Rise Up and Walk - The Third Sign

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The 3rd Sign:  Rise & Walk

JOHN, the Book, the Man – Part 11

April 15, 2007    Dr. Rick Isbell

John 5:1-15


5:1     After this, a Jewish festival took place, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 By the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there is a pool, called Bethesda in Hebrew, which has five colonnades.  3 Within these lay a multitude of the sick—blind, lame, and paralyzed —waiting for the moving of the water, 4 because an angel would go down into the pool from time to time and stir up the water. Then the first one who got in after the water was stirred up recovered from whatever ailment he had.

5 One man was there who had been sick for 38 years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew he had already been there a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to get well?”

7 “Sir,” the sick man answered, “I don’t have a man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I’m coming, someone goes down ahead of me.”

8 “Get up,” Jesus told him, “pick up your bedroll and walk!” 9 Instantly the man got well, picked up his bedroll, and started to walk.

Now that day was the Sabbath, 10 so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “This is the Sabbath! It’s illegal for you to pick up your bedroll.”

11 He replied, “The man who made me well told me, ‘Pick up your bedroll and walk.’”

12 “Who is this man who told you, ‘Pick up your bedroll and walk?’ ” they asked. 13 But the man who was cured did not know who it was, because Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.

14 After this, Jesus found him in the temple complex and said to him, “See, you are well. Do not sin any more, so that something worse doesn’t happen to you.” 15 The man went and reported to the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

5:1 This was most likely one of the 3 Passover feasts that Jesus attended, but John does not say for sure, probably because he wanted the emphasis to stay on what Jesus was doing and not the festival itself.


5:2. To the north of the temple area was a pool . . . called Bethesda


Modern day excavations of a pool near the Sheep Gate have uncovered five porticoes or covered colonnades, confirming the accuracy of the description given here in the Fourth Gospel.

The pool was actually two pools next to each other.

5:3-4  We see that there was a great number of disabled people who would lie by the pool and wait for the stirring of the water.

[A picture of Lostness]

-          It is believed that there was a local superstition among the people that an angel would come down and stir the water near the temple and the first person in the water would be healed.

-          Three thoughts on this:

o   Nowhere else in the God’s Word do we see this type of “if you’re fast enough” approach to healing

o   What a cruel game of Russian Roulette this type of healing would be if it were from God

o   The earliest Greek manuscripts written before 400 AD do not contain the last part of vs 3 and verse 4.  These early manuscripts do contain vs 7 which mentions the stirring of the water, so it believed that the last part of verse 3 and vs 4 were inserted at a later date to clarify what was meant in vs7

o   The point of all of that is to say that it is not likely that an angel would really come stir the water and just see who could be the fastest person to get there and be healed.

5:5  Jesus approached this scene on the Sabbath Day and saw a man who had been sick for 38 years. 

-          We don’t know what kind of sickness but apparently he was too sick to take care of himself.

5:6  Do you want to get well? Jesus asked the man.

-          Designed to focus the man’s attention on Jesus

-          to stimulate his will

-          raise his hopes

-          In the spiritual realm man’s great problem is that either he does not recognize he is sick or he does not want to be cured.

5:7  The man replied that he lacked not the desire but the means to be healed.

-          Without strength and without friends, he could not be helped when the pool water was stirred.

-          He had tried but without success.


5:8. Jesus then said . . . Get up! Pick up your bedroll and walk. His command carried with it the required enablement. As with dead Lazarus (11:43), Jesus’ word accomplished His will. This illustrates conversion. When people obey His command to believe, God works in and through His Word.


[A picture of Conversion]


5:9-10  God’s supernatural power was evident in the man’s instantaneous cure. He picked up his bedroll and walked.

-          Muscles long atrophied were completely restored.

-          Isaiah prophesied that in the days of the Messiah the lame would “leap like a deer” (Isa. 35:1-7).

-          Here in Jerusalem it was happening, a public sign that the Messiah had come.


The Sabbath was a central issue in the conflicts between Jesus and His opponents (Mark 2:23; 3:4).

-          The Mosaic Law required that work cease on the seventh day.

-          Additional laws were added by later Jewish religious authorities, which became very complicated and burdensome.

-          Human traditions often obscured the divine intention in God’s Law. “The Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27) so that he could have rest and a time for worship and joy.

-          The Jews’ rigid tradition (not the Old Testament) taught that if anyone carried anything from a public place to a private place on the Sabbath intentionally, he deserved death by stoning.

-          In this case the man who was healed was in danger of losing his life.


5:11  The healed man realized this difficulty and tried to evade any responsibility for violating tradition by saying he was just following orders.


5:12-13  The authorities were naturally interested in the identity of this fellow who told the invalid to violate their rules.

-          But the man . . . had no knowledge of Jesus.

-          This seems to be a case in which healing was done in the absence of faith.

-          The invalid was chosen by Jesus as an act of grace because of his need and also to display God’s glory in him.

-          Jesus then had slipped away into the crowd, so momentarily He was unknown.

5:14-15  Jesus later found the healed man in the

temple area.

-          Do not sin anymore, so that something worse doesn’t happen to you

o   does not mean that his paralysis was caused by any specific sin,

o   though all disease and death come ultimately from sin.

-          The warning was that his tragic life of 38 years as an invalid was no comparison to the doom of hell.

-          Jesus is not just interested in healing a person’s body – Far more important is the healing of his soul from sin.

I believe that there are some pictures drawn by this event in the life of Jesus that we would do well to examine here this morning.

I.   The Lame Man

-          Lame

-          Hopeless

-          Sad

We don’t know how long he had sat by the pool… maybe several days… maybe several weeks… maybe the whole 38 years he had been sick.

Do you realize what can happen in 38 long years?

1969   (38 years ago – I was 9 years old)

Here are some of the headlines from 38 years ago:

The Beatles' perform final concert

Led Zeppelin released their first album

Richard Nixon succeeds Lyndon Johnson as the 37th

First test flight of the Concorde

James Earl Ray pleads guilty to assassinating Martin Luther King Jr.

Former US General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower dies

Dr. Denton Cooley implants the first temporary artificial heart.

CBS cancels the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and debuts Hee Haw in its place.

First U.S. troop withdrawals are made from Vietnam.

Edward M. Kennedy takes a Chappaquiddick plunge

World watches in awe as Neil Armstrong takes his historic first steps on moon.

Members of a cult led by Charles Manson commit cultic murders

Woodstock is held in upstate New York

Category 5 Hurricane Camille hits the Mississippi coast

The pilot episode of The Brady Bunch airs

Wal-Mart incorporates

The Children's Television Workshop premieres a test program called Sesame Street

The first Boeing 747 jumbo jet carries 191 people from Seattle to New York City.

Do you think it would be fair to say that after 38 years, this lame man would have been desperate?

In his desperation, he also became gullible. 

-          Researchers believe that underground springs and seismic activity probably caused the occasional ripples in the water that lead to the fantasy of an angel doing it.

-          But when you are desperate enough, you’ll try anything.

-          How many people spend money they don’t have to waste on the lottery in hopes of hitting it big.

-          We hear all the time from the TN Lottery that it is just “fun in an instant.”

-          And look at those people who have millions.

-          But they don’t interview the millions who won nothing.

-          They don’t interview the gullible, desperate father who spends his last $10 bill in hopes of getting more but instead gets nothing.

-          How the gullible person that believes if I wear a cross around my neck, nothing bad will happen… or have a statue of Jesus on my dash so I won’t have a wreck… etc.

-          We often grasp at things that are what we hope instead of what God says is the real deal.

II.  The Loving Savior

We talk a lot about the Jewish leaders of that day… but they are not the point.

The Lame Man… not the point

The healing… not the point

The point – the purpose – the hero of the story is Jesus.

In vs. 6 we see that He is Grace Oriented

-          He didn’t have to heal this man, but He did

-          He didn’t have to choose this man, but He did

-          The people Jesus picked to heal, change and use reads like a who’ who of rejects

-          But Jesus approached them with grace and compassion because of what they COULD be and not what they were at the moment.

-          That is how Jesus approaches us today

In vs 8 we see that Jesus is Powerful

“Do you want to be made well?”

Might seem like a ‘duh’ question

-          But how often do we say we want something but we don’t have the will to really do it

-          I see this all the time with my kids -  “Daddy can I…”  “Yes, if you…” “Never mind.”

Sometimes our weak will is as paralyzing as the disease that this man had.

-          Also, it be worth noting, that a begger in Jesus’ day, at the temple, could probably make a pretty good day’s wage because of his problems.

So Jesus asks, “do you really want a change?”

So he begins this pitiful story of how he can’t get in the water and Jesus says, “Get up. Roll up that mat of yours and take it with you when you leave.”

-          Remember, the man didn’t know Who this stranger was…so why did he try to get up?

I believe this is another example of the Logos,  the Word of God becoming flesh in having all the power of God

-          God’s will is accomplished simply based on the Logos, the authoritative power of Jesus, the very Word of God

-          Jesus’ words of “get up” were accomplished simply because He spoke them.

-          Nothing else needed

-          This guy did not even have or understand faith

-          Be he certainly responded to the Logos

In vs. 14 we see that Jesus is Spiritually-focused

Jesus says to the man, “don’t sin anymore, or something worse will befall you.”

I believe that Jesus was speaking of spiritual loss

-          if the man did not repent and turn from his sin, his very soul would be required of him.

-          Jesus is concerned about bodies, but He is more concerned about souls.


1. He calls us to rise up and walk into a saving faith in Him.

2. He calls us to rise up and walk into the baptismal waters.

-          As a public display of our faith in Christ

3. He calls us to rise up and walk to a faithful church membership.

-          Nothing in the world can benefit a Christian as much as being a part of a Bible believing/teaching/preaching church.

-          Not only as a member, but as a faithful, dedicated member

-          Think of the added spiritual power our churches would have if every Sunday were like Easter Sunday in presence and preparation.

-          Think of the many souls that would be won to Christ. (Two in service last week and two more afterwards.)

4. He calls us to rise up and walk in a relationship with Christ.

-          That means prayer and Bible study, talking with God and letting Him guide you.

-          Skip this step and your religion becomes a dead formality.

-          As we get more God in us, then we get the power and strength to live the Christian life.

5. He calls us to rise up and walk as faithful stewards.

-          Time – Shirley ball flowers

-          Talent – band, techs, teachers, cooks, painters, carpet

-          Treasure – finances

-          Committed to a life of service

-          “Faith without works is dead”

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