“When Jesus saw him lie and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, He said unto him, ‘Will you be made whole’?”
Following Christ and seeing Him work always involves a crisis of faith.
We can almost see and hear the suffering throng that surrounded the Pool of Bethseda that day as Jesus threaded His way through them to the one who’d likely been there the longest (vv.5-6). The pool’s name itself meant “House of Grace” and was located in the northeastern part of Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate. Most scholars believe it was around 55’ long and built over an underground stream that occasionally shot a stream of water upward much like a geyser will periodically do.
Regardless, it was definitely a place of suffering and hoped-for healing.
It’s easy for us to view the multitudes’ beliefs about “an angel troubling the water and the first one in being healed” (v.4) as superstition. The same is true today when we see faith healers supposedly driving the demons out of folks in a crusade or miraculously healing them of some malady of body, mind or emotions. But, there must have been something going on there through the years or the folks wouldn’t have kept coming to the pool.
How easily we forget the Lord God can do anything He want anytime He pleases.
He constantly reminds us that He is God and we’re not (Is. 55:8-9) and we need to be careful to reducing Him to some mystical (or is that magical) formula where we virtually command Him to act by crying “In the Name of Jesus” or some other phrase. Woe to those who think they can!
Yet, Jesus didn’t come to the pool that day to debate theology. He came there for one specific purpose: To heal the one who’d been there the longest.
The Scriptures are clear when they said “When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he’d been that way for a long time.” How did He know? Did He ask someone? Or did He simply rely upon His omniscience to know who the man was and what He needed?
We know the answer, don’t we?
Like Zacchaeus up the sycamore tree (Lk. 19:1-10), Jesus knows everything about us and our deepest need before we ever meet Him. And, He knew the 38-year-long resident of the Pool of Bethseda needed that question asked of him—“Will you be made whole?”—for He knew the man’s life was one excuse after another and he needed to grapple (in faith) with whether or not he truly wanted a change in his life. How easy it is to throw pity parties instead of “taking up our bed and walking” (v.8).
Dear Pilgrim, what’s preventing you from being all God wants you to be? What “stronghold” is there in your life that seems insurmountable and unable to be torn down? Could it be you’re holding onto it too much and are afraid to trust Jesus to help you tear it down (II Cor. 10:3-5)? Faith is taking God at His Word (Heb. 11:1) and requires obedience. Truly, the man was at a “crisis of faith” that day when Jesus asked, “Will you be made whole?” And, thankfully He trusted Jesus, stood up and walked (v.9). The question is, “Will we do the same?”
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated October 27, 2009