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Background: Some Bibles have verse 4, some don’t. We don’t discuss that verse in this Bible study. Archeological excavations in Jerusalem have revealed the whereabouts of this pool with its colonnades.

  • Imagine what kind of life this man had led under the colonnades of Bethesda for 38 years.
  • How did the first 10 years of illness perhaps differ from the final 10?

  • Why didn’t the relatives of this man take care of him? (7)? (What was perhaps his own fault, what may have been the fault of others?)
  • What impression do you get concerning the character of this man? Look at his words in verse 7.

  • What was the relationship probably like between the sick people who were waiting to get healed?
  • Why didn’t others let this poor man enter the pool first, even though he had been there longer than them?

  • What did this man actually believe in? (Where did he expect to get help from?)
  • What kind of strange “remedies” do sick people rely on in our own day?

  • What was the sin of this man which Jesus referred to in verse 14?

  • Why do you think Jesus decided to approach this particular man, instead of some other sufferer?
  • Why did Jesus ask the man a self-evident question (6)?
  • Why didn’t the man answer Jesus’ question clearly (7)?

  • According to Jesus, what is worse than suffering that lasts thirty-eight long years (14)?
  • What, according to Jesus, is worse for you than your present suffering?

  • For what purpose do you think the man went to the temple after being healed (14)?
  • When did this man come to believe in Jesus?

  • Why did the healed man do as he did in verse 15? Think of various possible explanations.
  • Jesus must have known beforehand how this incident would end. Why, then, did he heal the man?

  • What does this text teach us concerning the HIV/AIDS problem?

    GLAD TIDINGS: In the end Jesus had to bear the same fate as the man in the Text: he was abandoned by all. Jesus even had to experience something worse than an illness of thirty-eight years: he was forsaken by his Heavenly Father when he was hanging on the cross. That is why he is now able to say to anyone who has been abandoned: “You have some one who cares for you. You have me!”

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