The Cripple Healed

The Cripple Healed

By Georead

In the story of John 5:2-16 there were many disabled people waiting at the pool of Bethesda hoping to be healed. They believed at certain times they could be healed in the waters of the pool. Among the disabled was a certain man that had been a helpless cripple for thirty eight years. Jesus had pity on his case of extreme suffering and healed him. He said Rise, take up thy bed, and walk

The man did as Jesus instructed. But the Jews confronted him saying, it is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. The Jews asked him, “Who instructed you to carry your bed on the Sabbath day.” Later the man revealed that it was Jesus. Therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.

According to the Scriptures, Jesus never once sinned, nor did he ever deliberately tell anyone to go and sin. Therefore when Jesus told this man to take up his bed on the Sabbath day it must have been in harmony with the Sabbath Commandment.

The Jews taught that it was not lawful to bear a burden on the Sabbath day. Jeremiah 17:21,22 Thus saith the LORD; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day. The Jews further codified this defining what burden could or could not be carried on the Sabbath day. For example, the law of the scribes reads: “food equal in weight to a dried fig, enough wine for mixing in a goblet, milk enough for one swallow, honey enough to put upon a wound, oil enough to anoint a small member, water enough to moisten an eye-salve,” and so on and on.

The burden the man carried was his bed. It could perhaps be rolled up and carried under one arm. It wasn’t a great burden but it exceeded the amount the Jews considered lawful. Even so, Jesus had told him to do it. The far greater burden he had carried was the thirty eight years of infirmity which Jesus removed.

There appears to be two laws at work in this story. God’s law in which acts of necessity and mercy are permitted on the Sabbath {PP 308.1} and man’s laws which are needlessly pedantic and so utterly inconvenient they became burdensome to keep.

In John Chapter 15 Jesus says “I am the vine, ye are the branches.” Disconnected from Christ the branches cannot live. The Jews were as branches attempting to produce fruit with no vital connection to the vine. They sought earn salvation independent of Christ. Also, since they could not produce fruit and keep God’s law they began to devise human laws around and about the Commandments.

The effort to earn salvation by one’s own works inevitably leads men to pile up human exactions as a barrier against sin. For, seeing that they fail to keep the law, they will devise rules and regulations of their own to force themselves to obey. {MB 123.1}

The Ten Commandments are like a beautiful white building with gold writing. But when men try to keep them independent of Christ they will, inevitably, find they can’t. Thus they build an ugly human scaffold up around this beautiful white building until it totally obscures the view of the people. This is what had occurred with the Sabbath commandment in the days of the Jews

There were many disabled and sick at the pool of Bethesda. Jesus could have healed every one of them. What prevented Him from doing this? He longed to exercise His healing power, and make every sufferer whole. But it was the Sabbath day. Multitudes were going to the temple for worship, and He knew that such an act of healing would so excite the prejudice of the Jews as to cut short His work.  {DA 201.3} If Jesus had healed them such a prejudice would have been raised He would have been put to death as a Sabbath breaker. Healing only one person caused them to seek his life. Imagine the outcry if He had healed them all.

Since the Jews had become so fanatical about the minutiae of human laws they missed out on a great blessing. On that Sabbath day Jesus could have healed many more souls and it would have been a great blessing to the nation. We can only wonder how many other blessing the human race has missed out on because of similar attitudes.

We don’t know exactly how this man came to be crippled for so many years. But it is written that, his disease was in a great degree the result of his own sin {DA 202.1}

There is a comparison we can make between physical and spiritual disability. Romans 3:23 All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Human beings have severed their connection with God, and their souls have become palsied and strengthless by the deadly poison of sin. {CTr 32.2}

We lose our connection with God through sin. Each time we sin, we lose more of our sense of conscience. If we keep on sinning our conscience becomes dead to wrong doing. This condition can be likened to a physically paralysed body with no sense of feeling. The lives of those who are paralysed is shortened because their muscles and organs waste away through lack of use, lack of blood flow and toxins that build up. Likewise spiritual paralysis will destroy and debilitate the character.

In John chapter 15 when the branch is connected to the vine it allows the sap to flow bringing life to the branch. But when the branch is disconnected from the vine how quickly it dies and wastes away.

Spiritually speaking we are all totally crippled. Our efforts to overcome sin by ourselves are completely impotent. We are the same as this impotent man trying to get to the pool of Bethesda. We need that vital connection with Jesus. This is the only way we can be ready for heaven.

Through the same faith we may receive spiritual healing. By sin we have been severed from the life of God. Our souls are palsied. Of ourselves we are no more capable of living a holy life than was the impotent man capable of walking. There are many who realize their helplessness, and who long for that spiritual life which will bring them into harmony with God; they are vainly striving to obtain it. In despair they cry, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death?” Romans 7:24, margin. {DA 203.2} 

Jesus can heal both physical and spiritual diseases. He turned away none who came to receive His healing power. He knew that those who petitioned Him for help had brought disease upon themselves, yet He did not refuse to heal them. And when virtue from Christ entered into these poor souls they were convicted of sin, and many were healed of their spiritual disease as well as of their physical maladies. The gospel still possesses the same power, and why should we not today witness the same results?  {CH 30.1}

When the formerly crippled man met Jesus in the temple He warns him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. Would he continue in sin when it had contributed to his disease and caused so many years of suffering? No. We believe he was cured both physically and spiritually. Jesus forgives sin. He can heal spiritual paralysis. But He does not indulge human beings in further sin.

Sin is like a great debt we can never repay. Just as there was no way that this cripple man could undo the physical damage to his body. What is done is done. Nothing can change it. But connecting with Jesus brings life again to a dead branch. The branches not connected to the vine are fit only for burning. But as brands plucked from the fire, (Zechariah 3:20), connected with Christ we can have life for evermore.

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