Last week’s article presented the healing of a paralyzed man lying by the pool of Bethsaida. Several important facts should be noted in the passage that gives this account … “After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be made well?" The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me." Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk." And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked” (John 5:1-9 NKJV).
Apparently this act of healing occurred in the early part of Jesus’ ministry though John does not attempt to give a chronology of events. It should be noted first that Jesus observed the worship rituals required in the Mosaic Law. Many today seek to present Him as a revolutionary or rebel but that is erroneous. Both testaments of Scripture repudiate any thought of His rejection of authority. The psalmist prophesied that He would say … “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart" (Ps. 40:7-8 NKJV) and the writer of Hebrews affirms the fulfillment of that prophetic statement … “Then I said, 'Behold, I have come — In the volume of the book it is written of Me — to do Your will, O God” (Heb. 10:7 NKJV).
Note secondly, that this paralyzed man was in a helpless condition for the past thirty-eight years. The exact cause of his illness is not given but the text clearly indicates that he was totally unable to remedy his condition. What a picture John gives us of the human race in recounting this incident. No one could or would help him except one Person and that was the One who was speaking to Him. Interesting that though many were present lying by the pool, only one individual was addressed by our Lord. All the others had their eyes on the water as had this man for perhaps many years.
But on the day that Jesus came by, he responded to a simple question asked him by someone who was a stranger to him – “do you want to be made well?” Why would he ignore the gracious offer extended to Him by the Great Physician? Like the woman who asked Jesus … “Where can you get this living water” (John 4:11b NIV)? Both of these individuals did not know who Jesus was at that point, yet there was a willingness to believe that this Man could meet their need. Indeed He would, with physical healing but more importantly with spiritual healing.
The good news given the paralytic would not be limited to just a select few or just the nation Israel. It would be extended to the entire human race. Isaiah centuries earlier had extended God’s grace offer to the nation … "Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come; buy wine and milk without money and without price…. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live” (Isa 55:1, 3 NKJV). "Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins" (Acts 10:43 NASB).