In the healing of the crippled man at Bethesda (John 5:1-16), the man clearly desires to be healed, but no one would help him down to the pool (verse 7). The Bible's mention of this detail is an intentional rebuke of the heartlessness and meanness of human nature. It was every man for himself.
Despite the man's frustration, he still maintains good manners by acknowledging Jesus as "Sir." This word, the Greek kurios, appears over 700 times in the New Testament. Hundreds of times it is translated as "Lord" or "lord," but as "Sir" only about a dozen times. The term shows respect and honor for Christ. In today's society, we see quite a contrast to this example. The opposite attitude is usually present when people address each other, and even when children address parents.
Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Cripple by a Pool (Part Two)
After his miraculous healing, the man heads to the Temple, probably to praise and thank God for his wonderful blessing. There, Christ instructs him in the spiritual principle of overcoming sin. The Jews viewed the Temple, not only as a place of thanksgiving, but also one of spiritual teaching and learning. Similarly, worship on the Sabbath with others of like mind creates a place of essential spiritual instruction for living God's way of life. People who avoid formal worship of God miss out on vital instruction and will be spiritually unprepared for God's Kingdom.
The man's healing was instantaneous, but the learning is not. It is a long process that requires both instruction (hearing) and application (doing). It takes time to grow in grace and knowledge (James 1:23-25; II Peter 3:17-18; Isaiah 28:9-10), as well as patience and discipline.
Christ warns the healed man not to go back to sinful conduct, indicating that his crippled condition resulted from sin. All sickness is not caused by our own personal sin, as John 9 shows in the example of the man blind from birth. Sometimes ill health is the effect of our forebears' sins or the accumulated sins of a whole society.
Jesus' warning, "Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you," is always apt because human nature, especially when encouraged by Satan, easily degenerates into sin. The experience of renewed health should instill in us a deeper repulsion of sin, a greater watchfulness for its pitfalls, and a more purposeful determination to overcome it. When we experience healing, we would all do well to remember Christ's warning.
Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Cripple by a Pool (Part Three)
Spiritually, He says to us: "See, I've called you out of this evil world and healed you. You must now stop sinning—repent of your wicked ways—lest you return to the world and end up worse than when you started!"
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Are These the Last Days? (Part 2)
Jesus' healing of the crippled man beside the pool called Bethesda is one of nine healing miracles involving water and one of seven performed on the Sabbath. Only the apostle John records it (John 5:1-16). It is impossible to be sure when the miracle occurred other than it happened on a Sabbath day.
John's reference to "a feast of the Jews" (John 5:1) rather than a "feast of the Lord" (Exodus 12:14; Leviticus 23:2, 37) illustrates the spiritual decline that had occurred among the Jews regarding God's feast days. People may typically start out with God being central to their worship, but they end up getting in the way and become the main focus themselves. The people had made this festival a feast of the people instead of continuing it as God's feast.
In His journey from Galilee to Jerusalem, Jesus expended a considerable amount of effort to be there in time for this Sabbath. In doing this, He set an example in terms of spiritual priorities and the sacrifices involved in putting spiritual matters first. Some Christians are unclear about spiritual priorities, desiring a convenient religion that requires little inconvenience and no sacrifice. Frequently, those who complain most about not getting enough out of church are often those who attend sporadically and involve themselves the least in church activities. Jesus, on the other hand, took great pains to fellowship and to help the people, especially on the Sabbath.
Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Cripple by a Pool (Part One)
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing John 5:14: