"And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, He saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered Him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath."
Christ's compassion on the needs of others is an ever present reminder of God's life-giving character. God's nature is to relieve the oppressed, comfort the downtrodden, loose the prisoners, heal the sick, and restore men. A Christian must emulate this character. An unconcerned believer is a spiritually sick believer. Christ never turned a blind eye to people's needs. Thirty-eight years is a long time to be crippled. At this point, everyone would have given up hope for the man's recovery apart from a miracle. Jesus says, "Wilt thou be made whole?" This question can certainly be viewed in a physical context, but viewing it in a spiritual context is not doing any injustice to the Scriptures. "Wilt thou be made spiritually whole?" The Scriptures have born witness to many generations of God's love toward mankind. He has offered life through belief in His Son and the message rings throughout the ages, "Wilt thou be made whole?" But many do not wish to be made whole. Too many people love their sin too much to flee to God. Jesus said concerning unbelieving people, "...ye will not come to Me...." People lie sick in their sin, pining away in their degradation and still find it in their hearts to say No to God. Had this man asked Christ for forgiveness of sins his wish would have been granted as fast as that of the penitent woman spoken of in Luke chapter seven; however, this man asks for neither physical nor spiritual healing but dwells upon all the obstacles to his healing. Doubtless, to some degree he must have been greatly discouraged having observed for many years someone else stepping down into the healing waters. His address of Sir is the same word translated many other places as Lord. Here, the title is not used in recognition of Christ's position but rather as a common address of respect. Christ does not leave him in that state despite his ignorance, discouragement and lack of faith but says to him, "Rise, take up thy bed, and walk." The tense of these commands is different. The first two commands are a one time, point in time action, and the third command has the idea of commencement followed by continuous action. The idea is this, "Rise at once and take up your bed at once and begin walking and keep on walking." Christ speaks with divine authority as He clearly demonstrates His superiority over even the angel-touched waters. God the Father had sent a greater Healer than an angel; He had sent His only Son. No delay is seen between the command and the healing. A common trait of false prophets who masquerade as healers is their need to have "time" to heal. This is due to the fact that they are liars and have no God-given power to heal. Christ gave the command, and immediately the deed was done. The Scripture adds, "...and the same day was the Sabbath." As Christ stated in Matthew 12:12, "...it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath....", thus fulfilling God's law of love for Him and neighbor.
Though many who were healed never thanked Christ or gave God glory, Jesus did not hold back from doing good to all people. A lack of gratitude or recognition would deter most from seeking the welfare of others, but God's nature is not so, because He has come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10).