Humble Hero


Bethesda and the Sanhedrin

This chapter is based on John 5.

“Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed.” HH 86.1

At certain times the waters of this pool were agitated, and many people believed that this was supernatural and that whoever stepped in first would be healed of whatever disease he had. Hundreds of sufferers visited the place; but the crowd was so great when the water was troubled that they trampled underfoot men, women, and children weaker than themselves. Many who succeeded in reaching the pool died on its brink. People had put up shelters around the place. Some of the sick spent the night in these porches, creeping to the edge of the pool day after day, hoping for relief. HH 86.2

Jesus was again at Jerusalem. Walking alone, in apparent meditation and prayer, He came to the pool. Seeing the poor sufferers, He longed to exercise His healing power and make every one of them whole. But it was the Sabbath day, and He knew that such an act of healing would stir up the prejudice of the Jews so much that it would cut short His work. HH 86.3

The Savior, however, saw one case of supreme wretchedness, a man who had been a helpless cripple for thirty-eight years. People considered his disease as a judgment from God. Alone and friendless and feeling shut out from God’s mercy, the suffering man had spent long years in misery. When it was expected that the waters would be troubled, those who pitied his helplessness would carry him to the porches. But at the crucial moment, he had no one to help him in. He had seen the rippling of the water, but he had never been able to get farther than the edge of the pool. His constant efforts and continual disappointment were quickly wearing away his strength. HH 86.4

The sick man was lying on his mat when a compassionate face bent over him. The hopeful words, “Do you want to be made well?” got his attention. He felt that in some way he was going to have help. But the glow of encouragement soon faded. He remembered how often he had tried to reach the pool. “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” HH 86.5

Jesus did not ask this suffering man to exercise faith in Him. He simply said, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” But the man’s faith took hold of that word. Every nerve and muscle in his crippled body thrilled with new life. He set his will to obey Christ, and his muscles responded. Springing to his feet, he discovered the he could move freely and easily. HH 87.1