Wednesday 05 July 2017

Bible Book:

“Do you want to be made well?” (v. 6)

John 5:1-18 Wednesday 5 July 2017

Psalm: Psalm 31:1-8



The scene of this incident has been excavated and the pool withits porticoes and steps down can still be seen. Verse 4, printed inthe margin in most modern Bibles, is not part of the original textbut was inserted in manuscripts at a later stage. But it probablypreserves the belief of the time, that when the surface of thewater was disturbed (by the bubbling of an intermittent spring?)one could be healed of a disability. But this man could never makeit in time.

Our passage falls into two parts, an account of the man'shealing (verses 1-9), and a description of the reaction (verses10-16). In the first part we see Jesus healing simply by his word,but, knowing that in John's Gospel Jesus' mighty works are alwayssigns pointing to the deeper significance of Jesus, we should seethis episode as an illustration of his life-giving power.

As elsewhere in John's Gospel, however, Jesus' actionimmediately provokes reaction that leads on to debate. We see thebeginnings of it in verses 10-16, and it continues throughout thechapter. "The Jews" is standard terminology in John's Gospel forthe official reaction to Jesus (he was himself a Jew of course, asalso was the man healed). It was explicitly forbidden to carry abed on the Sabbath. It is one of many examples of Jesus settingaside the law to respond immediately to human need.

Verse 14 is puzzling because elsewhere Jesus refuses toattribute suffering to sin (John9:3). Perhaps we should see in "nothing worse" a reference notto physical suffering but to the day of judgement.

To Ponder

  • To what extent is there still a danger that we may allowreligious principles to stand in the way of response to human need?Try to think of examples.
  • The healing at the pool has often been seen as a parable ofsalvation from sin. Explore what this might mean in your ownexperience.
  • Is there a danger that you may prefer to put up with somethingthat limits your potential rather than face the challenge ofchanging things? How might you rise to the challenge?
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