5:1 After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
5:2 Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes.
5:3 In these lay many invalids–blind, lame, and paralyzed.
5:5 One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
5:6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”
5:7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.”
5:8 Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.”
5:9 At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. Now that day was a sabbath.
This miracle that Jesus performed gives us deep spiritual truths into how ugly sin looks. Looking at this man’s physical condition, we see how he was paralyzed for thirty-eight years. This man spent most of his life in a condition where he depended on others to care for him and provide for him. He had no control over how his day-to-day life would go but only to hope that others would look on him with enough pity to provide food, money or the attempt to bring healing by lowering him into the pool which was believed to give some sort of physical healing.
The truth of the matter is, this man was in need of more then just physical healing. His spiritual condition was crippling in terms of his faith in God and how he viewed his life. He put his hope in others and other things to make him well.
Christ’s words to him were motivated to strike at his heart and to bring true conviction that we too can become paralyzed in our own sin. We can become so lost and trapped in our own desires and things that cause us to take our eyes off God and on temporary pleasures that will only lead to hopelessness and emptiness.
This passage points out that there were those who were blind, lame and paralyzed. Our own sin can also cause to be blind to God’s truth and the love that can set us free and open our eyes to how much need we are of a Savior.
Just like this paralyzed man, we cannot save or heal ourselves. It is only done by God’s Holy Spirit moving and convicting us of our sin. God says the same words that He said to this man “stand up, take up your mat, and walk”. Meaning stand up, walk away from your sin, and walk into the arms of the one who loves and cares for you.
No one bucks the norm quite as well as Jesus. This poor guy was society’s outcast. They did not regard him even enough to let him get in the pool so he can seek healing. The disregard society had for the lame and maimed was simply out of control in Jesus’ day. So what does Jesus do? He makes this man his primary focus. It’s just like Jesus to place his attention on some society wanted to throw out.
He then goes on to heal him…… on the Sabbath. That was a big problem for the religious leaders of the day. That was something Jesus got attacked for already (Mark3:1-6). But this is why we love Jesus. It’s His concern for all men and women that sets Him apart.
As Christians we also need to concern ourselves with those in need. That is not to say that we need to go around healing people (although, if we could we should) but to say that we need to take care of the most vulnerable people in society.
Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God (Proverbs 14:31)
For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land. (Deuteronomy 15:11)
[Featured image from www.tworiversblog.com]