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John 5:1 Healing at Bethesda

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Healing at Bethesda

At the pool called Bethesda Jesus healed a man who had been sick for 38 years. The healing was done on the Sabbath which was against the Jewish law.

This is a Bible Study. Have your own Bible handy to look up the references mentioned.

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John 5:1-18

1. Jesus was going to Jerusalem to an unnamed feast.

2. “The pool is situated near the northeast corner of the Old City, close to the Sheep Gate (Nehemiah 3:1; 12:39).” (Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. [Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004], 304)

“The name of the pool was Bethesda which means, ‘house of olives’ or ‘house of mercy. It had five porches. (McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV: [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983], 394)

“The story of Jesus’ healing at the pool of Bethesda highlight the beginning of open hostility toward Him in the southern parts of Palestine.” (MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Bible Commentary. [Nashville, Thomas Nelson Inc., 2005], 1367)

3. “It was a custom at that time for people with infirmities to gather at this pool. Intermittent springs may have fed the pool and caused the disturbance of the water (v. 7).” (MacArthur, 1368)

Earliest Manuscripts

3b. “The statement in the latter half of verse 3, ‘waiting for the moving of the water,’ along with verse 4 are not original to the Gospel. The earliest and best Greek manuscripts, as well as the early versions, exclude the reading.” (MacArthur, 1368)

“I do think we should heed scholarship—fundamental, conservative scholarship which suggests that because it is not in the better manuscripts, it was put in by a scribe as a word of explanation. I believe it is factual and it helps me understand why this crowd of important folk were here.” (McGee, 394)

4. “This is the explanation of why they were there. The belief was that an angel stirred the water at a certain season.” (McGee, 394)

Waiting at Bethesda

5. Thirty-eight years. “John included this figure to emphasize the gravity of the debilitating disease that afflicted the individual. Since his sickness had been witnessed by many people for almost four decades, when Jesus cured him everyone knew the genuineness of the healing (cf. v. 9).” (MacArthur, 1368)

“Spiritually speaking, Israel was a nation of impotent people, waiting hopelessly for something to happen.” (Wiersbe, 304)

6. “Jesus knew about the man (see John 2:23-24) and asked him if he wanted to be healed.” (Wiersbe, 304)

7. The man “began to give excuses! He had been in that sad condition for so long that his will was as paralyzed as this body. But if you compare John 5:6 with verse 40, you will see that Jesus had a spiritual lesson in mind as well. Indeed, this man did illustrate the tragic spiritual state of the nation.” (Wiersbe, 304)

8-9. “The Lord healed him through the power of His spoken word. He commanded the man to do the very thing he was unable to do, but in His command was the power of fulfillment (see Mark 3:5; Hebrews 4:12).” (Wiersbe, 304)

Saturday the Sabbath

9-10. “This was no accident—Jesus did not just forget it was Saturday. He was not ignorant of the provision that the rabbis had added to God’s Sabbath law: ‘whoever on the Sabbath brings anything in or takes anything out from a public place to a private one, if he has done this inadvertently, he shall sacrifice for his sins; but if willingly, he shall be cut off and shall be stoned.’ The scribes had come up with thirty-nine tasks prohibited on the Sabbath.” [Max Anders and Kenneth O. Gangel (2012). HNTC Vol. 04: John. B&H Publishing Group. Retrieved from]

“The opponents of Jesus, here designated purposely as ‘the Jews,’ pounced on the helpless man who had just experienced the incredible joy of entering the promised land of a new existence.” (Borchert, Gerald L., The New American Commentary Volume 25A, John 1-11. [Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002], 234)

“The Jews in this story were not interested in the well-being of people but merely in their rules and traditions.” (Borchert, 234)

11. “The confused man had been caught in the very act of breaking the rules of the rabbis and did not know how to deal with his problem. So he sought for a quick defense by blaming the healer, even though he did not know who he was.” (Borchert, 234)

12-13. The healed man did not know who healed him.

14. When Jesus found him, He told him to sin no more.

“The basic thrust of Jesus’ comments here indicates that sin has its inevitable consequences (cf. Galatians 6:6-8). Although Scripture makes clear that not all disease is a consequence of sin (cf. 9:1-3; Luke 13:1-5), illness at times may be directly tied into one’s moral condition (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:29-30; James 5:15).” (MacArthur, 1369)

Persecute Jesus

15.” It seems strange that the man did not actively seeks a closer relationship with the One who healed him, but more than one person has gratefully accepted the gift and ignored the Giver.” (Wiersbe, 305)

“It is possible to experience an exciting miracle and still not be saved and go to heaven!” (Wiersbe, 305)

16. “When they confronted Jesus with His unlawful conduct, He simply replied that He was doing only what His father was doing!” (Wiersbe, 305)

17. “When Jesus said ‘my Father’ instead of the usual ‘our Father,’ used by the Jews, He claimed to be equal with God.” (Wiersbe, 305)

18. “The Jewish leaders instantly understood His claim, and they changed their accusation from that of Sabbath-breaking to blasphemy, because Jesus claimed to be God.” (Wiersbe, 305)

Have you been healed. Do you have a relationship with Jesus?


Amplified Bible (AMP)
Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.

New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

In this article Scripture quotations taken from KJV.

Borchert, Gerald L., The New American Commentary Volume 25A, John 1-11. Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002
Max Anders and Kenneth O. Gangel (2012). HNTC Vol. 04: John. B&H Publishing Group. Retrieved from
McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV: Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983
MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Nashville, Thomas Nelson Inc., 2005
Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004

The Harvest                                                                                                   The Son


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