John 5:1 - 17
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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The passage about the healing at the pool of Bethesda, John 5:1-17 provides a couple of many lessons. One is that John 5:1 mentions a feast, but it is not the Passover because John distinctly identifies the Passovers in his gospel: Passover #1 – John 2:13 at beginning of ministry Passover #2 – John 6:4 Passover #3 – John 11:55 at the time of the crucifixion The fact it is called ‘a feast,’ rather than ‘the feast’ means it is not the Passover. Some suggest it is Purim, which fits the chronology, because 30 days later is the Passover, John 6:4. Then, seven months later is the Feast of Tabernacles, John 7:2. Purim was a very festive time of rejoicing and presents, and giving gifts to those who were poor, Esther 9:20-22. The Jewish leaders found fault with Jesus healing on the Sabbath not knowing how symbolic the healing was. When Jesus healed the man at Bethesda, ‘house of mercy,’ He gave to him a Purim gift of good health and, on top of that, eternal life. Another lesson concerning this passage is the reliability of the Scriptures. John 5:1-4 contains a part that is questioned. There is no problem in the first paragraph below: “1After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. 3In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed,...” But the following section is questioned as genuine: “...waiting for the moving of the water. 4For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.” Some Greek texts omit this last section because it is considered doubtful. Greek texts are put together by editors who study manuscript variations and decide what belongs or not, sometimes not very accurately or without bias. The account seems fanciful and thought to be likely added from old traditions and therefore is omitted or bracketed as questionable. Yet its authenticity is verified by many Greek manuscripts and the evidence of Church fathers such as Tertullian who knew of no manuscripts without it. Without this reading, verse 7 becomes strangely perplexing when it says, “The sick man answered Him, ‘Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.’” The omitted section is necessary to explain what the sick man is talking about. The account contrasts the angels’ ministry that is seasonal and limited, to that of Christ who gives complete and instantaneous healing. The verses belong there. Jesus solved the dilemma for one man who spent 38 years trying to get healed on his own. And He did it on the Sabbath, especially when the man needed rest from his weary condition.
The paralytic was hopeless because each time someone else got in before him. (John 5:7) The helplessness of this infirm resident of the pool is suggested by his reply to Jesus’ question, “Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool.” “Put” is literally “cast” and indicates, “the hasty movement required to bring him to the water before its agitation should have ceased” (Mark 7:30; Luke 11:20). The very face of this despairing creature bore the look of “hope deferred.” —Lockyer This miracle in the Gospel is strikingly and dramatically portrayed in the new TV series, “The Chosen.” See it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMj1ggINLe4 Regarding John 5:6 and the man's seeming hopeless situation (after 38 years, this man's problem had become a way of life), no matter how trapped you may feel in your infirmities, God can minister to your deepest needs. Don't let a problem or hardship cause you to lose hope. God may have special work for you to do in spite of your condition, or even because of it. Many have ministered to hurting people because they have triumphed over their own hurts. LASB In the film, just the fact that the paralytic had been healed after so long a time caused his brother to refrain from violently killing someone!
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