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The Scriptorium

Miracle at the Feast

Jesus' miracle stirs up confrontation. What else is new?

The Gospel of John: John 5.1-15

Read and meditate on John 5.1-15.

The coming of Christ’s Kingdom does not require big announcements, expansive marketing schemes, elaborate facilities, highly-credentialed staff, or clever programming. Just grace. And courage.

it was, a feast was held, and Jesus went
up to Jerusalem. 2A pool is there
beside the Sheep Gate, called Bethesda, 3where
a multitude of people gathered to
be healed – the sick, blind, lame, or any who
were paralyzed. 5A certain man was there
who had for many years been made to bear
with an infirmity. 6When Jesus saw
him lying there, and knew that he had for
those many years been ill, He said unto
him, “Do you want to be made well?” 7“I do,”
he said, “but I have no one who can set
me in the stirred-up pool. Someone will step
down in the pool before me.” 8Jesus said
to him, “Rise now, my friend. Take up your bed
and walk.” 9And suddenly, the man was well!
He took his bed and walked. (Now I must tell
you, this was on the Sabbath.) 10Then the Jews
said to him, “It’s the Sabbath Day, and you
may not do any work on it, as you
are doing, carrying your bed.” 11Then to
them he replied, “But He Who made me well
told me to take my bed and walk.” 12“So tell
us Who this is Who spoke to you this way,
that you should take your bed and disobey
the Law,” they said to him. 13He did not know,
however, Who it was Who made him so,
for Jesus had withdrawn, to get away
from all the crowds. 14But later on that day
He found him in the temple, and He said
to him, “See, you are well. And now, instead
of sinning, sin no more, lest something worse
befall you.” 15Then the man went to report
that it was Jesus Who had healed him.

- John 5.1-15

1.  In what ways is this story of Jesus’ encounter with the lame man similar to the previous encounters we have seen (Nicodemus, Samaritan woman, Capernaum nobleman)? How should these similarities instruct us? Complete this prayer: Lord, I want to learn from watching You, like John and the others did. Help me today…

2.  Can you see any differences in this story from the others? How should these differences instruct us in our walk with the Lord and our work in our Personal Mission Field? Every person is different, Lord, so I must…

3.  The Word of Christ is powerful to heal. Is it powerful to save? How powerful? That is, with what kinds of people? People such as the ones in your Personal Mission Field? Lord, I believe that Your Word is powerful! Help me to…

4.  In this situation, grace and courage triumph over fear and infirmity by the power of God’s Word. How would you state this as a principle to guide your witness for the Lord? Give me grace and courage today, Lord, and equip me with Your Word so that…

5.  It did not bother Jesus that He unsettled the settled traditions and practices of His day. He was on a mission from God. Should we be concerned that our witness for Christ might upset some people’s view of what is right or appropriate or true? Explain. Bring together into one prayer the prayers you composed for questions 1-4.

“Of so many who lay sick, only one was healed; although, had he chosen to do so, our Lord could have restored them all by a single word. How should we account for this? We might suppose that his power and goodness were asserted more for imparting knowledge of eternal salvation to the soul than for working a temporal cure on the body.… That which received the temporal cure was certain to decay at some point when death arrived, whereas the soul that believed passed into eternal life.” Augustine 9354-430 AD)

The fear of men and the grip of sin are no match for people of grace and courage who are on a mission from God. How should you apply this lesson in your life today?

Closing Prayer
Praise the LORD!
Sing to the LORD a new song,
AndHis praise in the assembly of saints.
Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;
Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.
Let them praise His name with the dance;
Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.
For the LORD takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the humble with salvation.
Let the saints be joyful in glory;
Let them sing aloud on their beds.
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth,
And a two-edged sword in their hand…

Psalm 149.1-6

Psalm 149 (Toulon: I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art)
Sing to the Lord a glorious song and new!
Praise Him you people, to Whom praise is due!
Let us rejoice, let us be glad in Him
Who has created us and cleansed our sin.

Praise Him with dance, with tambourine and lyre!
To be so praised is God’s one great desire.
Lord, beautify Your holy ones with grace;
Show us the mercy of Your saving face.

Sing to the Lord, exult with great delight!
Sing on your beds with joy to God by night!
Sing praise and take His Word into your hand;
Publish His grace and wrath in every land!

T. M. Moore

Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course, One in Twelve: Introduction to Christian Worldview, can show you how Jesus is central to all aspects of life in the world – and beyond! Our course is free, and you can study at your own pace, watching videos and using the free materials provided.

We are happy to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in our series on the Gospel of John by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV a and b: John, edited by Joel C. Elowsky, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. Verse translation of John by T. M. Moore.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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