“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.” John 5:1-4
“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?” John 5:5-6
Jesus always offers a choice, even when to us, the choice sounds ridiculous (who wouldn’t want to be healed?) – but to this man, the question was particularly meaningful, as he had been unable, or not willing, to be the first into the pool for 38 years.
“Desire” – thelo in Greek – wanting what is best because someone is willing and ready to act, often used of the Lord extending his best offer to the believer – wanting to birth His persuasion (faith) in them which empowers
“Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bend and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. John 5:8-9
Jesus could’ve brought him to the pool to be healed in that way. However I think Jesus demonstrated here that He has the power to heal outside of existing agencies and methods. And that He encourages us with showing us all the ways people can be healed, and not follow past methods, specifically that it is He who heals, not the Method who heals.
“Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” John 5:14
Notice that Jesus didn’t mention the sin (of which he was fully aware) present in the man’s life at any point during the actual healing process. The healing was in and of itself an action conveying love, and also (being an action depending on the man’s choices), an act of decision-making and an expression of faith by the man (a deeper version of “Will you trust Me?”)
But that Jesus returned to him in order to make it clear to him the reason why he was sick for such a long time, and to encourage his future direction. This echoes Zachaeus’s story, where Jesus showed him honour by lunching at his house, with the result that Zach declared his response being to give back to those he had robbed.
“The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.” John 5:15
True transformation and faith impartation leads to a witnessing of that faith to others
So sin has far-reaching consequences
Sometimes we don’t want to be saved from an obvious fate
Jesus offers us the choice – do we desire, not just to be made physically well, but to grasp His persuasion of who He has created us to be?
We continue to walk with Him, showing Him honour, who honoured us first
And this becomes a natural outflow of witnessing to others.