Wilt Thou Be?


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John 5:1-18 KJV “After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. {2} Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. {3} In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. {4} For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. {5} And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. {6} When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?

I was thinking about Heaven last Friday as I sought the Lord in prayer. I began to think about how people view Heaven. Several many years ago I watched Billy Graham appear on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Johnny loved to ask Billy teasing questions – and Billy was always quick to respond with good-natured love. Johnny asked Billy “Billy, why would you come on a show with worldly people like us?”Billy with a smile answered,“Johnny, even Jesus ate with publicans and sinners!”Johnny asked Billy a question about Heaven. He asked:

Will there be golf in Heaven?”

Johnny loved to play golf. I wondered how Billy would answer that question. He replied:

Johnny, I believe if it’s necessary for our joy God will give us golf in Heaven”

That was a good answer. People view Heaven as a place where we’ll go one day – all of us – where our every need will be catered to. But that’s not what Heaven is. Heaven is a place where we will finally be complete. God will be the center of Heaven, and we will be face to face with our God. There will be no suffering nor pain in Heaven because God will give us glorified bodies. We will not lounge in Heaven, but spend forever serving God in love and worship as we love one another. Heaven will be a place where “we will know as we are known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). There will be no misunderstandings, but unity in Heaven. I will speak, and you will understand what I meant, not just hear what I said. We will be complete because things will not define us, but relationships will. Our relationship with God will be most important, followed by our relationship with Christ and those He has redeemed.

On this earth, we suffer.
That’s a good thing.
Suffering is the scalpel of God that cuts sin and silliness out of us.
Suffering can bring us face to face with Jesus so that one day
We can be face to face with God in Heaven.

God Calls Us Into Relationship With Him

Our text today begins with a RELATIONSHIP. We read:

John 5:1 After this there was a FEAST of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

What is this FEAST? God established FEASTS that His Israel was to have at certain times during the year. We read in …

Leviticus 23:4 (KJV)  These are the FEASTS of the LORD, even holy CONVOCATIONS, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.

A “holy convocation” was a sacred assembly– times when God’s Israel was called to come to Jerusalem and worship. These Feasts were celebrations of love and were supposed to be much like Heaven on earth. Jesus went to Jerusalem because He was in a union – in a RELATIONSHIP – with the Father. He was going to Jerusalem to celebrate just as Israel should be doing. In this midst of this celebration – joy in the Lord –, what do we see?


John 5:2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda1, having five porches2.

There is a sheep market near the pool called Bethesda. What does “Bethesda” mean? It means “House of Kindness”. Now a sheep market is not a place of kindness. The sheep are sold at this market to be sacrificed on the altar at the Temple. The sheep will suffer. They will die for the Festival. They will die screaming. This is not a picture of kindness for the sheep – but it is a picture of kindness for humanity.

You see, we are all sinners. Sin is in the world because we are sinners. Sin separates us from the God Who would love us. The sheep die because of sin. God told the Israelite to sacrifice the “lamb without spot or blemish to be a covering for your sin”. The sheep dying is a picture of what God would do for us in Christ. Christ will go to the Cross. He will die in my place. His Blood will be shed to cover my sin and your sin.

1 Peter 1:18-19 (KJV)  Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain {way of life}received by tradition from your fathers;  [19]  But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

The pool called Bethesda is a place of kindness. Jesus goes to this pool. Around the pool are five porches or flat spots where people can lay. We are told:

John 5:3 KJV “In these {porches}lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. “

I want you to see what Jesus saw. He is in Jerusalem for a Feast to celebrate God and His love. But here – in this place – there is no celebration. The blind are groping in the darkness, hoping for a bit of light. The halt or crippled are dragging themselves about, leaving trails of agony behind them. The withered need the sustenance of God. Who will hire a blind person when a sighted person is there? Who will protect a blind person? Will not thieves rob them, and rapists take advantage of them. Blind, and unable to see – what will they do? But there weren’t just blind people here, but there were people who were halt(limping, crippled), withered(shrunken or dried up, scorched), and impotent(sick or weak) people around this pool. These people were in various stages of suffering, of misery, of agony. Can you hear the moans, perhaps even the screams of these people? These people waited for the water of the house of Kindness to begin to boil, to stir. The Bible says these poor suffering people were …

John 5:3b-4 KJV “… waiting for the moving of the water. {4} Foran angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.”

I’ve never heard anyone preach a sermon about the angel who went down at a certain season into the pool to stir the water. We see the word angel and immediately assume that this is a creature from God. Some, like Robertson in his Word Pictures3say that this verse is not in the original manuscripts of Scripture. The New International Version even omits the translation of this text, skipping it entirely. I have a problem with that on a couple of grounds. First, I admit that I’m not the brightest tack in the pack, but when Jesus asks one of the sick men wilt thou be made whole? that man answers in verse 7:

John 5:7 KJV “… Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.”

It’s obvious that the man equated healing with the stirring of the waters but, because he couldn’t get down into the waters he couldn’t be healed. The man was looking to the waters to be healed. He was looking for someone to help him into the stirring waters4. So something stirred those waters.

Isn’t it interesting that we so often look to things of this life to make us better rather than looking to God? I don’t know whether the “angel” that stirred the waters was righteous or unrighteous, godly or devilish. But I do know that GOD IS THE SOURCE OF HEALING. The people should have been looking UP, not AROUND. When we are suffering we should be looking to our God, looking to Jesus.

God will bring judgment on the sinner, but GRACE to those who love Him.

2 Peter 2:4-7 KJV “God …. spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth [person], a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; {6} And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned [them] with an overthrow, making [them] an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; {7} And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked”

God saved all who would get on the Ark.
He saved all who would follow Him out of Sodom and Gomorrah.
God wanted to save Nineveh, and sent Jonah to that place:

Jonah 1:2 (KJV)  Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

because God wants everyone who will hear the Gospel be saved. The Bible tells us that God is

2 Peter 3:9 (KJV)  The Lord is … is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

God loves to save those who will turn to Him.

John 3:14-17 KJV “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: {15} That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. {16} For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. {17} For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

God Saves All Who Will Respond To Him

God wants you to stop looking at the House of Kindness and start looking at the House of Christ. He wants you to stop looking at the House of Human Effort and start looking at the House of Divine Power.

Please notice the text:

John 5:5-6 KJV When JESUS SAW HIM LIE, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?

The man doesn’t come to Jesus – Jesus comes to the man. This is the Way of salvation. In our suffering and in our need God comes to us. He asks us “Wilt thou be made whole?”Do you want a life where God is a very real presence, enabling you to walk in faith? Do you want a Companion Who will walk with you through this life, giving you the confidence you need to live apart from this evil world? You cannot heal yourselves – but Christ can heal you. Human strength and good works cannot heal you – Christ must heal you. Wilt thou be made whole? The man does much like we all do. He replies to Christ’s question almost defensively:

John 5:7 (KJV) …. Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.

Christ asks “Will you be made whole?”He asks that of each and every person He approaches. Our reply? “Jesus, it’s my brother’s fault, my neighbor’s fault. I could get down in the water if they would help me, but they’re so selfish. Why, just the other day, I was near to the water with that rascal Billy stepped over my body and got the blessing. He knew I had been waiting for 38 years to be healed, but did he care? No! It’s not my fault. I’m doing my best!”

Oh, the excuses we make. We cast the world into hell, but know we’re going to Heaven. Jesus doesn’t debate with the man. He says:

John 5:8 KJV “Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.

Quit looking at the water. Quit waiting for the scrubbing bubbles. Do what Jesus said do. Hear His Voice. What has God said:

Hebrews 3:15 (KJV) … Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

Israel would not hear God’s Voice, and so became crippled as a nation. Hear Christ’s Voice. Do what Jesus says to do. Get up! Pick up your bed and walk. Let others see that you are following Christ. Be baptized. Make the waters bubble. Quit waiting for bubbling waters, and do as Jesus said to do.

John 5:9 KJV And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the Sabbath. “

The man responds to Jesus’ voice. The man hears Jesus. He was made whole. And hearing Jesus, he obeys Jesus. The Christian obeys Jesus. He hears the Word of the Lord. He does not live by the Laws of the Pharisees. When you start following Jesus the Pharisees will come. Here comes one now. Hear his whiny voice…

John 5:10 KJV “… It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.”

God gave the Law to lead us to Christ. The Apostle wrote in …

Galatians 3:24-26 (KJV)  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  [25]  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.  [26]  For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

The man who was healed didn’t know Jesus’ name – but he knew it was Jesus who healed Him.

If You Are Saved, You Are In A Relationship With Jesus

Though Jesus healed this man and then left, the Lord returned to him later. We read

John 5:14 KJV “… Afterward, Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.”

I love this! Jesus came to where the man was in his suffering and called to him. The man responded and was healed. Then Jesus comes back to this man. Beloved, this is a picture of the Christian Way of Life.

Those whom Christ saves stay saved because Christ stays with them.
And Christ molds them.
We become His workmanship, “Created in Christ Jesus to do good works”.
We are not saved to SIN,
We are saved to SERVE.

Jesus tells the man:

sin no more, lest a WORSE thing come unto thee.

Sin is deadly. The Scripture says:

Romans 6:23 (KJV)  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Christ does not save us to enable us to sin freer but saves us to serve the Living God. Sin grieves the Holy Spirit Who indwells the believer (Ephesians 4:30). Sin brings a barrier between us and God. Sin also brings with it its own punishment. We are not to sin, but to DRINK OF CHRIST. Jesus said to the Samaritan woman:

John 4:14 (KJV)  But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

When you follow Jesus He brings the water to you, not you to the water. Jesus comes to you, comes to live inside you, and causes you as a new creature in Him to become a pool of life.

Those who are Christ’s are creatures with the potential to bring Living Water to all around us. Those who are Christ’s take the message of Jesus to a lost and dying world, a thirsting world, a parched world. We carry the hope of Eternal Life by faith in Christ in us, with us, and are supposed to be stirred not by the Law nor by an angel but by Grace and love and service to the King.

John 5:15-16 KJV “… The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. {16} And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.”

This is what religious people do. They set the standard of life by their own laws, and not by Christ. But our confidence is in Christ. Our confidence is in Him.

Is yours?

1G964 (Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries) ΒηθεσδάBēthesda {pronounced bay-thes-dah’} Of Chaldee origin (compare [H1004] and [H2617]); the house of kindness; Bethesda, a pool in Jerusalem: – Bethesda.

2G4745 (Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries) στοάstoa {pronounced sto-ah’}Probably from G2476; a colonnade or interior piazza:– porch.

3Robertson states “All of this verse is wanting in the oldest and best manuscripts like Aleph B C D W 33 Old Syriac, Coptic versions, Latin Vulgate. It is undoubtedly added, like the clause in Joh_5:3, to make clearer the statement in Joh_5:7. Tertullian is the earliest writer to mention it. The Jews explained the healing virtues of the intermittent spring by the ministry of angels. But the periodicity of such angelic visits makes it difficult to believe. It is a relief to many to know that the verse is spurious.” (Robertson’s Word Pictures)

4Oh, by the way, no one disputes verse 7 as spurious or added text, so I stand alongside the King James here!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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