1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.
The reason why modern translations, like the NIV, removed certain verses that were in the KJV and other previous English translations, such as here in John 5:4 is this. It has to do with geres (pronounced “keh-ray”) and Ketiv (keh-teev). A qere (keh-ray) is a marginal note that scribes wrote into the text for a clearing meaning that later became scripture in the KJV and other older versions. Therefore, it was not used by the NIV translators and other newer translations. A ketiv (keh-teev) is the actual text itself.
5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
“Get up. Pick up your mat and walk.”
When I read this narrative a question comes to mind; how long will we lay around the pool in self-pity and hopelessness, waiting for someone to help us get into the pool? I’m using the pool in this passage as a metaphor, a figure of speech. Don’t we know that the supernatural power of God is available to all followers of Jesus all of the time? Will we stand up and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit or lie around feeling down in the dumps and abandoned as we just wait for something to happen. We’re haunted by that universal question, “Why?”
Take note of this; off times miracles don’t happen until an action takes place on our part. Jesus told the paraplegic “Get up. Pick up your mat and walk.” Do you think that the man would have been healed if he didn’t try to get up?
Imagine what the dialogue might have been like between the man and Jesus.
Jesus—“Get up. Pick up your mat and walk.”
Invalid— “Well, I just can’t do that. I can’t get up. You see I’ve been laying on the mat for some 38 years. I’ve never been able to get up, let alone walk. I just can’t do what you say and I will, likely, never be able to pick up my mat and walk.”
That man would have eventually died; probably lying on that same old tattered mat, never experiencing the miraculous power of the Son of God. He would have never known what it was like to go on a journey or to walk to the synagogue, or the simple pleasures of walking to visit family and friends. He would have never been able to have a wife and children of his own, if he didn’t respond to Jesus’ words, “Get up. Pick up your mat and walk.”
We cannot get our breakthrough without some act of obedience on our part.
Jesus asked this man in verse 6, “Do you want to get well?” Let me rephrase that question. In light of your current circumstances, do you really want something in your life to change? I mean… really change? That’s a silly question, Rod. No wonder you’re called, “The Mad Preacher!” Is it a silly question? No! It’s a profound question because the reality is that many people who are caught up in sickness and despair would actually prefer to stay in their present situation. It’s called a comfort zone, a psychology term in which a person feels secure, comfortable, or in control. They prefer where they are despite how unpleasant it is because it’s known and familiar to them. They choose this rather than risking the possibilities of what would be involved in changing their circumstances.
Many don’t even have a hint of joy or happiness. It could be that the condition in the home where they grew up was anything but happy. Strife and heartache was the norm. Then, when they move out and have their own home, they seek to create the same atmosphere in their new home that was in the old. It’s all they ever knew. It’s their comfort zone. So they remain laying by the pool depressed and hopeless.
This is a very sad situation. Even more so when professing Christians are like this.
1 Peter 1:8-9 say, 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. The Greek word for “souls” here is not the word of spirit. It’s the word psuché (psoo-khay’) which we get the English word psychology (The scientific study of the human mind and mental states). Psuché refers to the vital breath, breath of life, the soul as the seat of affections and will, the self.
Have you ever felt like you were losing your mind? “the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls” it the salvation of you mind. Romans 12:1 says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” The Greek word for “mind” means the same in English. It means the mind, reasoning faculty. It’s the God-given capacity of each person to think (reason).
I don’t know about you but my mind needs saving every day. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says,
3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Do you want to spend the rest of your life lying on the same old matt, feeling hopeless with things remaining pretty much the statuesque? Maybe you’re in your comfort zone, resigned to an unhappy, unfulfilled life. There is deliverance awaiting your response. Don’t you think or feel like it’s time to “Get up. Pick up your mat and walk.”?
See a video of this message on YouTube at https://youtu.be/v1jDYZQNMdw