MIRACLE AT BETHESDA POOL
Leslie M. John
“Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee” (John 5:14)
On the day of feast of the Jews, i.e. the Passover feast, Jesus went up to Jerusalem where at the ‘sheep market’ also called ‘sheep gate’, there was a pool which had five porches, and which in Hebrew language was called “Bethesda”. The pool was of great interest because an angel went there at a certain season and troubled the water in the pool. Upon troubling the water, the first sick person, such as impotent, or blind, or limp, or withered, who gets into the water, was made whole of whatever disease he had.
There was a man, suffering from an infirmity, lying at the pool for thirty eight years, and being unable to get into the pool by himself, when the water was troubled, and no one to help him to get into it, continued to suffer, while someone else got into the water before he could. Jesus saw him lay there, and knew that the man was at the pool for many years, and therefore, had compassion on him, and asked him if he wished to be made whole. The man answered and said to Jesus that even before he attempted to get into the pool, when the angel troubled the water in it, someone else got into it, and was made whole. Then, Jesus said to him to “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk”.
It was the Sabbath day when Jesus healed the impotent man, and the Jews saw the man walking with his bed. They said to him that it was the Sabbath day, and it was unlawful for him to carry his bed. Violation of Sabbath invited death by Stoning as per Mosaic Law.
“Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people”. (Exodus 31:14)
However, the man, who was healed of his disease, said to the Jews “He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk”. The Jews insisted on him to identify the man who healed him and asked him to walk with his bed on the Sabbath day; but the man did not know, who He was, because of great multitude and also because Jesus had left the scene after the incident.
Jesus saw the man in the temple and said to him “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” Jesus cautioned the man that if he sinned again worse could come upon him.
The man departed from the temple and told the Jews that it was Jesus, who healed him. Therefore, the Jews followed Jesus to see how they might take hold of him and slay Him because he healed the man and said to him to walk with his bed on the Sabbath day.
What if the man thought of disobeying the command from Jesus to “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk” thinking that he was already there for thirty eight years lying on the bed waiting for miraculous healing? When Jews asked him who that was who healed him, the man could not say who he was! He could identify Jesus only when he saw Him for the second time in the temple.
The answer is that he would have remained impotent forever; but he chose to obey the command from Jesus in faith.
Jesus healed the man who was helpless, and gave what seemed to be an impossible command demanding great faith and obedience. The man was obedient to the command by faith and eventually he rose up and walked with his bed. Secondly, Jesus gave an additional command that he should not sin again, otherwise, the worse could happen. We have a lesson here that sinning after being healed of sickness could result in worse coming upon us. The man’s obedience and faith healed him. (Ref. John 5:1-14)