Why did Jesus heal only one person at the pool of Bethesda when there were others also waiting to be healed by the angel?
John 5:1 - 15
ESV - 1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades.
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In my opinion, Jesus healed only this one man on that occasion both because, according to the passage cited, there was already a miraculous means in place at the pool for people to be healed (that is, when the angel from God stirred the waters of the pool), and also because the man in question had been waiting thirty-eight years for this healing (which Jesus knew), but had not been able to avail himself of it, because of his age, his physical condition, and his lack of others to help him, which made him unable to be the first in the pool when the waters were stirred. Jesus responded to the specific needs of that man, which perhaps did not apply (at least to the same extent or degree) to the others who were waiting at the pool.
I agree in part with the idea that Jesus may have done more than heal just this one man, though the story does not lend itself to this idea. Scripture says Jesus slipped away after healing this man, and more healings would have drawn far more attention. God does nothing by chance or haphazardly. God has purpose in all He does. This implies that God has a timing for everything, as well. We know for a fact that Jesus did not heal the lame man at the gate called Beautiful during His human lifetime (the man healed in Acts 3), yet the scripture says that he ways laid at that gate "every day" (Act 3:2). Even if "every day" is somewhat of an exaggeration, there is no doubt that he was there when Jesus went in and out of the temple, yet Jesus never healed him. There was a purpose & a time for his healing, which was to be accomplished through Peter & John, and was used for God's purposes in establishing the early church as 5,000 people became believers in Jesus Christ that day. We must learn to trust God's plans & purposes, especially in our own lives. We must learn to trust God's timing. Romans 8:28 (which we love to quote for our own purposes quite often) says that "God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to HIS PURPOSES." I believe God is far more interested in His will than in our comfort. Psalm 23 says that "though I walk THROUGH (not around or near) the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil..." Even when we do not understand, we must trust that God is for us, not against us. I hope this helps those who may be wondering why God has not healed them or delivered them from their situation yet. Trust God's plans & purposes. Trust God's timing. TRUST GOD!
I tend to agree that there was already a means of healing in place but I also think we just don't know. The Scripture doesn't say anything about Jesus healing anyone else at that time. Maybe He healed others. Maybe He didn't. Readers of the Bible tend to think that it is a comprehensive account but I think the writers wrote just enough to give people the gist of what happened. I forget this at times. It would be like someone writing a "comprehensive" history of the U.S. from the revolution until now but there's no mention of me in it! I admit I've done nothing noteworthy in the grand scheme of things so why would I be mentioned. There's also no mention in any history book I've read saying what George Washington had for breakfast the morning before he crossed the Delaware because it doesn't add to the story. We all understand the crossing was a great moment in history. My point is that I'm quite sure Jesus did many things that aren't recorded but we get the gist of the story.
The pool of Bethesda, which is in other words house of mercy, having five roofed porches or called as verandas, and a site for people to hang around waiting for the water to be stirred or disturbed was at the Sheep Gate in which Jesus moved in and out of this gate to go up to Samaria and Galilee in the North. But on this particular day Jesus approaches this crippled man whom he had seen and knew that he had been there for a long time, which was 38 years. He had lost hope, for every time he would reach by his efforts to come close to dip himself (John 5:7), one among the crowd would be in first. It’s not by our might and power, but it is by the Spirit of God that brings healing and deliverance. All his efforts were in vain keeping in mind that there were people worse than him as the scriptures says there were blind, halt, withered, impotent waiting by the pool. Of the ten lepers who met Jesus and got healed only one returned when he saw he was healed (Luke 17:15). The testimony of the Samaritan woman at the well: She brings in the whole crowd to Jesus and they believe in Him as the Savior of the world. The man at the tomb when he got delivered went out in that whole region and started testifying what Jesus had done for him (Mark 5:20) But this crippled man at the pool of Bethesda just walks and goes his way walking in darkness (John 12:35), not even knowing who Jesus was, for Jesus had to find him in the temple and tell him that he was made whole and to sin no more or something worse could come unto him. In all the above instances we find only a few who testified for their healing and deliverance, and in the same chapter, John 5:34, Jesus tells them “These things I say that ye might be saved." For many who followed Jesus needed to understand the Word of God has power (John 5:20-23) and everyone who receives healing and deliverance need to walk in the light. (John 12:35) If not darkness would overcome them as Jesus said to the crippled sin no more for something worse could come unto thee. By one man’s deliverance many could be saved walking in the light of God.
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