Leader Bible Study
Located in the city of Jerusalem, the pool of Bethesda was a place many believed to possess healing powers. People who were sick or disabled went to the pool in hope of being made whole. They believed an angel would stir up the waters, and the first person to get in would be healed. (Some translations include this detail in verse 4; but since the earliest and most accurate manuscripts do not include the detail, most contemporary translations omit it as well.)
Jesus sought out a man at the pool of Bethesda who had been disabled for 38 years. Jesus asked the man, “Do you want to get well?” The man, not recognizing who was talking to him (see John 5:13), explained his inability to get to the pool in time. Filled with compassion, Jesus commanded this man: “Get up, pick up your mat, and walk.” After decades of helplessness, the man was instantly healed. He picked up his mat and walked.
At this time, Jesus slipped away through the crowd. So when the Jewish leaders approached the man, asking questions about the healing and accusing the man of breaking the law by picking up his mat on the Sabbath, the man could not even identify who healed him. Yet Jesus sought out the man a second time. Jesus found the man in the temple and warned him, “Do not sin anymore, so that something worse doesn’t happen to you.”
Jesus cared about the man’s body; He had healed it. But Jesus cared more about the man’s soul. As you teach kids, emphasize that the man at the pool was unable to help himself. Jesus healed him, and he obeyed Jesus’ commands. In a similar way, we are unable to free ourselves from sin. Jesus calls us to trust in Him. When we trust in Jesus, He frees us from the power of sin and death so we can follow Him and obey Him.
The BIBLE Story
Jesus Healed a Man Who Was Lame
Jesus went to Jerusalem and stood by the pool of Bethesda (buh THEZ duh). Many people were at the pool who were blind, lame, or paralyzed. Jesus noticed a man who could not walk. He had been lying there for a long time. Jesus asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
The man answered, “Sir, I have no one to put me in the pool when the water is stirred up. Someone else always gets in before me.” The man thought if he could get into the water, he would be healed.
Jesus told him, “Get up, pick up your mat, and walk.” Right away, the man was miraculously healed. He picked up his mat and started to walk.
This happened on the Sabbath, so the Jews told the man who was healed, “It is against the law to pick up your mat on the Sabbath.”
The man replied, “The man who healed me told me to pick up my mat and walk.”
“Who was the man?” the Jews asked. But the man who was healed did not know who had healed him. By this time, Jesus had slipped away into the crowd.
Later, Jesus found the healed man in the temple. Jesus said to him, “See, you are healed. Do not sin anymore, so that something worse doesn’t happen to you.”
Then the man went to the Jews and told them that Jesus had healed him. So the Jews began persecuting Jesus because He was healing people on the Sabbath. Jesus told the Jews, “My Father is still working, and I am working too.”
Now the Jews wanted even more to kill Jesus because He wasn’t just breaking their rules about the Sabbath, He was saying that God is His Father—making Himself equal to God. Jesus is God’s Son, and He always did what God said was right.
Christ Connection: The man at the pool was unable to help himself. Jesus healed him, and he obeyed Jesus’ commands. In a similar way, we are unable to free ourselves from sin. Jesus calls us to trust in Him. When we trust in Jesus, He frees us from the power of sin and death so we can follow Him and obey Him.
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