Jesus heals an invalid at Bethesda

The Miracles of Jesus

March 10, 2021

John 5:1-15

Jesus heals an invalid at Bethesda

When I ask a question of someone, they are usually closed-end questions. In other words, when I ask a question, I look for an answer of yes or no, or short and concise answers. My wife Kathy almost always answers my yes or no questions as if they were open-ended questions. Example:

  1.  What time do you want me to put the ribs in the oven? Answer: Well, the recipe says they should be in the range at 275 for 3-3 ½ hours. Then I need to take them out and put BBQ sauce on them. The ribs recipe calls to be broiled on each side for 3-4 minutes after the BBQ sauce is on. So, it’s 1 p.m. now, and we want to eat by 6 p.m., I would say they need to go in the oven about 2 p.m.
  2. I’m heading over to Publix. Do you need anything from the store? Answer: Hmmm, if you were going to Aldi’s, I’d have you pick up some olive oil spray. But, since you’re only going to Publix, no, I guess I don’t need anything.

In my first question, I was looking for a time of day. (2 p.m.)

In my second question, all I needed was a yes or no. (Unless Kathy was trying to guilt me into stopping at Aldi’s too. 😊

In today’s miracle story, Jesus asks a direct question but gets an open-ended answer:

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

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. For an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred the water: whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was healed of whatever disease he had One man was there 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?”

 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.” 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. So, the Jews (Religious Leaders) said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” 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’?” 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. 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 man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.”

It was a pretty simple question Jesus asked, “Do you want to be healed?” Jesus is omniscient. That means he knows everything. Jesus already knew that this man was crippled and had been so for 38 years. He also knew the whole story of how he could never get to the water to be healed.

Instead of simply answering the question with a resounding, “Yes!” The crippled man begins to complain about his circumstances. Jesus listened to him, and even though the cripple never showed any signs of faith or knowledge of Jesus’ power, Jesus told him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.”

Jesus knows all of our back-stories. If you feel He is asking you a question, be straightforward and concise.

One wonders how this man could be such a sinner that Jesus would say to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” 

That’s quite a statement. Let’s face it, we’re all sinners; we all sin. Jesus must have known something about this man that is not stated in the text. Obviously, neither you, I, or this crippled man can just stop sinning. Unfortunately, it is in our nature. But, we can look to improve and try harder to avoid sin. We also can go to the Lord in prayer, often asking for forgiveness of all of our sins, those we know about, and those we are unaware of.

BTW Jesus tells us not to go on and on when we pray either. Be to the point when you pray, be specific, and ask for forgiveness.

Dear Lord. Help us not to be too wordy in our encounters with others. When we come to you in prayer, we will try and be to the point as we ask for forgiveness of our transgressions. Even if we do get a little long-winded, we know that you are always there for us and will always listen. Amen.

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