John 5:1-9 (ESVST)
1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
By “after this” refers to after Jesus had healed the official’s son from Capernaum. You will remember that the last act Jesus did in chapter 4 was to heal this official’s son while he was in Cana in Galilee.
2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades.
A reference to the gate identified in Neh. 3:1 32 12:39. It was a small opening in the north wall of the city, just west of the northeast corner. Although scholars do not agree on the site of Bethesda (or its exact spelling), the site most scholars currently favor is under St. Anne’s Monastery in Jerusalem. This site had two twin pools, surrounded by four porches, or porticoes, and one porch down the middle separating the pools. Although John writes after Jerusalem was destroyed in 70, his recollection of the site is accurate.
3 In these lay a multitude of invalids — blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty- eight years.
The word invalids is a Greek word “astheneo” which means to be weak or sick or impotent or to have disease.
g0770. ασθενεω astheneo; from 772; to be feeble (in any sense):— be diseased, impotent folk (man), (be) sick, (be, be made) weak.
AV (36)- be weak 12, be sick 10, sick 7, weak 3, impotent man 1, be diseased 1, be made weak 1;
to be weak, feeble, to be without strength, powerless to be weak in means, needy, poor to be feeble, sick
So, near this pool, you had the invalids or people who were sick, some who were blind, lame and paralyzed. Now, there was one man who was sick for 38 years.
NOTE: there is no verse 4! Only verse 1-3 and then verse 5. Some manuscripts include this verse and some don’t. According to the omitted text, verse 3-4 would look something like this if the text was included
In these lay a multitude of invalids — blind, lame, and paralyzed waiting for the moving of the water; 4 for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and stirred the water:whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was healed of whatever disease he had
This additional text may not be original but was probably added early by a scribe familiar with the tradition of healing at Bethesda; it explains the otherwise enigmatic verse 7.
6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” 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 going another steps down before me.”
As indicated earlier in John’s gospel, Jesus knows what is in man, he knew that this man had been waiting there for a long time. Jesus then asked him if he wanted to be healed. The man then said, he had no one to put him in the pool when the water was stirred up. Now the reason for the water to be stirred up is explained in the omitted verse 4. According this verse, an angel from The Lord came down at certain times and stirred the water and whoever went into the water first after the stirring, was healed. So, the sick man had no one to put him in the water immediately after the stirring. This would indicate that the man was paralyzed. The sick man told Jesus that each time he tries to go into the water, someone else went in first.
8 Jesus said to him, “ Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.
Now that day was the Sabbath.
Jesus then told the man to pick up his bed and walk. The man was immediately healed and he picked up his bed and walked. Now, the words “and walked” might be the indicator that the man could not walk, maybe meaning that he was paralyzed. The word paralyzed was also mentioned in verse 3. Now, when all this was happening, it was on a Sabbath. The Sabbath was a day made holy by God and was to be remembered as part of the Ten Commandments.
Exodus 20:8-11 (ESVST)
“ Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Why is this important? We will see next time.
Father thank you for your words and let these words dwell in our hearts so that we may know you in Jesus name, amen.