11. At the pool of Bethesda
AFTER this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
At Jerusalem there is a pool, called Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay impotent folk: blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatever disease he had.
A certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him,
Wilt thou be made whole?
The impotent man answered, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him,
Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
Immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
¶The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.
He answered, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.
Then they asked him, What man is that? And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.
Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him,
Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. And the Jews sought to slay Jesus, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.
¶But Jesus answered them,
My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.
The Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. Then Jesus said unto them,
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.
For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.
For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son; that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father which hath sent him.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Verily, verily, I say unto you. The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.
¶There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true.
Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light: and we were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.
¶But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.
Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
I receive not honor from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?
Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?
Scripture: John 5:1-16
Meditation: 1 of 3
Is there anything holding you back from the Lord’s healing power and transforming grace? In the pool at Bethzatha we see an individual’s helplessness overcome by God’s mercy and power. On this occasion Jesus singles out an incurable invalid, helpless and hopeless for almost forty years. He awakens hope when he puts a probing question to the man, “Do you really want to be healed?” And he then orders him to “get up and walk!” God will not force our hand against our will. The first essential step towards growth and healing is the desire for change. If we are content to stay as we are, then no amount of coaxing will change us. The Lord manifests his power and saving grace towards those who desire transformation of life in Christ. The Lord approaches each of us with the same probing question: “Do you really want to be changed, to be set free from the power of sin, and to be transformed into my holiness?”
“Lord, put within my heart a burning desire to be changed and transformed into your holiness”.
Scripture: John 5:17-30
Meditation2 of 3:
God’s actions reveal his mercy and his justice. Do you recognize his action in your life, his saving grace and love, and the purifying fire of his Spirit who convicts us of sin and transforms us in his holiness? The religious authorities refused to accept Jesus’ authority to heal and to speak in the name of his heavenly Father. They charged Jesus as a “Sabbath-breaker” and as a “blasphemer”. They wanted to kill Jesus because he claimed the same authority and power as God. He claimed equality with God— something no mortal could say without blaspheming. Jesus answered their charge of breaking the Sabbath law by demonstrating God’s purpose for creation and redemption— to save and restore life. God’s love and mercy never ceases, even on the Sabbath. Jesus continues to show the Father’s mercy, even on the Sabbath day of rest. When they charged that Jesus was making himself equal with God, he replied that he was not acting independently of God because his relationship is that of a Father and Son relationship. If we wish to see how God reacts to sin and how he responds to our sinful condition, then we must look to Jesus. The mind of Jesus is the mind of God, and the words of Jesus are the words of God. Jesus also states that his identity to the Father is based on complete obedience. Jesus always did what his Father wanted him to do. His obedience was not based on submission or power, but on love. The unity between Jesus and the Father is a unity of love. We are called to submit our lives to God with the same love and obedience which Jesus demonstrated for his Father. Jesus states that to accept him is life and to reject him is death. Are you ready to follow the Lord and to leave behind whatever is false and contrary to his will?
“Lord, increase my love for you and unite my heart and will with yours, that I may only seek what is pleasing to you”.
Scripture: John 5:31-47
Meditation 3 of 3:
Do you know the joy of the gospel and a life fully submitted to Jesus Christ? Jesus’ opponents refused to accept his divine authority and claim to be the only Son from the Father. They hostilely demanded evidence for his Messianic claim and equality with God. Jesus answers their charges with the supporting evidence of witnesses. The Mosaic law had laid down the principle that the unsupported evidence of one person shall not prevail against a man for any crime or wrong in connection with any offence he committed (see Deuteronomy 17:6). At least two or three witnesses were needed. Jesus begins his defense by citing John the Baptist as a witness, since John publicly pointed to Jesus as the Messiah and had repeatedly borne witness to him (see John 1:19, 20, 26, 29, 35, 36). Jesus also asserts that a greater witness to his identity are the signs he performed. He cites his works, not to point to himself but to point to the power of God working in and through him. He cites God as his supreme witness. To those who carefully read the Old Testament, especially the books of Moses, they point to Jesus as the Messiah, the promised Savior. The problem with the scribes and Pharisees was that they did not believe what Moses had written. They desired the praise of their fellow humans and because of that they were unable to recognize and understand the word of God. Their pride made them deaf to God’s voice. God reveals himself to the lowly, to those who trust not in themselves, but in God. The Lord opens the ears of those who are eager to hear his voice and he fills their hearts and minds with his love and wisdom. Do you listen to God’s word with faith and trust?
“Lord, fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may listen to your word attentively and obey it joyfully.”