Discover more from Read-Aloud Theology
The Message of John (Lesson 12)
A Miracle by the Pool | John 5:8
Then Jesus told him, “Get up, pick up your mat, and walk.”
In John 5, Jesus heals a man who’d been unable to walk for thirty-eight years.
The story begins with the invalid lying beside the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem. According to Jewish tradition, this pool was believed to have healing properties and was a popular place for those seeking a cure for their physical ailments.
One day, Jesus arrived at the pool and saw the disabled man lying there. Jesus asked him if he wanted to be healed but the invalid replied that, since he had no one to help him into the pool, he was unable to be healed.
Aren’t we like that? We, too, think our healing, whether physical or spiritual, is dependent upon what we can do. But Jesus shows us that all we need is him. He is able to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves.
Without giving the invalid a lecture on human inability, Jesus simply tells the man, “Get up, pick up your mat, and walk.”
And he does!
This healing is significant for a number of reasons. First, it demonstrates Jesus' power over illness and disease, which was one of the most pressing concerns of the people of that time. They didn’t have hospitals or urgent care clinics. By healing the invalid, Jesus showed that he had the power to restore the physical body and bring hope to the suffering.
In healing the man at the pool, Jesus revealed himself as far more than merely a good man, a gifted teacher, or even a healer. Jesus revealed himself as God.
Second, the healing of the invalid is an example of Jesus' compassion and concern for the marginalized. Despite the crowds of people, Jesus took the time to identify and approach an invalid and offer him healing. Over and over, we see Jesus drawn to people who have needs and problems they cannot fix themselves.
This leads to the third reason why this healing is significant. It points to a greater healing, as the invalid's physical ailment represented a deeper spiritual ailment we all share.
While physical needs are important to address, our most fundamental and consequential need is spiritual. Just as the man was physically lame, we are spiritually lame. We need to be restored to a right relationship with God by having our sins forgiven.
That is the ultimate healing we all need.
It’s a restoration that takes place not by a pool but upon a cross, where Jesus takes on the sickness of our sin to make us well, so we, too, may get up and walk in newness of life as we live by faith in his redemptive work for us as our sin-substitute.
What are ways we act like the invalid, thinking we must do something on our own, and get frustrated and discouraged?
In what ways does this healing demonstrate Jesus' compassion and concern for the sick and marginalized?
How does the healing of the invalid demonstrate that Jesus is not just a good man or a gifted teacher, but revealed himself as God?
How does the invalid's physical ailment represent a deeper spiritual need?
How does the restoration of our relationship with God take place, and what role does the cross play in this process?
A Suggested Prayer
Dear Father in heaven,
Thank you for being the God who initiates grace to those in need, especially for Jesus enduring the cross for our sins to reconcile us to you as our Father. Help us to live with a growing awareness of your compassion toward us and power for us in our times of need, whether the need is physical or spiritual. You care about it all and are with us in it all. Thank you for being our faithful Father
For we pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
The next collections in the hopper include Theology 101 and a complete Bible Overview.
🔓 This will unlock ALL the lessons and bonus resources. And you’ll receive new lessons every week.
🛑 You may easily cancel at any time.
🌟 When you subscribe, you’ll receive a welcome video that explains how to use the site and a link to two free, bonus resources (see below). Or just go to the Help Desk.
My deep desire is for these lessons to help your family come alive to the wonder, beauty, and transforming power of God’s grace in the crucified, risen, and reigning Jesus. 🙏
Yours, by grace alone,