Tuesday, April 1, 2008

John 5:1-9

1 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in
the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt,
withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled
the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was
made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight
years.
6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that
case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?
7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is
troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down
before me.
8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked:
and on the same day was the sabbath.

Notice that this is a man who needs to be (physically) healed, not unlike we needed (spiritual) healing before we came to Christ. And he knew the way to be healed (by being the first to step in the water of the pool after it was 'troubled'), but, ironically, he was so thoroughly sick that he couldn't do what was required of him to be healed. This is a perfect parallel to those who are without Christ. They need salvation from their sins, but the way to earn salvation is through righteousness, the irony being that they (like we once were) are so thoroughly sinful that it is literally impossible for them to do what is required of them to be healed.

Jesus asks the man if he wants to be healed. Notice the man's response, I think it's extremely important. Rather than saying "no", and having Jesus leave him, or saying "yes", and asking Jesus to help him down into the water the next time there is an opportunity for healing, the man's response reveals his total and complete resignation to the fact that he will never be able to accomplish what is required for him to be healed. I believe that this is exactly the response Jesus was looking for and that it was for this reason that He chose to speak to this particular man out of the "great multitude" who were present. You see, it is impossible for us to be healed by Christ until we recognize that we can't do it on our own.

Question: Did Jesus heal the man by helping him down into the pool when the waters were troubled? No. He didn't need to, He had the authority to do it on His own. The pool represents man's ability to heal himself, and for this reason Jesus chose to speak with a man who had no hope of ever reaching it (just like us, we can never attain righteous on our own). And He didn't help the man down into the water because Jesus didn't come to help us to heal ourselves, He came to do the healing for us. Salvation is not by works, nor is it by Christ's grace assisting us in our works (if it was, then Jesus would have helped the man down into the water), but by the grace of God alone. He came to offer us a new way to be healed, outside of our own righteousness. There's so much more that can be found in this passage, but I don't wanna do it all for you! Then there wouldn't be any reason for you to read it yourself...

In Christ's Love,
Matt