Daily Devotionals for Families

Day 59 - Jesus Heals a Lame Man at the Pool of Bethesda
John 5:1-15

Praise God for what Jesus did for this lame man at the pool of Bethesda! He had been suffering for thirty-eight years from his sickness, and perhaps had been unable to walk all that time. But he still had hope of being healed. He'd heard that an angel of the Lord would occasionally stir the waters at the pool of Bethesda. Afterwards, whoever stepped into the water first was healed of whatever ailed him. So the lame man joined many other sick people who sat around the pool each day, watching and waiting for the troubling of the waters. He had been present a number of times when the waters were previously stirred, but others who had more mobility reached the water before he did. So he kept on waiting for another opportunity, and hoped that the next time the waters were stirred, someone would care enough to help him be the first to get in.

Angels, of course, don't work independently of the Lord, and so we can be sure that the only time an angel stirred the Bethesda waters was when God sent him. So why didn't God send an angel every five minutes to stir the water so that everyone could be healed? Can we conclude from this story that it wasn't God's will for everyone there to be healed?

Actually, all the sick people at Bethesda could have been healed without ever stepping into the pool of Bethesda, because God promised health for every obedient Israelite in His covenant with them. God said in Exodus 23:25 (NASB), "But you shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread and your water; and I will remove sickness from your midst." In Deuteronomy 7:12-15, God promised the Israelites that, if they obeyed Him faithfully, He would remove all sickness from them. If any of the sick people at Bethesda had believed what God had promised, acting in faith, they would have been healed. Even if they had been disobedient to the Lord, thus not meeting the conditions of their covenant with God, they could have repented, received forgiveness, and then received healing. Anyone who disagrees with that is saying that God is a liar, and that His promises can't be trusted. It's true: He promised health to obedient Israelites!

By occasionally sending an angel to stir the waters of the pool of Bethesda, perhaps God was also trying to stir up His people by way of reminder that He was still in the healing business. Every time someone was healed, God was sending a message to all Israel that He'd spoken centuries earlier to their ancestors: "I am the Lord who heals you" (Exodus 15:26). Surely God didn't want all those sick people waiting at the pool to think His mercy was limited, or that His love was greater for sick people who were more watchful and mobile than other sick people. Surely He wasn't trying to encourage a selfish competition that would make the majority of suffering people continual losers. No, the God whom the Bible says shows no partiality (see Deut. 10:17; Rom. 2:11; Gal. 2:6) wanted His covenant people to know that He was their healer. And He was not choosing to heal specific ones and choosing not to heal specific others, because anyone who got into the water first was healed. Individual responsibility was a factor.

The same God who occasionally sent an angel, sent His Son one day to the same pool. And just as when the angel visited, only one person was healed that day as well. Did Jesus want to convey to the sick people present that He loved only one person enough to heal him? No, like His Father, He was trying to show them that He had the power to heal them all, hoping that all would trust Him for their healing. Numerous times in the four Gospels, we can read about Jesus healing everyone who came to Him requesting healing. This healing at the pool of Bethesda was an advertisement for Jesus and an encouragement for the rest to trust Him and be healed. This healing should encourage us today, because the Bible says that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).

Q. Was this lame man at the pool of Bethesda healed through his faith?

A. No, this man, unlike so many others whom Jesus healed, was not healed through his faith. Here is the evidence: First, the man was not seeking Jesus, rather, Jesus found him. Second, Jesus said nothing to him about his faith healing him as He often did with others. And third, the lame man had no idea who Jesus was, even after he'd been healed. When he first conversed with Jesus, he wasn't looking to Him as someone who could heal him. In his mind, Jesus was no different than any other person present.

This healing, then, is an example of a "gift of healing" working through Jesus. Gifts of healings operate as the Holy Spirit wills (see 1 Cor. 12:11), and faith is not necessarily a requirement for the sick person to be healed. It is a sovereign act of God.

Q. Jesus later told the man He'd healed, "Stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you" (John 5:14). What can we learn from that statement?

A. We can learn that sin can lead to God's judgment. If the healed man didn't repent and quit sinning, there was the possibility that he might wind up worse than he previously was. God is a loving God, but He is also holy. He will punish evildoers. We must be careful, however, that we don't conclude that all sick people are being punished for their sins. Then we would be guilty of passing judgment.

Application: The people of the world often need signs from God to open their hearts to the gospel. Let's pray today that God would mercifully grant that more signs and wonders would be shown to the unbelieving world. Also that even people who have no faith would be healed, that more attention would be given to the good news of Jesus Christ.  

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You can navigate through the different days below:

Day 31 - New Clothes and New Wine

Day 32 - Jesus Heals on the Sabbath

Day 33 - Jesus Chooses Twelve Apostles

Day 34 - Jesus Describes His True Followers

Day 35 - Jesus Explains God's Standards of Holiness

Day 36 - Jesus Continues to Explain God's Standards of Holiness

Day 37 - Jesus Continues to Explain God's Standards of Holiness

Day 38 - Jesus Teaches About Material Possessions

Day 39 - Jesus Teaches about Being Critical of Others

Day 40 - Jesus Teaches About Persistence and Prayer

Day 41 - Jesus Summarizes His Sermon on the Mountainside

Day 42 - A Roman Soldier's Faith

Day 43 - Jesus Heals a Royal Official's Dying Son

Day 44 - Jesus Raises a Widow's Son From the Dead

Day 45 - John the Baptist Questions Jesus

Day 46 - A Forgiven Woman Shows Her Faith and Gratitude

Day 47 - A Few Good Women

Day 48 - Jesus is Accused of Working for the Devil

Day 49 - The Pharisees Request a Sign from Jesus

Day 50 - Jesus' Mother and Brothers

Day 51 - Jesus Tells a Story About Different Soils

Day 52 - Mustard Seeds and Satan's Weeds

Day 53 - Hidden Treasures, Priceless Pearls and Fishing Nets

Day 54 - Jesus Calms a Storm

Day 55 - Jesus Delivers a Demon-Possessed Man

Day 56 - Jesus Raises a Dead Girl and Heals a Sick Woman

Day 57 - The Blind and Mute are Healed

Day 58 - Jesus Finds Little Faith in His Hometown

Day 59 - Jesus Heals a Lame Man at the Pool of Bethesda

Day 60 - Jesus' Special Relationship with God the Father

Day 61 - Jesus Sends Out His Twelve Apostles

Day 62 - John the Baptist is Martyred

Day 63 - Jesus Multiplies Food for Five Thousand People

Day 64 - Jesus Walks on Water

Day 65 - Jesus Compares Himself with Food

Day 66 - Jesus Teaches About Inner Purity

Day 67 - A Gentile Woman Persists in Faith

Day 68 - Jesus Feeds Four Thousand

Day 69 - The Faith and Doubts of Jesus' Disciples

Day 70 - Jesus Foretells His Death, Resurrection and Glorification

Day 71 - Jesus Casts Out A Demon His Disciples Couldn't

Day 72 - Jesus Pays His and Peter's Temple Tax

Day 73 - Jesus Teaches His Disciples

Day 74 - The Value of Children

Day 75 - What To Do When a Fellow Christian Wrongs You

Day 76 - Jesus' Forbearance With Unbelievers and His Expectations of Believers

Day 77 - Demons Must Obey Christ's Followers

Day 78 - Jesus Invites Weary People to Rest

Day 79 - Jesus Teaches About Prayer

Day 80 - Jesus Criticizes the Religious Leaders

Day 81 - Jesus Warns Against Greed

Day 82 - Jesus Tells His Followers to be Ready for His Return

Day 83 - Jesus Warns People to Repent

Day 84 - Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman on the Sabbath

Day 85 - Jesus Teaches About the Narrow Door to Heaven

Day 86 - Jesus Teaches About Humility and Servanthood

Day 87 - A Feast For Everyone

Day 88 - The Cost of True Discipleship

Day 89 - God's Lost and Found

Day 90 - The Story of the Shrewd Money Manager

Day 91 - The Rich Man and Lazarus

Day 92 - Temptation, Sin, Forgiveness, Faith and Obedience

Day 93 - Jesus Cleanses Ten Lepers

Day 94 - Jesus Teaches About the Coming Kingdom

Day 95 - Jesus Encourages His Followers to Trust Him for Justice

Day 96 - The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Day 97 - The Unbelief of Jesus' Brothers and People of Jerusalem

Day 98 - Jesus Offers Living Water to Thirsty People

Day 99 - Jesus Shows Mercy to an Adulterous Woman

Day 100 - Jesus Makes Amazing Claims

Day 101 - Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind

Day 102 - Jesus Compares Himself to a Gate and a Good Shepherd

Day 103 - Jesus Teaches About Divorce and Remarriage

Day 104 - A Rich Young Man Rejects Jesus

Day 105 - The Parable of the Vineyard Workers

Day 106 - Jesus Claims to be One With the Father

Day 107 - Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead

Day 108 - The Greatest Servant Teaches About Serving

Day 109 - Jesus Heals a Blind Man Named Bartimaeus

Day 110 - Zacchaeus is Saved

Day 111 - The Parable of the Ten Servants

Day 112 - Jesus' Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem

Day 113 - Jesus Curses a Fig Tree and Clears the Temple

Day 114 - The Stories of the Two Sons and Evil Farmers

Day 115 - The Parable of the Wedding Guests

Day 116 - Jesus Answers Two Trick Questions

Day 117 - Jesus Answers and Asks a Difficult Question

Day 118 - The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Day 119 - Jesus Warns the Religious Leaders

Day 120 - A Poor But Generous Widow

Day 121 - Jesus Talks About Jerusalem's Destruction and the End Times

Day 122 - Jesus Exhorts Everyone to be Ready for His Return

Day 123 - Ten Bridesmaids and Three Servants

Day 124 - Jesus Talks About the Final Judgment

Day 125 - Jesus Talks Again About His Impending Death

Day 126 - Jesus Again Claims to be God

Day 127 - Jesus is Twice Anointed

Day 128 - The Last Supper

Day 129 - Jesus Washes His Disciples' Feet

Day 130 - Jesus Predicts Judas's Betrayal and Peter's Denial

Day 131 - Jesus Comforts His Disciples

Day 132 - We are Branches in Jesus' Vine

Day 133 - Jesus Warns His Disciples of the World's Hatred

Day 134 - Jesus' Final Words to His Disciples

Day 135 - Jesus Prays for His Disciples

Day 136 - Jesus is Arrested

Day 137 - Jesus' Trial Before the Jewish Council

Day 138 - Judas Commits Suicide

Day 139 - Jesus Stands Trial Before Pilate

Day 140 - Jesus' First Three Hours on the Cross

Day 141 - Jesus' Second Three Hours on the Cross and Death

Day 142 - Jesus' Burial

Day 143 - Jesus is Resurrected!

Day 144 - Jesus Appears to His Disciples

Day 145 - Jesus Appears to His Disciples in Galilee

Day 146 - Jesus' Final Words and Ascension to Heaven

Day 147 - Luke Summarizes Jesus' Final Days on Earth

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