Sabbath, April 25, 2009
“To talk of religion in a casual way, to pray without soul hunger and living faith, avails nothing. A nominal faith in Christ, which accepts Him merely as the Saviour of the world, can never bring healing to the soul…. It is not enough to believe about Christ; we must believe in Him. The only faith that will benefit us is that which embraces Him as a personal Saviour; which appropriates His merits to ourselves.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 347.
SICK AND INCAPABLE
1. What poor people always lay under the porches of the pool at Bethesda? What was their great hope?
John 5:2-4 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. 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.
“At certain seasons the waters of this pool were agitated, and it was commonly believed that this was the result of supernatural power, and that whoever first after the troubling of the pool stepped into the waters, would be healed of whatever disease he had. Hundreds of sufferers visited the place; but so great was the crowd when the water was troubled that they rushed forward, trampling underfoot men, women, and children, weaker than themselves…. There were some who spent the night in these porches, creeping to the edge of the pool day after day, in the vain hope of relief.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 201.
2. Who was among that suffering, handicapped crowd?
John 5:5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
(see Proverbs 8:34, 35 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord.).
“Jesus was again at Jerusalem. Walking alone, in apparent meditation and prayer, He came to the pool. He saw the wretched sufferers watching for that which they supposed to be their only chance of cure. He longed to exercise His healing power, and make every sufferer whole. But it was the Sabbath day. Multitudes were going to the temple for worship, and He knew that such an act of healing would so excite the prejudice of the Jews as to cut short His work.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 201, 202.
3. What question asked Jesus that the crippled man, knowing how long he had been in that condition?
John 5:6, 7 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 impotent man answered him, 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.
“… The Saviour saw one case of supreme wretchedness. It was that of a man who had been a helpless cripple for thirty-eight years. His disease was in a great degree the result of his own sin, and was looked upon as a judgment from God. Alone and friendless, feeling that he was shut out from God’s mercy, the sufferer had passed long years of misery…
“The sick man was lying on his mat, and occasionally lifting his head to gaze at the pool, when a tender, compassionate face bent over him, and the words, ‘Wilt thou be made whole?’ arrested his attention. Hope came to his heart. He felt that in some way he was to have help.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 202.
4. Did the Redeemer ask him any other questions? How quickly did Jesus grant his greatest longing?
John 5:8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
“Jesus does not ask this sufferer to exercise faith in Him. He simply says, ‘Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.’ But the man’s faith takes hold upon that word. Every nerve and muscle thrills with new life, and healthful action comes to his crippled limbs. Without question he sets his will to obey the command of Christ, and all his muscles respond to his will. Springing to his feet, he finds himself an active man.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 202, 203.
5. What happened instantly when the Lord told him to stand up and walk?
John 5:9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
“Jesus had given him no assurance of divine help. The man might have stopped to doubt, and lost his one chance of healing. But he believed Christ’s word, and in acting upon it he received strength.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 203.
“With a new hope the sick man looks upon Jesus. The expression of His countenance, the tones of His voice, are like no other. Love and power seem to breathe from His very presence. The cripple’s faith takes hold upon Christ’s word. Without question he sets his will to obey, and, as he does this, his whole body responds.
“Every nerve and muscle thrills with new life, and healthful action comes to his crippled limbs. Springing to his feet, he goes on his way with firm, free step, praising God and rejoicing in his new-found strength.” –The Ministry of Healing, p. 84.
AFTER THE MIRACLE
6. What was the Jews’ reaction of Jews when they saw the healed man walking? Did they praise the Lord for His great miracle?
John 5:10-13 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.
Romans 10:2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
(see Jeremiah 17:21 Thus saith the Lord; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem;
Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?).
“The restored paralytic stooped to take up his bed, which was only a rug and a blanket, and as he straightened himself again with a sense of delight, he looked around for his Deliverer; but Jesus was lost in the crowd. The man feared that he would not know Him if he should see Him again. As he hurried on his way with firm, free step, praising God and rejoicing in his new-found strength, he met several of the Pharisees, and immediately told them of his cure. He was surprised at the coldness with which they listened to his story.
“With lowering brows they interrupted him, asking why he was carrying his bed on the Sabbath day. They sternly reminded him that it was not lawful to bear burdens on the Lord’s day…. These rulers knew well that only One had shown Himself able to perform this miracle; but they wished for direct proof that it was Jesus, that they might condemn Him as a Sabbath-breaker. In their judgment He had not only broken the law in healing the sick man on the Sabbath, but had committed sacrilege in bidding him bear away his bed.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 203, 204.
7. What important message did Jesus give the healed man when He met him in the temple? What lesson was contained in this miracle?
John 5:14, 15 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. The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.
“Many … need, like the paralytic of old, the forgiveness of sin the first thing, and they need to learn how to ‘go, and sin no more.’” –Medical Ministry, p. 27.
“By sin we have been severed from the life of God. Our souls are palsied…. The sense of sin has poisoned the springs of life. But Christ says, ‘I will take your sins; I will give you peace. I have bought you with My blood. You are Mine. My grace shall strengthen your weakened will; your remorse for sin I will remove.’ When temptations assail you, when care and perplexity surround you, when, depressed and discouraged, you are ready to yield to despair, look to Jesus, and the darkness that encompasses you will be dispelled by the bright shining of His presence. When sin struggles for the mastery in your soul, and burdens the conscience, look to the Saviour. His grace is sufficient to subdue sin.” –The Ministry of Healing, p. 85.
8. Of what should this wonderful miracle remind us? What promise of hope has been given to us all?
Psalms 91:15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
Psalms 50:15 And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
“Through the same faith we may receive spiritual healing. By sin we have been severed from the life of God. Our souls are palsied…. The Saviour is bending over the purchase of His blood, saying with inexpressible tenderness and pity, ‘Wilt thou be made whole?’ He bids you arise in health and peace. Do not wait to feel that you are made whole. Believe His word, and it will be fulfilled. Put your will on the side of Christ. Will to serve Him, and in acting upon His word you will receive strength.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 203.
CONFESSION AND HEALING
“Praying for the sick is a most solemn thing, and we should not enter into this work in any careless, hasty way. Examination should be made as to whether those who would be blessed with health have indulged in evilspeaking, alienation, and dissension. Have they sowed discord among the brethren and sisters of the church? If these things have been committed, they should be confessed before God and the church. When wrongs have been confessed, the subjects for prayer may be presented before God in earnestness and faith, as the Spirit of God may move upon you.” –Counsels on Health, p. 374.