My wife and I have recently been discussing the account of Jesus and the man at the pool in John chapter five. She heard a message on it at a retreat she went on a few weeks ago. She asked me what my thoughts were. I told her that I have actually always been somewhat confused by the story. We decided to dig in together. One of the ways I like to do that is to look at historical commentaries. Sometimes they will lend clues. The only one I could find at the time was more confusing than the passage though. I also like to look at biblical commentaries. Many times these people have done the hard work for us. After reading a few I had a better sense of the story, but I have to say it is still not as clear as I would like it to be.
Here are some of the things I gleaned from our discussion and research.
- The man seemed intently focused on his circumstances. John 5:6 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.” I’m not saying he knew who Jesus was, the context of the scripture says the opposite. Jesus asked the man a direct question. Not to see if he believed in the power of God so much as to see if he was willing to be healed on the Sabbath. Of course he wanted to get better. That is why he was there in the first place. The man was concerned with logistics. Jesus was concerned with carrying out the plan of the father. We have all been there and done that.
- The man did not know who said, 8 “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” It is good practice to know these things when we are asked questions like…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who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?”13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place.
- The man needed to be reminded what got him in trouble in the first 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.” We are not told if one sin or a lifestyle of sin brought on his disability. We are reminded that once Jesus rescued him that proceeding down that path again would lead to problems greater than the last decades. Ouch…
Some things to take away.
- When Jesus offers to rescue you, just say yes.
- The way in which he rescues you may cause people to ask questions. God does this on purpose.
- Be prepared to give something up if that is the reason you find yourself in trouble.