John 5:1-6
John 5:1 (KJB)
After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
This verse begins with an unspecified time between this feats and when Jesus left Galilee. There is much debate as to what feast this was but since the Scripture is silent on which feast it was, it means that something else is in view. Jesus had gone up to Jerusalem to celebrate whatever feast it was. This would have been about a 60-70 mile trip to Jerusalem so it would definitely have been at least a week’s travel time.
John 5:2 (KJB)
Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
The sheep pool was northeast of the Temple area just east of the Antonia Tower. The name “Bethesda” means “house of mercy.” The five porches were built for the purpose of shelter from the sweltering sun and any type of inclement weather which would occur. Here the Good Shepherd was about to perform a miracle on a sheep.
John 5:3 (KJB)
In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
Impotent - Sick, weak, or unhealthy
Halt - Lame
Withered - A wasting disease or diseased state causing paralysis
This must have been a perpetual scene where many who had bodily infirmities would lay day by day in hopes that they would be healed from their maladies. Probably family members would drop the lame off in the early morning and hope it would be their day to be healed and if not would probably bring them home at the end of the day.
John 5:4 (KJB)
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.
Troubled - Agitated
Troubling - Agitation
Here was the reason that all the people with infirmities had gathered at the pool everyday. Whenever an angel descended into the pool, he would cause the water to be agitated and that was the sign, then the first one in would be healed. Of course, this was absolutely impossible for someone who was completely paralyzed to accomplish. If they rolled into the water but they were second in, they could drown before someone got to them. This must have been a real pitiful sight. What if an insect like a dragon fly hit the water and then everyone went in. It could cause a catastrophe and no one would be healed. It seems only one person per season would gain the benefits of becoming physically healed.
John 5:5 (KJB)
And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
Infirmity - Sickness
Out of all the people who were lying there, the narrative focuses upon one man who had a paralyzing disease for 38 years. Maybe the reason that Jesus focused on this man was he was there at the pool the longest. This man must have a had a loving family because for someone to last 38 years in paralysis at that point in history was just a plain miracle. Maybe his family had to work to help support him and that may be why no one was there to help him into the water. In a situation like that it would have been everyone for himself. He had the infirmity for 38 years but we do not know how old he was when he became infirm. This also gives us a picture of election. Out of all who were at the pool, it was this man who was destined to leave that day. Just as every human being is dead in their sins and unable to do anything for salvation, this paralytic could do nothing to get into the pool. Jesus gives a great picture of salvation here.
John 5:6 (KJB)
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?
Whole - Well
Here Jesus comes on the scene and He sees this one man out of the great multitude which are laying by the pool side. Jesus also knew that this man had been there a long time, possibly the longest since he was infirm for 38 years. Jesus saw and knew this man. Then Jesus asks him the question, “Wilt thou be made whole?” Jesus asked this question to get his attention and to elicit a little dialogue with him and maybe build a little anticipatory encouragement. One thing about Jesus, He never turned a deaf ear to His people. He will hear what they say and if they are not understanding, He will correct them or give them what they need to know. Jesus knew this man could not help himself and this shows election. This man was elected for healing out of the whole mass of people who were there. A great picture of salvation.