1 Later, Jesus went to Jerusalem for a special Jewish festival. 2 In Jerusalem there is a pool with five covered porches. In Aramaic45 it is called Bethzatha.46 This pool is near the Sheep Gate. 3 Many sick people were lying on the porches beside the pool. Some of them were blind, some were crippled, and some were paralyzed.474 485 One of the men lying there had been sick for 38 years. 6 Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been sick for a very long time. So he asked him, “Do you want to be well?”
7 The sick man answered, “Sir, there is no one to help me get into the water when it starts moving. I try to be the first one into the water. But when I try, someone else always goes in before I can.”
8 Then Jesus said, “Stand up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 Immediately the man was well. He picked up his mat and started walking.
The day all this happened was a Sabbath49 day. 10 So some Jews said to the man who had been healed, “Today is the Sabbath. It is against our law for you to carry your mat on the Sabbath day.”
11 But he answered, “The man who made me well told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”
12 They asked him, “Who is the man who told you to pick up your mat and walk?”
13 But the man who had been healed did not know who it was. There were many people there, and Jesus had left.
14 Later, Jesus found the man at the Temple50 and said to him, “See, you are well now. But stop sinning or something worse may happen to you!”
15 Then the man left and went back to the Jews who questioned him. He told them that Jesus was the one who made him well.
16 Jesus was doing all this on the Sabbath day. So these Jews began trying to make him stop. 17 But he said to them, “My Father never stops working, and so I work too.”
18 This made them try harder to kill him. They said, “First this man was breaking the law about the Sabbath day. Then he said that God is his Father! He is making
himself equal with God!”
“Jesus healed on the Sabbath because God the Father works every day. Since Jesus is his son, he works every day, too. Just think what would happen if God just took a day off!” Marissa, 10
“It made them especially mad when Jesus told them that he was God’s son, and since God worked on the Sabbath, he could, too.” Margo, 10
“All Jesus saw was a man who needed to be healed. He knew that Jews would be angry with him, but it didn’t bother him because their rules were not God’s rules.” Clarissa, 11
God created the heavens, the Earth and everything on the Earth in six days. On the seventh day, the Bible says that God rested. The fourth of the 10 Commandments says that the people of Israel should rest on the seventh day. God called this day the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11).
When the people of Israel came out of slavery in Egypt, they didn’t have enough faith to go into the land that God promised. They were scared of the giants who lived there. As punishment for not believing God would help them take the land, God had the people of Israel walk around the Sinai desert for 40 years.
Even though God was angry with them, he took care of them. He fed them with a food called manna that he sent from heaven six days of the week. On the sixth day of every week, he sent enough manna for them to eat for two days. God didn’t want his people to work by gathering the manna on the seventh day.
Jewish religious leaders became angry because Jesus healed on the Sabbath (seventh day of rest). For 38 years, the man whom Jesus healed couldn’t walk. Jesus told him to pick up his bed and walk. Can you imagine the excitement this man must have enjoyed when strength to walk came into his legs?
God gave the people of Israel a seventh day of rest so that they could think about God without having to think about work. Instead of thinking about God, some people thought about how much they could do without it being work. They created all kinds of silly rules about what you could and could not do on the Sabbath.
When Jewish religious leaders saw the healed man carrying his bed, they got mad. Instead of rejoicing with the man who had been healed, they wanted to know why he was carrying his bed on the Sabbath. Wouldn’t you be excited to meet someone who could suddenly walk after being in a wheelchair for 38 years?
When the Jews asked the man who healed him, he didn’t know. Sometimes people who claim to heal in the name of Christ say that the reason some are not healed is because they don’t have enough faith. Here is a man who didn’t have any faith because he didn’t even know Jesus was the one who healed him.
Later, Jesus talked to the healed man in the temple. The man immediately went and told the Jews it was Jesus who healed him. Not only did the healed man blame Jesus for telling him to carry his bed, but he reported him to the Jews. His words and actions don’t sound like someone who was grateful to Jesus.
What is the lesson we can learn from what the healed man said and did? It’s a difficult lesson. If someone you help doesn’t thank you, will you still help them? What if people turn against you after you have done your best to help them?
The temptation is to become bitter against that person. You could become so discouraged that you don’t try to help anyone. This is why it’s so important to commit the results of your good deeds to God. If you do good deeds as unto the Lord, you won’t worry about whether or not someone says “thank you.” God knows your heart and your motives. If you love God first, then you can help people without expecting anything in return.
There was another time when religious leaders got mad at Jesus for breaking their rules on the Sabbath. Jesus’ disciples picked some grain and ate it as they walked through a field of grain. Jesus said this to religious leaders: “The Sabbath day was made to help people. People were not made to be ruled by the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord of every day, even the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27-28).
By creating many laws that defined work, religious leaders made the Sabbath a burden instead of a blessing. As Jesus said, “The Sabbath day was made to help people.” Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath and Lord of the universe as well. He can do what he wants on the Sabbath.
Not only did Jesus heal on the Sabbath, he purposely called God “my Father.” Religious Jews were really mad now. They understood Jesus to say he was equal with God (John 5:18). Jesus was equal with God, but the religious Jews rejected Jesus as God.
Here’s another lesson to learn. Jesus is our rest or Sabbath. We rest in Christ and his finished work on the cross for our salvation. To understand this better, read chapter four in the Book of Hebrews.
Think about this: Let Jesus become your Sabbath or rest. Trust in him alone and his work on the cross as the final payment for your sins.
Memorize this truth: “So everyone who enters God’s place of rest will also have rest from their own work just as God did” (Hebrews 4:10).
Ask these questions: Have you ceased trying to work your way into God’s favor? Have you trusted or rested in Jesus’ final payment for your sins on the cross?