BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday January 26, 2014
THE POWER TO HEAL
(Blessing those who live with a physical need)
After JESUS left Galilee, HE returned to Jerusalem to attend an “unnamed” Jewish feast. Just to the north of the temple area, near the “Sheep Gate” was a “double pool” (two pools side by side) called the “Pool of Bethesda”. The pool had five covered porches, where the sick, blind, lame, and paralyzed people would come and lay awaiting to be healed by the water.
In those days, the people “superstitiously” believed that, periodically, an angel would come down from Heaven and stir the water, and afterwards, the first person entering the pool would be healed of their physical afflictions. This event, mentioned in John 5:3b-4 is not found in any existing Greek manuscript dated before A.D. 400. In fact, nowhere in the Bible is this kind of superstition taught, as this verse presents to us, the picture of an act of cruelty by GOD against the sick and the afflicted. It is believed that this verse was added long after John wrote his Gospel, in order to enlighten the reader as to why the sick and afflicted where assembling by the pool on this occasion. Most modern versions of scripture, including the NIV, and NLT understandably omit this verse.
Anyway, there was a certain man lying on a mat on one of the porches, who had been suffering from an unnamed infirmity, for thirty-eight years. When JESUS saw the man, HE knew exactly how long he had been ailing. HE asked the man, “Do you want to get well?” The man confirms his own superstition, by replying that he was unable to get to the pool first, because of his condition, and since there was no one to help him, he kept getting beat to the water by others all those years. In other words, he felt like his own physical condition prevented him from being able to get help from GOD, to better his physical condition. It is a sad commentary as to how living a superstitious life can hinder a person from GOD’s blessings. Even today we have our own modern-day superstitions, such as horoscopes, magic eight balls, black-eyed peas kept in our pocket, or eaten on New Year’s Day for good luck, seven years bad luck for breaking a mirror, or “send this e-mail to ten people and you will be blessed”, etc.
Here in this passage, John 5:1-15, JESUS uses this occasion to dispel all such superstition, and HE also sought to put an end to any concept of a superstitious worship of GOD, or mixing the blessings of GOD, with the satanic beliefs of the occult. This passage is also unique, in the sense that, here we see JESUS healing a person who had not exhibited any prior faith in HIM. Here HE simply instructs the man to “Pick up your bed and start walking”.
Here we see GOD working directly in, and through, HIS “word of command”. JESUS is showing here that HIS power is not mere “superstition”, but rather, it is “supernatural”. This is a case where the long “atrophied muscles” of a lame man were clearly and instantly made operable. This was the third public miracle that JESUS performed, as a sign that the MESSIAH had come, and that, indeed, HE, HIMSELF, is, the long-awaited MESSIAH.
As I said earlier, the lame man in this passage had never previously shown any faith in GOD, but rather, he had spent a lifetime viewing GOD in a cruel and superstitious manner. This passage of Scripture, perhaps shows us more clearly than any other, that, just as quickly as our faith and trust in GOD changes for the better, so can the quality of our lives go from being poor and helpless, to being rich, vibrant, and strong.
GOD, can and will bless others, through believers, just like the lame man was healed and blessed through JESUS that day at the Pool of Bethesda. We only have to trust and have faith in an all-powerful GOD, WHO can deliver us into all eternity. And as Christians, we should be able to use the power of the HOLY SPIRIT in us, to bless those who are in “human need”, just as JESUS CHRIST did, and just as HE commands us to do also.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website