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JOHN - The Light Shines in the Darkness
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to John
PART 2 - Light Shines in the Darkness (John 5:1 - 11:54)
A - Second Journey to Jerusalem (John 5:1-47) -- Emergence of Hostility Between Jesus and the Jews

1. Healing of the paralytic at Bethesda (John 5:1-16)

JOHN 5:1-9
1 After these things, there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now in Jerusalem by the sheep gate, there is a pool, which is called in Hebrew, “Bethesda,” having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, or paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water; 4 for an angel went down at certain times into the pool, and stirred up the water. Whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was made whole of whatever disease he had. 5 A certain man was there, who had been sick for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had been sick for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to be made well?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I’m coming, another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Arise, take up your mat, and walk.” 9 Immediately, the man was made well, and took up his mat and walked. Now it was the Sabbath on that day.

Most likely Jesus spent nine months in Galilee and then he went up to Jerusalem at the feast of Tabernacles. He knew that the battle of faith was to be decisive in the Capital. Though he was confronting legalists and the pious, He kept the law faithfully. Three times yearly he went on pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem, whenever that was possible (Deuteronomy 16:16).

In the town center there was a pool, which according to some Greek versions was occasionally moved by an angel. Herod had built porches round the pool with pillars. The remains of this portico were discovered recently. This structure was named "the House of Mercy", for many invalids would frequent the place seeking a cure – waiting for the waters to move. They thought that the first to throw himself in the water at the movement would be healed.

Jesus visited this pool crowded with sick folk and He noticed a man paralyzed for thirty-eight years, bitter and in pain. To add to this, the cripple had a hatred of others. In this house of mercy it was everyone for himself for no one had pity on him. Yet he had not lost hope, but awaited the opportunity so rare to receive divine mercy. Suddenly mercy Incarnate stood before him and Jesus began his healing treatment by first drawing the man’s gaze from the pool to himself. He then kindled the cripple’s will to gain healing. Jesus gave him the chance to express his grievances, who had cried, "No one cares for me! Often have I have sought healing, but my confidence has faded: No one enquires about me. Maybe you will wait a while for the waters to move, so that you may put me in?"

No one cares for me! Is this your position brother? Do others reject you? We tell you that Jesus stands before you: He asks about you and has found you. He can help you and save you. These were the sentiments felt by the paralytic. His questioning glance met Christ’s eyes, whose pity created the man’s confidence in the Lord of love.

When Jesus saw the eager desire of this unfortunate man to be cured, and his trust that Jesus was able to deliver, he commanded, "Rise, take up your mattress and walk." This was a divine injunction, making the impossible possible. The paralytic believed Christ’s word and trusted the power that flowed from him, feeling the currents that flowed into his bones and the power that revived his body; he gained strength and was healed.

Instantly he leapt for joy, stood up and lifted his bed over his head and carried it gladly. His faith complemented Christ’s word of power, and brought about an immediate healing.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we thank you, you did not pass this invalid by, but noticed him in your compassion. He had no one but you, the merciful One. Help us to hold on to you, and not rely on human aid. Transform us into the image of your love, to care for others, sharing your blessings with them.


  1. How did Jesus heal the paralytic by the pool of Bethesda?


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