The Healing of the Invalid

John 5: 1-16
Ez 47;1-9,12 / Psa 46

“Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”
(John 5:14)

As water is life, so is God’s Word
Healing me and nourishing my soul;
Steadfast is the promise of our Lord,
In our brokenness making us whole.

Later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now, by the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there is a pool called Bethesda, which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a big number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, He asked him, “Do you want to get well?” The invalid replied, “Sir, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.” But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ” So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?” The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd. Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jewish leaders Jesus had made him well. Since Jesus did these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute Him. (John 5:1-16)


The healing of the invalid by the pool of Bethesda is not found in the other Gospels. While the other evangelists may have glossed over this incident in the life of our Lord, John the beloved apostle narrated it to show the love and compassion of Jesus even for those not deserving of His mercy. The man was obviously a sinner, as Jesus told him, “Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” Instead of thanking his Healer, he even betrayed Him to the Jewish leaders. What a total jerk.

God comes to solve our problems, heals our infirmities, and reminds us not to fall into sin again, but for some unfortunate human weakness, we fail to show our gratitude and appreciation. “Get up! Pick up your mat, and walk,” Jesus tells us when we are down and despondent. But we are so overwhelmed by our trials or burdens, or feelings of helplessness, that we look to other options for a solution (“I have no one to help me into the pool…”), when all we have to do is ask God in prayer. “Do you want to get well?” He asks us. It’s really our choice. Unless we acknowledge our sinfulness and repent, we will remain “invalidated” by sin, and even God’s grace will not be enough to transform us and make us whole again.

Father God, You have shown us Your love and willingness to forgive our sins, and heal us of all iniquities that plague us, but weak as we are, we continue to fall because of our disobedient nature. Please forgive us, and change our hearts with Your gifts of faith and gratitude. We now acknowledge Your grace that covers all our sins. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

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