Two comments from the Old Testament come to my mind right now. One of them is from Deuteronomy where Moses said, “We’ve been around this mountain long enough. Now turn northward” (Deuteronomy 2:3). We have also been around this mountain long enough and it is time to move on into new territory. The other comment says, “We have not passed this way before” (Joshua 3:4). It is true. I think all of us are set to make progress in the Lord. We are breaking ground; we are moving into a new relationship with the Lord. We don’t always know what to do. We haven’t been this way before. What are we going to do when we move into this new relationship with the Lord? I don’t know, but we are leaving the old to move into the new.
We want stretch-ability. Jesus told us to not put new wine into old wineskins (Luke 5:37-38). Old wineskins are brittle and cannot stretch; the new wine works, breaking them and the new wine is lost. New wine must be put in new wineskins that are flexible. We want the Holy Spirit to make us flexible so we can receive new things from the Lord. We are moving into new wine territory. Are you prepared to stretch?
Many years ago I was teaching an adult Sunday school class in my church. I was still very young in the Lord and I said, “Jesus Christ didn’t die on the cross just to forgive us of our sins. He had more in mind than that.” One man in the class, not understanding what I meant, really got upset by that. I wasn’t saying that He didn’t die for our sins but that His sacrifice involved much more. Peter said, “According to His divine power He has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (II Peter 1:3). Jesus shed His blood for our sins; He also made His life available for us. When we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved in His life (Romans 5:10). Everything that is needed has been given. It has been give as a provision; ours is to appropriate what has been provided.
Let’s read a few verses in John 5 and see where it leads us.
John 5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews…
It didn’t say it was a feast of the Lord. It says a feast of the Jews. That was the number one problem of that day. The Jewish religion became a religion of the Jews more so than that which was of God, the man input. It seems that every time there is a movement of God begun, something fresh from the Lord, man starts getting involved in it and the next thing you know it is something of man more than it is something of God. So that’s what is happening here. It was a feast of the Jews.
John 5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Jerusalem was on a little higher elevation, but there is something more than just the literal elevation here. The ministry of Jesus Christ is often preceded with ascending terminology. For example, when He ministered the beatitudes it first says that He went up on a mountain (Matthew 5:10), and His teaching from there is called “the Sermon on the Mount.”
John 5:2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
Five porches – five is the number of grace. “Beth” means house. Jesus was born in Bethlehem – House of Bread. It is interesting that the Living Bread came forth out of the House of Bread. Here Bethesda means the House of Mercy. So this little portion of scripture here has to do with the mercy of the Lord. I think all of us have had a relationship with the Lord long enough to know His mercy. Have you noticed that as you grow closer to the Lord, His mercy and His grace are becoming much more important to you? The more mature I become in the Lord the more I realize my need for His mercy and grace. Anyway, this pool by the sheep market is called the “house of mercy.”
John 5:3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
Much of the church world today is impotent, having very little spiritual strength. Here are a lot of impotent folk, blind, halt, and withered, waiting for the moving of the water. So there are many today crying out for revival, waiting for the moving of the water. Moving water is living water, which represents a living Word. They are waiting for this moving of the water.
I don’t think the Lord is telling us to wait for the moving of the water. I believe He expects us to stir the waters, that the moving of the waters should come through us. There’s a multitude of people out there – impotent folk. They are weak and they are waiting for the moving of the water. Someone has to be a channel for the living water to meet them.
John 5:4 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.
The Greek word for angel is agelos and means messenger. When you read about it in the Scriptures it could be a heavenly angel or it could be a messenger from God, someone He sends. We can look back over history and see times when a messenger from God came and stirred the waters, men like Martin Luther, Zwingli and Hus. Then there would be a great movement. But, lo and behold, it wasn’t too long before the waters were stagnant again. Then there were other messengers such as John and Charles Wesley. At different times when Christianity became like the Dead Sea, then a messenger would come and stir the waters. The first ones to get in would be blessed. Of course, there are always a lot of other people left out, not ready to move into something new. I wonder if maybe the waters are being troubled for us a little bit right now. It takes eyes of faith to be aware of it and a determination to move into those waters.
John 5:5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
Thirty-eight years – that’s about the time the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness, isn’t it? Many of us know what it is like to wander in the wilderness, waiting for some troubling of the waters. But this certain man was there and he had an infirmity for thirty-eight years.
John 5:6-8 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in
that case, He said unto him, Will you be made whole?
7 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 steps down before me.
8 Jesus said unto him, Rise, take up your bed, and walk.
This man had his bed down there by the pool. He was going to stay there until that water was troubled and then try to get in, but he never got there in time. There are a lot of people out there waiting for the waters to be troubled. Some of them just can’t seem to get in; some people are just too passive in their wait, impotent and feeling sorry for themselves. Whatever the reason, there is going to be a Jesus company, the Body of Christ, who will come and minister to the impotent folk wherever they are found, waiting with faith for the stirring of the waters. Many people are waiting, waiting for a moving of God. Many of them do not even know what they are waiting for. They just know there is something better. It seems when the waters are stirred they always miss it. So there has to be a Jesus Company that comes along and says, “Take up your bed. Arise and walk.” Sometimes that is all it takes; just speak a Word. “Get up. Your time has come. Arise! Walk! Take a step! Get in motion!” That is all many people need to start walking, someone to say, “Take up your bed 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.
Immediately, the man was made whole. He had heard the Word and he responded to it – he took up his bed and he walked. Uh-oh! That day happened to be the Sabbath day.
John 5:10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the Sabbath day: it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.
They didn’t have anything to say about him being healed. “You can’t carry that bed today!” I tell you when you wake up and you realize that you can walk with God, that you can walk in the destiny that God has for you, and you begin to take steps there will be some to criticize you. “You can’t do that. This is not the time for that.”
John 5:11,13 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said to me, Take
up your bed, and walk.
13 And he that was healed knew not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed Himself away, a multitude being in that place.
Some would say, “What a wonderful opportunity Jesus missed there. He could have started a good church.” He didn’t even tell the man who He was! He just had compassion on him. Jesus here is a type of the Jesus Company, the Body of Christ. We know that the Body of Christ is Christ functioning in the earth. But this thing of going to church every Sunday, paying your tithes, living a good moral life and saying, “I’m a member of the Body of Christ” isn’t it. God’s purpose for the Body of Christ goes beyond that. It will only be a remnant because most Christians don’t want to go beyond that. “Just leave me alone. I’ll sit by the pool.”
Don’t you know Jesus had to step over people to get to this one man? I wonder what it was about that one individual. There were a lot of other people there that He seemed to pass right by. God help us to have the revelation, the awareness and perception to know the path that He has set before us and to recognize the people He has placed in our path. Do you suppose Jesus made this man whole because he was to become a stirrer of the waters? Do you suppose that He is making you whole so you can become a stirrer of the waters?
Copyright © 2007 by Henry DuBose