Bible Study Lesson:
- Where did this incident take place? (Nehemiah 3:1)
- The Pool of Bethesda near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem.
- The Sheep gate was the gate used to bring the sheep into the city to the temple for sacrifice.
Nehemiah 3:1 – “Eliashib the high priest and his fellow priests went to work and rebuilt the Sheep Gate.”
- Archaeologists have discovered the Bethesda pool in 1960s.
- What was the occasion? (Leviticus 23:2-14, John 2:13)
- Feast of Jews and Sabbath
- The three feasts of the Lord described in Leviticus 23 was then known as the feasts of the Jews. All jewish men were required to come to Jerusalem for these feasts. Jesus also went to attend the feast of Passover. (John 2:13)
- Feast of Passover and unleavened bread
- Feast of Pentecost (Feast of Weeks)
- Feast of tabernacles
- Why were there lots of disabled people near Bethesda pool?
- Notice that John 5:4 is not included in NIV version.
John 5:4 (KJV) “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.”
- Note: Verse 4 is not included in the New International Version. Some of the later New Testament manuscripts do not contain this verse, so it has been left out in the later bible translation like NIV.
- They were waiting for an angel to come and stir waters and the first person to enter the pool would be healed by the angel. (Angels and Demons in the Bible)
- It is common to hear about the hot springs in which people got healed or claimed to get healed in the ancient times. Even today, in many parts of the world, people go to some of these hot springs, which supposedly have healing powers.
- We are not sure exactly whether the water in the pool had some miraculous power.
- Notice that John 5:4 is not included in NIV version.
- What can you learn about the condition of the disabled man? Did he know Jesus?
- He had been disabled for 38 years.
- He had tried everything to get healed.
- There was nobody to help him (John 5:7). His family might have deserted him there.
- He was lying there near the Bethesda pool in the hope that someday he might get a chance to be the first one to get into a pool.
- He wanted to get well. But he could not do it by himself. He needed somebody’s help.
- He sincerely thought that if he could reach into the pool at right time, he would be healed. The only problem was that he could not!
- He did not even know who Jesus was. He was not looking for Jesus, Jesus came up to him.
- Even after he was healed, Jesus found him again to warn about not sinning.
- What did Jesus ask him? And what was his reply? (John 5:7)
- Since the lame man did not know Jesus, Jesus took an initiative to ask him for healing. Have you ever wondered, why did Jesus ask this person specifically for healing? After all, there were great number of disabled people, lying there. (John 5:3)
- It was a strange question -”Do you want to get well?” He had been there all these years, desperately trying to be well. With this question, Jesus was offering him help. Perhaps, nobody would have asked him for help for years!
- If we rephrase this man’s answer in one sentence, it would be, “Yes, I want to be well, I just can’t get there on my own!”
What areas in your life have you been struggling for a long time? Do you ever wonder if God cares for you in the multitude?
- What was Jesus’ reply? What did Jesus offer him? (John 5:9)
- “Get up, pick up your mat and walk.” He didn’t have to go into the pool. His healing was right here, right at that moment. He didn’t have to wait for an angel to come to the pool.
- The man was instantly healed. (After suffering for 38 years)
- Why were Jews not happy? (John 5:10)
- The man was carrying his mat on the Sabbath. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law had many laws regarding the Sabbath about how much to walk or work.
- They were indifferent to the man who was healed after 38 years. They cared more about the Law than the people. (Bible study on Jesus Healing on Sabbath)
- What can we learn from the fact that he did not even know Jesus?
- It was Jesus who came up to him.
- Even after he was cured, Jesus found him again; it seems as if Jesus was literally following him.
- Why did Jesus warn him about not sinning? Do you think sickness is the result of sin? (John9:2-3)
- He was physically healed, but he also needed a great healing, a spiritual healing. He needed his sins to be forgiven.
- Jesus did not mean that his sickness or disability was the result of sin. Check out the surprisingly similar passage of the healing of a blind man in John 9:1-12.
John 9:2-3 – His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
- Jesus also gave the similar command to the woman caught in the adultery in John 8: 1-11.
- The man took heed of Jesus’ instruction, thus proclaiming boldly about Jesus (John 15:15).
Life Applications and Reflections
Do you carry some deep hurt, physical or emotional suffering, or sickness for a long time? Has it just become a way of life? You may have tried everything in your power to get well, but you may have realized that you cannot do it on your own. The good news is that Jesus is asking the same question to you, “do you want to get well?”
Check out our eBook, The Miracles of Jesus Christ – 7-part Bible Study Series on the Healing Miracles of Jesus Christ for Small Groups & Personal Study.