A mans infirmity

John 5:1,15

Thispool called Bethesda, “House of Mercy, ” seems to have been the Jerusalem hospital. The water was evidently subject to periodical bubbling, and perhaps possessed many healing virtues. Jesus is our healer “by whose stripes ye were healed.” (I.Pt.2:24).

This man was in a mourning condition.“He had an infirmity thirty and eight years” according to (v.5).

Let me say this that our bodies are subject to innumerable infirmities and diseases, but it pleases God, for wise ends, to continue some of his servants labouring under bodily weakness for many years, yet even all the days of their life. Here is a poor man, for eight and thirty years together, under the discipline of God’s hand by bodily weakness. This infirmity was probably the result of his sin (v.14). Like sin itself, it was an old standing disease.

As far as his own ability, or any mere human power was concerned, he was out hope, (Eph. 2:12) declares, “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:”

When it comes to spiritual things there is no place for human power; we can do nothing to heal our spiritual diseases.

There is no place for human merit; we can do nothing to deserve Divine healing.

Yet he who will be made whole, who accepts the Deliverer and welcomes the promised deliverance, shall experience the healing power of Immanuel, that is God with us.

Let there be willingness, let there be faith in Christ, let there be submission to Divine plans and order, and there is no sin for which pardon cannot be obtained, no character for which it shall be found that there is not provided renewal and spiritual health, “by whose stripes ye were healed.”

A New Testament ministry should be an enlightening and quickening ministry through the grace of the Spirit.

It is Jesus that can gives spiritual life, he alone can give it.

No human help can avail here. No profound and even spiritual philosophy, no system of education and training, however perfect, no laws, however good, can accomplishthis.

No sacrifices, however costly, no devotion, however unremitting, noself denying however strict, but let those who desire spiritual life turn to Christ, and it is theirs.

This house of mercy was his last change. The mercy of God is the sinners real and only hope, (1Pt.4:17) “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? .

The apostle does not say, if judgment begin at the temple of idols, but, if it begin at the house of God.

God will not spare his house, nor his own household: he will not spare his children or servants when they sin.

Judgment first begins at the house of God, God will not bear so long with his own people sinning as with strangers;

They shall be corrected sooner are later, the Lord will first punish them who have been forgetful of him, and trifled with him, who have been lukewarn in their profession, and vain in their conversation.

This man was in a humble position. This “certain man was there, where?there-among the “blind, halt, withered, waiting for healing.

He was not ashamed to take his place among the helpless and the needy. If he had refused to take this self-humbling step he never would have been healed, (Jas. 4:10) “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”

Pride and shame keep many a one away from the saving touch of Christ. To many God is still saying, “How long will ye refuse to humble yourselves ? ( Jh. 3:2) “

The same came to Jesus by night.” NicodemusIt was when the wretched publican took his place as a sinner that he was justified, “and the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” (Lk. 18:13).

Let us note (Ps.40:13) “For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.”

The Church, like her Redeemer, is often poor and afflicted in this world, but Jehovah thinketh upon her, and is concerned for her support; she is weak and defenseless, but Jehovah is her help and her deliverer.

With such a saviour, and such a Friend, poverty becometh rich, and weakness become strong. In the mean time, let us remember, that He who once came in great humility, shall come again in glorious power.

This poor man fruitless effort.“While I am coming, another steppeth down before me” (v. 7). He had taken his place among the sick.

This man could have said there is no use; I shall never get in; let me die at home. Yes, all could have been lost.

But he held on, and his persistency was rewarded with a glorious cure, (Jh 5:8) “Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” (v.8). Jesus speaks here as the Almighty God. He speaks in no name but his own, and with the authority which belongs to God alone “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Mt.28:18). (Mt,1: 23) Declares, “ Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. “ And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (v.21).

This was a remarkable command, ‘Rise, and take up thy bed and walk,”

When Jesus gives us a commandment, he will give us strength to obey it.

It is our job to obey the commands of Jesus, however feeble we feel ourselves to be. His grace will be sufficient for us, and his burden will be light.

The weak and helpless soul should put forth his efforts in obedience to the command of Jesus. If God gave this man the strength to do his will, he will also give us power to do as well.

Our repeated failure should makes us more prepared for the saving grace of Jesus Christ, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Rom.8:37).

Jesus is amerciful deliverer, “When Jesus saw him.... He saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole ? ”(v.6). “He knoweth the path of those whose spirits have become overwhelmed “When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.”(Psa. 142:3).

The more our troubles are multiplied, the more earnest and pleading should we be in our prayers.

God loves to have us bring before his throne all our sorrows, perplexities, and dangers, “When my spirit is overwhelmed within me, then Thou knowest my path: in the way wherein I walk, have they privily laid a snare for me.” (Ps.142:3)The meaning is, Though my thoughts are so broken and confused, that I am not able to counsel and direct myself in these straits, yet Thou knowest the path wherein I walk, Thou art with me, and wilt preserve me from those who watch all my steps, and lie in wait for me.

This poor man was waiting for a more convenient season, but that was not what he needed.

He needed one to save him where he was, and as he was, and that Christ offered to do, ”Wilt thou be made


When he answered, “Sir, I have no man,” it was clear that he did not know to whom he was speaking, for those who are saved by Christ need no other man, “Wilt thou that I should make thee whole?”

This man received a personal call, “Rise, take up thy bed and walk” (v. 8). This call must surely have come to him with startling suddenness.

He had not walked for “thirty and eight years.” But there is always that unexplainable work about the Person and Word of the Lord Jesus Christ that awakens the confident of the diseased and the downcast.

It was utterly useless for any other man to say, “Rise and walk.” It would only be mockery, but coming from Jesus’ lips the words were “spirit and life.” ” Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” Jesus speaks here as God. He speaks in no name but his own, and with an authority which belongs to God alone.

And what is the consequence? The man became whole immediately; and this sudden restoration to health and strength was an unquestionable proof of the omnipotence of Christ. Jesus was God Almighty in the flesh, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”(Mt,1:23).

There was a Sudden Change in this man “And immediately the man was made whole” (v. 9). He believed the word of the Lord, acted on the authority of it, and found in his happy experience that he had received the blessing for which he so much longed.

He got it, not by working, striving,’ or struggling, but by simply believing.

The change wrought in him was both sudden and compIete, “immediately made whole.” The cure itself was a mystery, but the fact of it was a certainty-perfect and God-like.

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