Devotion on John

30 Apr
This will be a short encouragement on John 5:1-15

1Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 2Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3Here a great number of disabled people used to lie — the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

7″Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

8Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”

11But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ “

12So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”

13The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.

14Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 15The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

Many of us would have read the story of the healing of the paralyzed man at the pool but do we really understand the spiritual miracle behind this physical miracle?

There are three parts of this story that I want to share:

1) God heals
2) God commands
3) God gives new life

The first thing that we note here is the compassion of the Lord. This would have been a helpless man. He had no friends, no family no one was willing to help him. This pool that is talked about would have been a well known pool where many sick people would be gathered. The disabled or invalid people would go into the water and be healed. (Note: verse 4 which is missing but is found on the footnotes of your bible says From time to time an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters. The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease he had.”

So this guy that the bible talks about caught the Lord’s eye; out of all the sick people there Jesus chose to heal Him. The Lord was aware of his helplessness and hopelessness. Jesus saw how this man’s sickness made it impossible for him to go into the water to be healed.

Bringing the first principle: Jesus chooses who and when he wants to heal, and only then will you be healed.

So how do we adapt this principle into its spiritual meaning? Are you spiritually “broken” or sick? How and what do you think Jesus is trying to heal you spiritually from?

The next thing is the conversation between this man and Jesus. Jesus asks the man: “Do you want to get well?”

When Jesus asks a question He demands a response from us. What is our first response to Jesus’ commands?

The man replies “Sir, I have no one…”. The man responds in self-pity. This is the response that many of us give God when He commands us to do something. We ask God how we can serve Him and He says serve me in this ministry? And we respond, Oh, but I’m not good enough. Or He says share the gospel with this person? Oh, but I’m by myself and no one will help me. It’s like so many of our responses to God. We should be instead challenged to act upon His commands in faith.

Jesus came to the world to restore the sick, restore those who will respond to His call.Jesus then gives 3 commands to the man: 1. Get up. 2. Pick up your mat. 3. And Walk.

Giving the next principle: God’s commands always calls for obedience.

The first part of the command was for the man to get up from his self-pity and helpless and desperate state. Similar to us, we should not dwell on our downs, our sinfulness.

The second part of the command was to pick up his mat giving. Because of his paralyzed state, someone else would probably always have to pick up his mat for him. But Jesus gives him a responsibility of this mat. He says don’t just get up but pick up your mat take your responsibilities with you as well. Similarly, what we can take from this is that we should accept our circumstances our situations and carry them because of the Lord’s strength that has been imparted to us to do.

The last part of the command was for him to walk. In order for the man to move away from his self-pitied self state he would have to walk away. Go to a new place to start again. What we can gather from that is once we have responded to the call, we need to move away from where we had been in the past, spiritually dead to a new life.

Ask yourself, what is your first response to Jesus’ commands?

The last part talks about the man’s life post-healing. This refers to both the physical healing and the spiritual healing through Jesus. There are a few things that show a changed life for this man. The man knew he was well (complete, whole). He ran into opposition immediately.There was still so much about Jesus he didn’t know. The man was giving thanks to God in the temple. The man was ordered to stop sinning. And finally the man went to witness to others about Jesus.

We should take the similar new change in life after our spiritual healing.

We must know that we are complete and well in the Lord. You also will run into opposition immediately. Your knowledge about Jesus will not be complete but you must know you need to continue to learn about Him and grow in knowledge and righteousness. Give thanks to the Lord; we should be in His temple praising Him with His people. Jesus commands us to stop from sinning being controlled by the world but be controlled by the Spirit. And lastly, we should go out to witness about the compassion that we have received from the Lord.

The last principle to get from this is: A new life in Jesus calls for a new attitude and lifestyle.

How are your actions, attitudes, beliefs and lifestyle show that you are a new man/woman in the Lord?

So in conclusion, hopefully we can just briefly understand the spiritual meaning behind this physical miracle of the healing of the paralyzed man at the pool. From the passage, we have seen that God heals us from our sickness and makes us complete. God commands us into a new life. And finally God gives us a new life in Him.

Firstly, are we seeking God daily? Only then can we ask ourselves how are we experiencing God daily to build us to an intimate personal relationship with God?

Deborah Heah


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