Thursday: The Faith to Act

Jesus revealed the Father’s compassion and love through the miracles that He performed.

Image © Providence Collection from

Image © Providence Collection from

He healed palsied bodies in order to reveal an even greater ability to heal palsied souls. He restored twisted arms and legs in order to demonstrate His greater desire to restore twisted hearts and minds. Jesus’ miracles teach us something about how to exercise faith. They teach us valuable lessons about growth and change.

One of Jesus’ most powerful illustrations of the power of faith is found in the miracle of the sufferer at the pool of Bethesda. The poor man lay by the pool for thirty-eight years. He was hopeless. His life seemed doomed to wretchedness, poverty, and suffering until Jesus came.

Read John 5:1-14. Why do you think Jesus asked the man, “Do you want to be made well?” (John 5:6, NKJV). Isn’t it rather obvious that anyone suffering for so long would want to be healed? What was Jesus’ motive here? What was the man’s response? (John 5:7).

Jesus did not listen to the man’s excuse. He did not counter the excuse with an argument. He simply said, “ ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’ ” (John 5:8, NKJV). The essential question was, Would this poor sick man believe the word of Christ and act upon it in spite of what he was experiencing? As soon as the man resolved to act upon the word of Christ, He was made whole. Jesus’ gift of healing was in His word. Christ’s word carried with it the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish that which Christ declares.

“If you believe the promise—believe that you are forgiven and cleansed—God supplies the fact; you are made whole, just as Christ gave the paralytic power to walk when the man believed that he was healed. It is so if you believe it.

“Do not wait to feel that you are made whole, but say, ‘I believe it; it is so, not because I feel it, but because God has promised.’”-Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 51.

Why is it so important to believe God’s promises for forgiveness, especially when we feel so condemned and guilty for our sins? Why must forgiveness precede reformation in our lives? Why is it important to believe that we can overcome through Christ’s power in our lives, even now?



Thursday: The Faith to Act — 17 Comments

  1. There are a couple of things I would like to say here. First, the belief of the Jews concerning the troubling of the waters of the pool was Satanic. I was a me first attitude that said the first one in gets the prize. I think Ellen White pictured the whole thing correctly when she said, "so great was the crowd when the water was troubled that they rushed forward, trampling underfoot men, women, and children, weaker than themselves" (DA 201.2) and concerning the helplessness of the man himself, "He could not contend successfully with the selfish, scrambling crowd" (DA 202.1).

    The second thing is that Jesus does not demand faith without some kind of evidence. We are not to have blind faith any more than the disciples were to have it. Jesus demonstrated who He was to them for about a year before formally calling them to full time ministry. Their faith was based on what they saw and heard just as it was with them after the resurrection when He demonstrated that He had actually risen (Lk 24:38-46).

    • Hi Tyler, Thanks for the post. One question that prevails though is why did Jesus not challenge the "legend of the pool" head on. I agree that in essence the thought that a super natural element lay behind what must have been certain evidences that occurred over time is dubious. The silence of Jesus on this issue is at first glance rather conspicuous. My impression is that ministry in its mature form does not always have to confront sin or evil "head-on". By the presence of Jesus at this place and the act of addressing what must have been one of the most severest ailments there he quietly and subtly offers the authentic remedy for healing and cure for sin. What more evidence can we require than ourselves, here we are millennia after this event, the "legend of pool" no longer appeals to those who are sick and yet millions have sought and continue to seek the touch from the hand of him that caused the lame to walk.

  2. Agreed Tyler. Though Ellen White does not use the extreme words, "Satanic" she does describe it this way, "At certain seasons the waters of this pool were agitated, and it was commonly believed that this was the result of supernatural power, and that whoever first after the troubling of the pool stepped into the waters, would be healed of whatever disease he had." -Desire of Ages page 201. Thus her description does let us know it was legend and not truth. God would never set up a system where the "me first" mentality would be rewarded so I guess in that sense it would be satanic but then again so is the me first mentality wherever it is found, though "human nature" would be an accurate label as well.

    • Thanks for the clarification, William. I used the term "Satanic" because all selfishness originated with Satan and couldn't think of any other way such a thought could have become part of Jewish thinking.

  3. What thought-provoking lessons there are in this one incident in the life of Christ!

    Jesus wanted to help the man, and the man responded with a statement based on false assumptions regarding the healing powers of the pool. Jesus knew very well that those assumptions were false, yet He did not respond with an argument to set him straight! Instead He proceeded directly to minister to the man's need.

    How much more effective would we be if we argued less and ministered more?

    And the paralyzed man gives a wonderful demonstration of the simple trust that allows God to work in our lives: Jesus said it, he believed it, and in acting on it, he was healed.

    It's just that simple for each of us too: If we trust Him and act on His word, He supplies the necessary power to do whatever He asks us to do!

    Ellen White's comments on that story are illuminating:

    The sick man was lying on his mat, and occasionally lifting his head to gaze at the pool, when a tender, compassionate face bent over him, and the words, “Wilt thou be made whole?” arrested his attention. Hope came to his heart. He felt that in some way he was to have help. But the glow of encouragement soon faded. He remembered how often he had tried to reach the pool, and now he had little prospect of living till it should again be troubled. He turned away wearily, saying, “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 does not ask this sufferer to exercise faith in Him. He simply says, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” But the man’s faith takes hold upon that word. Every nerve and muscle thrills with new life, and healthful action comes to his crippled limbs. Without question he sets his will to obey the command of Christ, and all his muscles respond to his will. Springing to his feet, he finds himself an active man.

    Jesus had given him no assurance of divine help. The man might have stopped to doubt, and lost his one chance of healing. But he believed Christ’s word, and in acting upon it he received strength.

    Through the same faith we may receive spiritual healing.(Desire of Ages, p. 202)

    The whole chapter in Desire of Ages is inspiring. 🙂 (Just click on the link right now.)

  4. It is important for us to have faith and reclaim God's promise of forgiveness. To experience true revival and reformation we need to act in faith. Let us not be like the man at the pool and start giving excuses to God about our spiritual sicknesses. Christ is calling us, we need to respond, He doesn’t want our excuses. Like Christ told the man at the pool ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’, He is also telling us to rise and walk out of our mistakes (our spiritual weaknesses) and be united with Him. The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving. He loves us so much.

  5. I am thankful that God gives rest before labor just as He created evening before morning so we sleep before rising to our day of work (Genesis 1). I am also thankful that His way brings healing before service. I cannot reform fully until I have that healing touch of God in my heart and life. Still, I must rely upon His promises for his miracles to help me heal and be an overcomer.

  6. Was it Faith or Fear that the lame man acted on? I belive its was God word pick up your Bed and walk;Its power in the WORD of GOD.When the Lord speaks things will happen.Jesus is the Word.

  7. Feelings are unstable, the are here today and they are gone tomorrow. Therefore, it's very important to have faith in God's word and his promises. God's Word has power to forgive and transform lives like no other power in this world.
    Forgiveness come before reformation, since a forgiven sinner is more willing to believe and trust God's working power in his/her life and to perform a miraculous change or reformation in his/her life.
    When God forgives sinners and he also gives them power to overcome their sinful tendencies through the Holy Spirit's power. When a person uses faith to believe that overcoming is possible through God's power this makes a revival and reformation possible for with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).

  8. I believe that Jesus was determining the motivation of the man at the pool. Just as He determines our own willingness to be healed (many of us say we want healing, but really don't deep inside). Once He was assured that the man really wanted to be healed of his infirmity, He aided him to be healed by the true supernatural power, just as we should be.

  9. Yes its a matter of faith. The paralyzed man acted from what his Healer told him. "take up your mat and go" Today Christ is saying that we "rise up from our sinful state and start a new life of healing and forgivenes"

  10. There is this proverb which says "heaven helps those who help themselves" meaning when the man at the pool helped himself by having faith, Jesus healed him.This simply mean God knows all our needs but we must have faith in Him and they shall be met.

  11. I would really like know why Jesus asked the man "Would you like to be healed?" when the man was obviously suffering.

    • Jaycee--

      I cannot presume to know exactly why Jesus asked that particular man that question. Still as one who has suffered over 40 years from a chronic illness, I have some clues. Being so long in a state, one can get into a dark place of hopelessness. The thoughts may not even get close to thinking of a way out anymore. Instead, the mind can decide that there is no way out and no one can help. However in order to make way for whatever physical and mental healing God will provide day by day and for eventual total healing, someone like that man and like me must keep our hearts open to the healing. We must choose God's healing touch and do the things we can do to help ourselves to be as healthy as we can be. It is sort of like the option to "Choose Life" that Jesus offers to each of us.

      • Jackie, thanks for your comment. So basically, Jesus had to get the man's attention to the possibility of healing, away from the hopelessness of his situation. Once that happened, Jesus gave him an opportunity to exercise his faith and be healed. Wonderful!

  12. "He healed palsied bodies in order to reveal an even greater ability to heal palsied souls. He restored twisted arms and legs in order to demonstrate His greater desire to restore twisted hearts and minds"
    this is my quote of the week. believers lets all believe and act on HIS WORDS, HE is the WORD

  13. It's easy to say that we have faith, but, what kind of faith? Is it waivering faith, working faith, or faith seeing proof? It's written that patient faith, working faith with love, long suffering faith is the genuine faith like the faith of many martyrs in the bible. Until without seeing anything, faith that "hope" is the only foundation because of God's promises......


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