The lame man answered the wrong question when Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be well?” Sometimes we do the same thing.
Answering the Wrong Question
1Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 2Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.
5One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
7″Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
8Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
The day on which this took place was a Sabbath….
The Setting of Today’s Story
Jesus had traveled to Jerusalem for a feast day, possibly the Passover, but we’re not sure. In any event, it was an occasion on which Jews gathered in Jerusalem, and so Jesus goes there, too.
John then shifts his focus, like a movie director giving us a preview of what is about to happen. John tells us that in Jerusalem, and actually very close to the Temple, is a place called the Sheep Gate. The Sheep Gate is probably where sheep for Temple sacrifice were brought in — kind of a one-way trip for most of them, I’m certain.