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John 5:1-18 Study Guide: Do You Want to be Healed?

Community Group Study Guide — Do You Want to be Healed?
John 5:1-18

Study Information:

Jesus went to a place that was a common gathering place for people with physical issues looking to be healed. This crowd would try to rush down into the water when the water was “stirred up” so they could be healed. This practice was rooted in a myth, there was an air pressure issue in the spring that led to this pool being filled up that would cause it to bubble at times, but they assumed that it had a mystical property. Notice that Jesus does not use the pool to heal this man, but he does use the occasion to address his heart. This man had been sitting there day by day for 38 years and when Jesus asked him about it the man makes a series of excuses about why he has not pursued healing. The question Jesus asks him is pretty starting considering how long the man was paralyzed and how long the man had been there that particular day (John 5:5-6). “Do you want to be healed?” We’d all assume the obvious answer was “yes” but apparently it was not so obvious. After hearing this mans excuses Jesus tells him to “get up, take up your bed and walk.”

The pharisees did not like this because Jesus healed on the sabbath and was doing “work.” Notice how Jesus talks about “work” in this passage and tells them that his Father is working and he is working (John 5:17). The sabbath is less about avoiding work and more about wholeness and Jesus just made this paralyzed man whole through his miraculous work. That is why Jesus finds him in the temple, a place he previously would have been excluded from and tells him to sin no more so he may remain whole and in God’s presence (John 5:13-14). 

This passage wraps up with the crowd rightly believing that Jesus saw himself as equal with God, which is why he could heal and do things they forbade on the sabbath. The pharisees twisted the purpose of the sabbath and Jesus is showing us what the sabbath was really intended for, healing and wholeness in God’s presence. 

At your community group:

Take 15-20 minutes to share about how God has been at work in your life, prayer concerns and pray for one another.

How did God speak to you through the scripture and the sermon this week? 

Discussion Questions:

Describe the scene at the pool of Bethesda. Who was there, what were they seeking and what would it be like to be there?

Why would Jesus need to ask a man who had been paralyzed for 38 years “do you want to be healed?” 

What are some reasons for Jesus telling the man to sin no more?

What does the response from the Pharisees show us about their heart attitude towards people like the paralyzed man and their attitude towards the work of Jesus?

What situations in your life do you find that you are tempted to make excuses so you do not have to respond to God or look to him?