Thoughts and Questions
The idea of Bethesda – v2-7 – (angels stirring water followed by a race for healing) may not be part of our understanding of Church, but it’s clearly part of the Gospel story. Later on it’s stated that Peter’s shadow (Acts 5:15) and handkerchiefs and aprons that had come into contact with Paul (Acts 19:12) brought healing. Other denominations (especially the Catholics) have places of miracles that people flock to in their thousands.
- What are your thoughts on the idea that God has specific places that are more likely to be places of healing than elsewhere?
- It’s easy to be cynical, but if you knew someone who had been to such a place and received a blessing, would you consider going yourself (on behalf of yourself or someone else)?
- Maybe you’ve been to such a place in the past. Spend time prayerfully reflecting on the sights, sounds, in fact the whole experience of that visit.
- At this time of fear and uncertainty it’s good to remind ourselves that God hears our prayers wherever we are. So, let’s pray for ourselves, our Church, our world.
Jesus recognised the need of this individual and, ignoring the normal route (the stirred waters), brought healing to the man. It has always puzzled me – why just this man? In theory there were loads of people there! But Jesus, as we find out, was not only breaking the Sabbath Himself (v8 – by healing), but also encouraging the man to break the Sabbath too (v9 – by carrying the mat).
- What are your own views on things we can and can’t do as Christians on the Sabbath?
- Consider other passages that speak of the Sabbath (e.g. Matthew 12:10; John 7:23; John 9:16). What is Jesus saying within these passages?
- “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” – Mark 2:27. How does this work out in your life?
Jesus not only broke the Sabbath laws, but also referred to God as His Father – v18.
- How could Jesus ‘see’ what God (His Father) was doing? – v19
- How do you understand the fact stated here that Jesus ‘gives life’? – v21