Don’t miss out on the real activity of God amongst his people.
In John 5:1-9, Jesus is in Jerusalem for the holiday. John doesn’t specifically tell us which holiday it is, which is important for the story. The holidays were to be a reminder of God’s activity amongst his people, and John doesn’t want his readers to miss out on the real activity of God amongst his people. A detail he does want us to know is that Jesus is approaching a popular landmark where many would come for healing – the pool of Bethesda. John notes that when Jesus came to this landmark there was a crowd of invalids (blind, lame, and paralyzed) surrounding the pool just waiting for their chance to get in for the slight hope that they may be healed. Jesus comes across a man whom he recognizes has been around this pool for quite awhile and he stops to heal him. John uses this story as a reminder to his readers that Jesus is the festival; Jesus is the pool; Jesus is the slight hope we have to experience the activity of God.
As I studied this passage, here are some things that stuck out to me:
1. God is Compassionate: There is no doubt that there was no reason for Jesus to be at this landmark, and yet he comes and sees a multitude of people who are enduring suffering and in need of hope. Moved by this scene he speaks to a man who wasn’t spoken to. We know this because he states that he has no one to help him get into the pool. It is why he has been laying there for so long. Jesus looks at the man and doesn’t just become his friend, but his healer. He invites the man to pick up the mat he was fated to lay on forever, put it on his shoulder, and walk.
2. God is Purposeful: It’s important to recognize that when Jesus approached the pool, there was, in fact, a great multitude surrounding it, yet he chooses only one person to heal. He could have healed everyone, but the outcome of such a miraculous event may have lead to an end he didn’t desire. He knew he had to make his way to the cross, and to do so he had to follow the path his Father had for him. By freeing them from their temporary state of suffering, Jesus would have forfeited having to embrace the infinite measure of his own. By Jesus saying no to them now, meant he could say yes to them eternally later.
Father, as we continue to seek you through your word, we pray we would have a proper understanding of your character.
For those enduring suffering, I pray for the hope to know you have the power to heal us, and the peace to know if you don’t it is for your good purposes.
For those who desire to bring your healing, I pray for the boldness to approach those in need, and the wisdom to know whom those individuals are.