Cover to Cover
The Jews went to Jerusalem for a feast. We are not sure which feast it was.
There were two parts to the pool of Bethesda, located outside the temple, now known as the double pool at the Church of St. Anne. The pools were mikvehs (gathering of waters), or purification baths. These mikvehs were built outside the temple for purification for anyone in need of cleansing.
There were five porches for the pools at Bethesda, or porticos, which were covered areas with columns. There were steps that led into the pools. The name Bethesda means “house of mercy.” In Bethesda, an angel was known to stir the water, then whoever stepped into the water first would be healed. Many sick people came to the water in hopes of being healed.
Jesus saw the crowd of sick people waiting to get into the water. This “certain” man was there who had been sick for 38 years. Jesus walked up to the man and asked him, “Do you want to be made well (whole)?” The man did, but he was focused on the water and his inability to get in first. Jesus said, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” Jesus saw the man’s insufficiency, and became His more-than-enough!
The miracle took place on the Sabbath. The Sabbath represented rest and dependency on God, and this man had found sufficiency in the Lord. The religious Jews were not shy to point out each other’s faults and rule-breaking. They pointed out that the man was carrying his bed on the Sabbath, which broke a rule.
The man answered, “He who made me well (whole) said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.” The man who performed the miracle with authority and power gave the man instruction and he was obedient. So the religious Jews ask who spoke with this authority, but the healed man did not know. Jesus had gone into the crowd.
Afterward, Jesus spoke to the man in the temple to tell him not to sin so that a worse thing would not come on him. Sin can open the door to sickness. Once the man knew who healed him, he told the Jews the answer to their question – it was Jesus who told him to carry his bed on the Sabbath, and it was Jesus who ministered a miracle to the man.
The religious Jews wanted to kill Jesus for breaking the law and for calling Jehovah His Father, as if He were equal with God. Jesus explained the relationship He shared with God. Jesus spoke to them about the miracles, saying that God would do even greater miracles so that they would marvel and wonder at what was happening. Jesus was sent to the Jews, so He wanted to win as many as He could.
When we minister, if someone isn’t receiving us (or rather the One who sent us), then he or she may try to find fault in us in order to condemn us. For this reason, among others, we should try to be blameless for the sake of Christ. Still, if an accusation is against us, we should point to the mercy of God and our salvation we have in Him. They need that mercy, too. We all do!
2 Kings 9-11
Jehu is anointed as the tenth king of Israel. This ends Ahab’s dynasty. Jezebel was still alive and perhaps influenced idolatry during the reigns of Ahaziah and Jehoram. The Lord used Ahab to fulfill Elijah’s prophecy, and cleansed the governments by killing Jezebel, Joram, Ahab’s 70 sons, Ahab’s 42 brothers, and the rest of Ahab’s family. Then he destroys Baal worship and burns their temple.
In our lives, if there is something that is not lined up with God’s plan for our lives, it is best if we get rid of all of it, without keeping anything around that could give the devil a foothold. Why mess about with bondage? Jesus came to set us COMPLETELY free!