John 5:1–17 (ESV)
The Healing at the Pool on the Sabbath
After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades.
3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you
want to be healed?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.”
9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.
Now that day was the Sabbath. 10 So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is
not lawful for you to take up your bed.” 11 But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’ ” 12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and
walk’?” 13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse
may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. 16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working
until now, and I am working.”
Many will see this as a miracle healing of a disabled man. It’s not about him, but the issue is about healing on the Sabbath. This is what
is bothering the Jews. They have become so enamored with the law that they have lost compassion and the true heart of what the Sabbath is all about. The have become rigid in their thinking. If they saw their parents on fire, they probably
would not put it out because that would be deemed as work... at least starting a fire is wrong to the Jews on the Sabbath, just as carrying your bed. Jesus uses the man to draw attention to their lack of compassion and the issue of healing on the Sabbath.
Jesus begins by asking a rhetorical question... “Do you want to be healed?” This question doesn’t have to be asked, but Jesus is drawing the crowds attention to the man that has been an invalid for thirty-eight years. Jesus draws
their attention and then tells him to ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’ The man is healed, stands up and takes his bed and leaves. They could care less about what just happened to the man... the compassion... the healing. Their focus
is on Jesus violating the Sabbath law. Where is the compassion? Jesus did not break the Law of Moses, but their interpretation of the Law through traditions that had distorted the intent of the Sabbath. But they can’t see that.
They have become hyperlegalistic.
To show you that this was not about healing the man, but their interpretation of the Sabbath... Jesus did not ask if the man believed. The man didn’t even know who
healed him. He did not have faith, but through the grace of God... I bet he did afterwards. Jesus set the Jews up at the expense of healing an invalid man.
I pray: O Lord, help me to
operate out of love and compassion in how I treat others. Help me to not act hypocritical and contrary to your ways or your will. Let me honor your Law, but also help me to live by compassion and love. It is your grace that healed the invalid
and it is your grace that forgives me of my sins. Thank you Lord Jesus. Amen.