FoundationsForGrowing

The Gospel of John: Part III

by Joanna Pierce on November 03, 2016

The discovery of John’s Gospel continues this week. We’ve noted how John doesn’t provide basic accounts of events the way other Gospels do. This week we’ll focus on the story at the Pool of Bethesda. John writes not just about a man being healed, but strives to convey a deeper meaning.

The Pool of Bethesda

The account of the man being healed at the Pool of Bethesda is found in John 5:1–14. People came to this pool for help because once a year, an angel of the Lord would come down and trouble the water. The first person who entered the troubled waters were healed. Because only one person could be healed, most of the people who came to the Pool seeking a healing left unchanged. This story shows that Jesus shows up, and changes the course of history. He heals a man who’s waited by the Pool all his life, and he didn’t have to get into the Pool to receive his healing.

Lessons in the Pool

We Guard Our Firsts

The only way people could receive a healing was to be the first one in the water when it started moving. We have this mentality today—the concept of being first. We want to have the ideal situation first before everything can be right in our life. But, in this story, Jesus negates the idea of being first. The man by the Pool had been lame for 38 years (John 5:5) and walked away with a healing (John 5:9). The first shall be last in the kingdom of God, and the last will be first (Matthew 20:16). We cannot live a life of competition in the church and in God’s kingdom.

We Come When We Need Help

John mentions the variety of people who sought help at the Pool: blind, halt, and withered (John 5:3). Each of these “classifications” exemplify different types of people who seek help from God:

  • Blind—People who don’t necessarily see things like everyone else. The Greek word typhlōn means someone of self-conceit, high-minded, and proud
  • Lame (Halt)—People who know what’s right but they feel powerless to do anything. The Greek word chōlōn means crippled, withered, and lame
  • Withered—People who believe they don’t possess any ability and won’t get any better. The Greek word xéros means dry, shrunken, wasted, being scorched from extreme heat

The Pool represented one way to help all of these people who didn’t possess the ability to help themselves; they were powerless to change their lives. They came to the Pool because they knew they needed help and wanted to be changed. Jesus is available for each of us today who want help and desire to walk away from an encounter with Him completely changed.

We’re Healed When We Want It

Jesus asked the man if he wanted to be healed (John 5:6). Jesus basically wanted to know if the man was serious about getting well. But, the man had an excuse (John 5:7)—a reason why he couldn’t be healed—and didn’t answer, “yes, I want to be healed!”

The man’s problem was not his lameness; his problem was his focus. Most of the time, our condition in life is not our issue. We just need to shift our focus on the Healer and not our “problem.” We need to choose life in Jesus (Deuteronomy 30:19) and not our circumstance.

We Need to Demonstrate Power Over Our “Bed”

Jesus didn’t tell the man he was healed, but to “take up [his] bed, and walk” (John 5:8, KJV). Jesus wanted a visible demonstration of power over what used to support the man in his brokenness. The man was able to pick up his bed and have dominion over it, instead of it ruling his life.

We all have a tendency to build in a support system into our lives that excuse our behavior in God. But, we need to determine what we’re serving and what we’re allowing to keep us in our current condition. Whatever our heart serves, this is the bed we lay in. Jesus has given us power to rise up and take control and power over our “beds.” God’s authority releases us to walk in His victory.

We Live for God or Face a Worse Thing

After the man had been healed, Jesus came to find the man and told him to, “…sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee” (John 5:14, KJV). When the Lord is gracious and merciful enough to heal of us our issue, we cannot return to it. If we start acting like we have an issue, or choose to lay back down in our bed, God will pour out a worse circumstance in our life. We cannot choose to re-identify with the past or listen to the devil that we aren’t healed. When Jesus touches our lives, we’re changed, and we need to stay that way.


Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on November 2, 2016