unable to do.
Jesus Heals the cripple by the Pool of Bethesda
VERSE 5-6: "One man was there by the Pool of Bethesda who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When 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?"
That's a long time to wait to be healed.
Jesus knew this man had been an invalid for 38 years and had tried everything to find healing; yet asked, “Do you want to be healed?”
This man by the healing waters was certainly in a state of hopelessness, and Jesus began to heal him by asking the question, “do you want to be healed."
VERSE 7: "The 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 of desperation in this man’s voice? He had been trying to get into the pool of Bethesda for 38 years, longer than some people lived in that time. I do not think he had much hope.
Like some of the others in the Bible, we don't know much about him, yet we know he had a family or someone who loved him enough to carry him down to the pool.
JESUS CHANGED EVERYONE HE MET,
And THIS WAS HIS DAY
Verse 8-9: "Jesus said to him, "Get up, take up your bed, and walk." And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath."
We aren't told that Jesus helped him up, do you think He did? After all, healed people don't need help getting up, and he had been healed. Don't you just know that he was a changed man from inside out?
AND IT WAS ON A SABBATH
Verse 10: "So 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? However, the Jewish Law explicitly forbade carrying things on the Sabbath; it was simply against the law.
VERSES 11-12: "But he answered them, "The man who healed me, that man said to me, 'Take up your bed, and walk.' They asked him, Who is the man who said to you, 'Take up your bed and walk?'"
Wouldn't you think they already knew or had an idea, that Jesus was the One who had healed the man?
Verse 13: "Now 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 point Jesus had healed and restored this man, but had not introduced Himself, and, there was a crowd, so He had "withdrawn," or slipped away.
THE "word for withdrawn in "Strong's #1593" is ekneuo, (ek-nyoo-oh), is used only here in the New Testament to describe Jesus' leaving the premises after healing the crippled man by the Pool of Bethesda.
Although some believe Jesus slipped away to escape danger and the uproar from the religious leaders, others think He was avoiding the applause of the audience.
VERSE 14: "Afterward 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, and it seems worth mentioning that Jesus knew he was there.
I find it amazing that Jesus could say so much in so few words! Scripture does not tell us if this man was a sinful man. After all, he was an invalid, but we also know he wasn't perfect. Jesus said "...you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you."
ISN'T THAT DEEP? Is there a message there for us? Do you think what He said to this man, might apply to us? Let's see what the Word says:
"And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?” My son, does 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"(Heb.12:5-6, ESV).
Perhaps this is the message/warning Jesus was giving the man He had just healed.
VERSE 15: "The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him."
Jesus did not instruct him not to tell, but at any rate, he did.
VERSE 16: "And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath."
JESUS REFERS TO GOD AS HIS FATHER
Verse 17: "But Jesus answered them, "My Father is working until now, and I am working."
In a previous study we attempted to discuss the greatness of God, and the 325, billion and counting galaxies, He has created. I believe that in the above Scripture, Jesus is saying that God is continually working. I can't help but wonder what else He has been doing these past few thousand years.
Verse 18: "This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because, not only was he breaking the Sabbath, he was calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God."
They were just spiritually blind, weren't they? These people could quote the prophesies telling of Jesus. They were perfectionists in the Law; yet did not recognize Him when He came, isn't that pathetic!
AUTHORITY OF THE SON
Verse 19: "So 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 said that apart from the Father He could do nothing. Later in this study, Jesus tells us that, (we can do nothing apart from Him
Verse 20: "For 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, in this example, 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 He tells the people they would see greater works than this healing, (so that they might marvel, (and believe).
Verse 21: "For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will."
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.
Verse 22: "The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son,"
Not only is Jesus our loving Savior, but also our Judge.
Verse 23: "that 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."
Jesus had previously said that God had sent Him. Here, He is saying that anyone who does not accept Him dishonors God.
Jesus continues his discussion of His relationship with His Father with the ones who are accusing Him of blasphemy.
Verse 24: "Truly, 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."
Jesus was speaking of the Last Judgment, (at the “Great White Throne),” Names not in “The Lambs Book of Life,” will be eternally separated from God.
Because of Jesus, Christians will not be subjected to that judgment, because they have already passed from death to life.
Those who are unsaved face two deaths, the death of the body and the spiritual death, (at the last day). Christians only face the natural or physical death.
We each have our own way of viewing death. I believe the physical death of those trusting in Jesus is a doorway to Heaven that we simply pass through. We need only to trust in Him, because Jesus paid our way by what He did on the cross.
THE FUTURE, INTERWOVEN WITH THE PRESENT
Verse 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."
Many Bible Scholars think this particular reference to the "dead" is a reference to those who are, physically alive, but spiritually dead. (See Luke 15:24)
Verse 26: "For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself."
God has given Jesus authority, even over Eternal Life.
Verse 27: "And 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 the power/authority to give eternal life?
Well, He certainly earned it by walking in man's shoes and in paying the ultimate sacrifice; but even more, it was a part of God's plan, and was in prophecy; it had to be fulfilled.
Prophecy Concerning Jesus
"I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed," (Dan 7:13-14, ESV).
VERSES 28-29: "Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment."
Jesus Declares His Authority
Verse 30: "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."
(From the Amplified Bible)
"I 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."
God truly did turn all things over to Jesus. He speaks of raising those who are dead in sin to newness of life, by the power of the Spirit; also, of His raising the dead in their graves; and of His office as a Judge; but gives God the glory for it all.
Below, Jesus is talking about the "end times." We often refer to the end times as “The Rapture, and the second coming:
"For 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.
Then 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!"
Jesus was wholly committed to doing God's will.
This concludes our study of the Pool of Bethesda
Go to our next study, "The Fourfold Witness" (John 5:31-47)
Jesus continues his confrontation with the Jews.
Gospel of John Bible Study Main Page
Why is it so difficult for our educators and society, in general, to understand that love and respect for one another taught from a young age can solve much of the world's hostility and social problems!
"Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it" (Prov 22:6).
Love is the answer!
True loyalty springs from the heart and is wrapped in love. It is often in our most private moments that true loyalty, or the lack of it, is made known.
Reaching the world with the message of Jesus
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Samuel L Mills
PO Box 4456
Maryville, TN 37802