Sermon on Jesus Healing at Pool of Bethesda Part 2

See part 1 of this sermon on John 5:1-16.

10 So the Jews were saying to the man who was cured, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet.”

·        Though this man had just been cured of a 38 year old illness, they expressed no joy over his healing. They really had no concern for him whatsoever. They had no mercy or love in their heart for him or for anyone else. Their merely wanted to enforce their legalistic rabbinical regulations.

·       Was it against the law to carry his pallet on the Sabbath and if it was, why would Jesus give him this instruction? We can be absolutely certain that this man carrying his pallet was not breaking the Sabbath. The reason is because Jesus told him to do it! Since Jesus came to be the perfect sacrifice for sins, He must Himself be sinless. If He transgressed even one of God’s Laws, He would no longer be qualified to be the Savior! Sin was an abomination to Jesus. It would have been unthinkable for Him to instruct someone to commit a sin.

o Ex 31:12-14

12   The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

13 “But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘ You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.

14’Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people.

OT:4399 mela’kah (mel-aw-kaw’); properly, deputyship, i.e. ministry; generally, employment (never servile) or work (abstractly or concretely); also property (as the result of labor):

KJV – business, cattle, industrious, occupation, (+-pied), officer, thing (made), use, (manner of) work ([-man], -manship).

o Though the Law prohibited working on the Sabbath, it was not specific as to exactly what kind of work was forbidden. It seems that working at your normal job was prohibited. The Israelites were not to perform on the Sabbath the same routine work they performed the other six days of the week.

o Jesus cites an example of the kind of non-routine work that was permitted on the Sabbath.

Matt 12:8-14

8 “For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

9 Departing from there, He went into their synagogue.

10 And a man was there whose hand was withered. And they questioned Jesus, asking, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” — so that they might accuse Him.

11 And He said to them, “What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out?

12 ” How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

13 Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand!”  He stretched it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other.

14 But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.


1.    Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath! He made the Law and can therefore certainly interpret and observe it correctly.

2.    He argues that since it was permissible to rescue a sheep on the Sabbath, of course it is appropriate and lawful to heal a man or perform other acts of mercy on it.

3.    The Pharisees cared nothing for mercy or doing good. They cared only about their reputations and enforcing their regulations. Their willingness to plot and carry out the unlawful execution of Jesus is ample proof of this.

·        Well, if it wasn’t against the Law, then why were the Jews so upset about it? They were upset because it violated the rabbinic traditions and interpretation of the Law.

o But rabbinic tradition went far beyond the Law, listing thirty-nine forbidden categories of work—including carrying goods.

o Using a contemporary analogy, the Pharisee’s legalistic approach to the Sabbath would be like a modern day pastor preaching a Sunday morning sermon on compassion and brotherly love. Suddenly a man in the congregation starts having a heart attack and is in great distress. The pastor requests that the congregation remain calm and seated until the conclusion of the message because he is about to make the final and most important point on loving others. After that, they can assist the suffering man! That’s just about the amount of compassion and love the Pharisees had for this man.

11But he answered them, “He who made me well was the one who said to me, ‘Pick up your pallet and walk.'”

12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Pick up your pallet and walk’?”

13 But the man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away while there was a crowd in that place.

·        Did you ever wonder why Jesus would “slip away” in situations like this? Frequently He would perform a miracle in private and instruct those whom He’d just healed not to tell anyone about Him.

After unclean spirits identified Him as the Son of God:

Mark 3:11-12 Whenever the unclean spirits saw Him, they would fall down before Him and shout, “You are the Son of God!” And He earnestly warned them not to tell who He was.

After Peter stated, “you are the Christ, the Son of the living God:

Matt 16:20

20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.

After raising Jarius’ daughter from the dead:

Mark 5:43

43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

After giving hearing to a deaf man:

 Mark 7:32-36

36And He gave them orders not to tell anyone; but the more He ordered them, the more widely they continued to proclaim it.

One might wonder what would motivate Jesus to repeatedly give this type of instruction. We can understand it when we compare the different ways that Jesus related to the masses and with His men. With the masses, he spoke only in parables, but with His men, He spoke plainly. He often sought to conceal His identity from the masses, but constantly revealed Himself to His men even to the point of displaying His majesty to His three key men on the mount of transfigurationMany of Jesus miracles were done in secret so the masses wouldn’t be aware of them, but all of His miracles were openly displayed for His men to observe.

The fact is Jesus and the masses had quite different objectives. Jesus came to be the Savior of the world. The masses saw Him as freeing them from the oppression of Roman tyranny and establishing an earthly kingdom. Jesus emphasis however, was on the training of His men. He didn’t need to spend three years in ministry to die on the cross for our sins. The three years He spent in ministry were not to reach the masses. For the most part, they remained clueless and even became active participants in condemning Him to crucifixion. No, the three years of ministry were to train His men so that once He had redeemed us, the gospel message would be effectively taken to the ends of the earth.

14Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.” 

·        He didn’t find Jesus, but Jesus sought him out.


It’s like that with salvation. We don’t seek after God. He takes the initiative and comes to us.

15The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

16 For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesusbecause He was doing these things on the Sabbath.

·        These Jews’ concerns were not for the well-being of people but for legalistically keeping their expanded version of the Law. Not only did they not approve of this man carrying his pallet on the Sabbath, but they didn’t approve of Jesus healing him on the Sabbath either. When it comes right down to it, they would have preferred that this man remain in his infirmity the rest of his life!

·        They resented Jesus for not following their traditions and for exposing their hypocrisy. Ultimately, their hard heartedness and prideful legalism together with their envy of Jesus’ following, led them to plot against and crucify Him.

A Few Comparisons

His Physical Condition is Analogous to Our Spiritual Condition

1.      Sin holds each one captive just as surely as his illness had held him captive.

2.      We are just as helpless to save ourselves as he was to heal himself.

3.      If you are a child of God, it is because Jesus sought you out when you were helpless in your sins and saved you just as he sought out and healed this man.

4.      This knowledge of His choosing you and saving you should motivate you to trust and obey Him just as it did this man!

Many of you here today would say you have not been saved from your sins. Is there any hope for me? What should I do?

The Bible teaches that every one of us is a sinner and that we all deserve the ultimate punishment for our sin which is an eternity of suffering in hell. Like this man who was helpless to heal himself, so you can do nothing to remove your sin and avoid the punishment in hell for it, but Jesus came to earth to save us from our sins. To accomplish this, He became our substitute by willingly giving His life on the cross as a full and acceptable payment for our sins. Three days later He rose from the dead to conquer death for all time.

Just as Jesus had the power to heal this man, He has the power to forgive your sins and give you eternal life. He freely offers these to you if you will truly repent of your sins, and commit your life to Him.

Jesus asked the man, “do you wish to get well?”, and I would ask you right now, “do you want to be saved?”

See part 1 of this sermon on John 5:1-16.