For while we were yet weak, in due season Christ died for the ungodly. Rom. 5,6



John 5:1-15

   1 After these things there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes. 3 In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, waiting for the moving of the waters; 4 for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted. 5 A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, "Do you wish to get well?" 7 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." 8 Jesus said to him, "Get up, pick up your pallet and walk." 9 Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk. Now it was the Sabbath on that day. 10 So the Jews were saying to the man who was cured, "It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet." 11 But he answered them, "He who made me well was the one who said to me, 'Pick up your pallet and walk.'" 12 They asked him, "Who is the man who said to you, 'Pick up your pallet and walk'?" 13 But the man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away while there was a crowd in that place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, "Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you." 15 The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well."

   Bethesda, a dam of hope in this world for the most miserable. A testimony that it could be found a healing power in the existence, which was stronger than the destructive. And it says straight out: "- for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water" - not that it was just something they believed in, but that it actually happened. (v.4). Why God let this happen, remains as a mystery to us, but as mentioned it was a testimony about a power which conquered the evil, the miserable surrounded themselves around this power - those who saw and experienced their need of it.

   They had their only hope of a condition free of pain, need and degradation attached to this certain water - and not just the water in itself, but to the Lords angel who touched it.

   Otherwise the water was like every other water. Like it is with the Christening water - without the Word (The Lord) (John 1:1) who touches it, it is only like any other water, but when He touches it - is in it - it has a healing, which means a complete healing power, in it.

   But what the wonder at the dam of Bethesda was concerned, it was a lot up to the miserable himself, how the outcome would be. The healing was at hand - given freely and without the persons esteem, but only those whom by human power - ones own or others - could get themselves fast enough to the water would receive it.

   Jesus came there - He who has been given for atonement - and wit that healing - for all the worlds sin. He stands next to the most miserable of the miserable - one who lied there and hoped for the power in the water, but also knew with himself that he was without assumption to fulfill the necessary demands. There Jesus stopped.
   Jesus knew him - He knew his history, and knew that he had been sick for a long time (v.6). Jesus also knew that he himself was to blame for this decease. (v.14b). It seems like he had a decease that was related to his sinful life.
   At this man, Jesus stops, and asks the most odd question: "Do you wish to get well?" (v.6b). But by question Jesus wants to bring this hopeless mans situation evident to his own consciousness - so that he sees, and realizes, his own helplessness: If I shall be helped, someone has to interfere, because I have no assumption in myself. Just hear his sincere sigh of need in his answer: "Sir, I have no man....but while I am coming, another steps down before me." (v.7).
   Don't you recognize this from your own life? "Lord I have no man! - There is no way that this can be done for me with the human power - and when I am about to receive the healing, there is always something in the way" - because, "I cannot fulfill the terms!"
   There is always so much missing! "I can know that the healing is in the dam of Bethesda," I can long for it, and bear towards it, but how can I get in - me, so ill and completely without premises as I am?
   Then Jesus also stands by your side. - And listen to what He preaches unto you now!: "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness," (Rom. 4:5).
   But what does the (soul) sick person then? Yes, now he finally hear about the redeeming deed which is required of him: He has to believe, then he will be made well.
   Oh yes, how ill and blinded we are! No, hear about whom He preaches to you! "He who justifies the ungodly." "This is how God is," He says. - And as it starts to dawn on you - then you will have the justifying faith - which is having faith in Him who justifies the ungodly who does not have deeds - and who also does not justify you because of your faith, but because of Jesus, He whom you have faith in.
   Did not God give Jesus in your place before you believed? If you doubt the answer, listen to the Lords own answer: "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly." (Rom. 5:6).
   Jesus quite simply asks: "Do you wish to get well?" - And what does the man do? - Yes, he starts to talk about his hopeless situation. He could have answered as simple as Jesus asked him: "Yes, Lord!"
   But he had still his eyes fixed on the place which required his own premises, and therefore he did not see Him clearly who "has come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10).
   And this is exactly the lost condition and position: Ill, under Gods judgment for his sins sake, without any assumption in himself to improve his situation, but on the contrary, all movement just worsens the situation, and outlines the misery in the situation even clearer for oneself.

   "Do you wish to get well?" Jesus asked. What do you answer?
   "Jesus said to him, "Get up, pick up your pallet and walk." Immediately the man became well." (v.8-9).
   But the same should not count for you as well here and now? Can I do the same concerning my salvation? Haven't you heard the Word? What about the two quotations you just read in the letter to the Romans? And hear the testimony of John: "And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world." (1 John 2:2). Are you not included here too? - And, isn't also your sin included here? Yes, but then it has already happened! Yes but listen! - First of all I am more ill (more evil) then anybody can grasp - and second of all, do I not have to receive a specific word?

   Yes, both thing are true, and the Scriptures answer is that, first of all, it is not the well people who need a doctor, but those who are suffering (Matthew 9:12), and second of all: Have you not received a specific word now?
   If that is the case, read Rom.4:5 and 5:6 and 1 John 2:2 again and Wake up! Start thanking God for this, because it is impossible that the Word of God can lie!
   This Jesus Christ healing shouts out to the whole world, but the world answers: "We are not ill! At least not so ill that we have to be healed by grace alone."

   You who read this, do you belong among these well people, or some what well, in secret or in the open - then forget Gods salvation and totally go for your own - because there is not anything both - and in the kingdom of God, but only either - or!

   He came to seek and to save that which was lost. It is you the Word (Jesus) has searched to reach through this, what we just have shared.

   At last, let us just stop for a moment, for the mind that filled the "well" people in the congregation, as v.10 expresses. - And this mind comes even clearer to the surface in the verse in our passage: "For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath." (v.16).
   This is always the "well" peoples mind. - Behind all alms, mission eagerness, goodness, god fear, devotion, spirituality etc. Remember that!

   Notice this: This man did not get healed because of his faith! He did not even know who Jesus was. And he was obviously someone who lived in and loved sin! Jesus word to him and his whole attitude shows this.
   This shows how superior it all depends on Jesus (Gods) grace! The Lord is the God of the wretched! (Ps. 68:11)


Holy Bible New American Standard Version
Translator: Benedicte Holtan Smart