Want to be Healthy?…

Healing the disabled in our Bethesda Pools

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Matthew 16:19

In these last days, I have been confronted by the story of the healing of the handicapped of Bethesda, a story that the writer of the Gospel presents as the third of the seven signs that Jesus worked during his ministry on earth.

Not that they were the only signs that Jesus did, but the most important, those that mark a spiritual teaching to establish by them protocols of operation for the establishment of the work of God in the regions.

This is the third post I have written since the date the Lord prompted me to read about it.

It is a teaching that the Lord has been giving me regarding the “work” of God, how to establish it, and what establishment purposes to pursue with it. It is, of course, a subject of spiritual warfare strategy which seeks to destroy the devil’s work in the places to which He sends us.

However, I have had a personal concern about the reason that led Jesus to get out of the way –He was going to the Temple– and to look in that place for this handicapped person in order to heal him. Although the account testifies that an angel descended at a certain time to the pool, and stirred the water; and that which first descended into the pool after the movement of the water, was healed of whatever disease it had; (verse 4) neither the curiosity could be an attraction to be there;  in reality no one was interested in being there, there was no attraction, it was a nauseating place, because of the presence of the sheep that came to the place, and because of the amount of dirty sick people that inhabited the place.

On the other hand, why did you choose this sick person, if the text clearly says that there was a multitude of sick, of blind, halt, and withered, waiting for the movement of water? (verse 3) Why among so many did Jesus choose the handicapped? Why not another sick?

There is an apparent answer to our question: When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case,(verse 6) however, the long time that the paralytic had been sick could not be the true cause, because in multiple other cases of healings, Jesus healed, liberated, resurrected, those who had not suffered so long because of a disease. Time was simply the factor that would make his case testify for itself.

The real reason is found in the answer that the handicapped person presents, explaining the cause of why he is still in the place,

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. (Verse 7)

Jesus found truth in the handicapped. The disabled person was truthful in referring to the state of his condition. His condition was due to two factors, to his physical inability to fend for himself, and to the consciousness that had been inculcated in him from the moment he arrived in Bethesda looking for an answer to his illness.

Diseases do not come by themselves, we summon them. Disease is not the result of human deterioration, because of old age, or because of the environment; disease is the result of establishing for oneself depraved conduct in direct opposition to the Will of God,

As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come. Proverbs 26:2

Disease first appears in the spirit, then, with time, it appears in the flesh. In one of his teachings, Jesus established that it is man himself who defiles his own body, and makes it diseased,

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: Matthew 15:18, 19

Man defiles his flesh by the wickedness that is in his heart.

Now, seeing the process of defilement in a positive way, when man amends his way (many situations of pain and suffering come to cause man to amend his way), the heart is transformed and instead of coming out perversity and defile his flesh, comes out truthfulness that encourages God to move toward him. repentance produces truth, and the truth makes God approach the person.

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Psalm 34:18

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Psalm 51:17

Man brings healing to his body when he amends the wickedness of his heart, repents, and is truthful in his daily life.

Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Isaiah 6:10

This is what made Jesus choose the handicapped from among the many sick people who lay in the place. He found truth in the words of the handicapped, no perversity came out of his heart.

Why don’t our words have authority? Because our words speak well but there is no truth, they are declarations of falsehood, of vanity, of justification, only to look good in front of others.

Why do people doubt our feelings, our motivations? Because our attitudes are not truthful, they lack truth; one thing is said but there are hidden plans.

There are many who profess faith in Jesus but live in wickedness of heart. This is what defiles the body and then comes disease and death.

The handicapped person spoke the truth: I have no one, but there was no anger, no courage, no rebellion, and no hatred against God for being in that condition. The time of suffering had crushed him, and he had sacrificed all that was perverse in his heart, and now he could speak the truth.

We could say that both questions have already been answered; however, we still have to answer the question, what was Jesus’ real reason for going astray on the road and passing through Bethesda before arriving at the Temple?

Didn’t Jesus change his route because of the handicapped? Not really, the healing of the disabled was the way Jesus destroyed a satanic cult, which was the real purpose of passing through Bethesda.

The healing of the handicapped of Bethesda goes beyond a simple history of healing, it is the step of an evil situation (a satanic cult to human reasoning, to be more specific) which had been established at the same level as the Temple, and nobody had noticed the focus of spiritual contamination which the place had harbored.

The reader will observe that being a Jewish holiday, people were obliged to go up to the Temple. However, Bethesda had captured a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halts, withered, waiting for the moving of the water, and obviously, they were not obeying the Lord’s command to appear before Him.

14Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year. …  17Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD. Exodus 23:14-17

Jesus deviated from his route and went to Bethesda to establish a work to break the yoke imposed by the reasoning accumulated by the experiences in community, and for the health of the disabled to disrupt the cult of natural knowledge by which people explain and determine their way of life. It was necessary to establish that nothing can direct your life, that man’s life must be directed by his decision to appear before Him, that He is the source of all human well-being.

If the handicapped person had spent almost most of his thirty-eight years of illness in the place,(vs. 5) and he himself admits that there are no possibilities of healing, (vs. 7) Why was he still in the place? What tied him to the place?

It was not faith that kept him in the place; it was the reasoning that the place and his condition had imposed upon him. To the question, Why are you still here? The handicapped man would have answered, and where can I go? Is there any better place than this? It’s the only thing I can do, it’s the only thing I know.

His disability condition and the place had conditioned his ability to discern. The handicapped person was bound by a reasoning; and like him, many.

The place, the pool of Bethesda, had become an altar to human understanding and a cult was rendered to the knowledge acquired, to the know-how derived from daily experiences, to the culturally imposed wisdom. That is why it was necessary for Jesus to pass through Bethesda, to break this monument of accumulated perversion; the healing of a handicapped person of thirty-eight years of disease destroyed all cultivated rationalization.

There are human ties stronger than satanic ones, they are the ties of consciousness. They are ties that bind people to places and circumstances and impose fear so that the person does not even want to consider the possibility of another alternative.

–In this I grew up, in this I am going to die;

this is how my parents taught me, this is how I am going to live;

These are expressions that we find very often in our societies. People who are afraid, who don’t believe that there is another way to do things, who cling to the same methods, for years.

They are altars to popular, cultural, social, and even religious reasoning; in them, there is a movement of darkness.

Wilt thou be made whole?


Pastor Montoya

Twitter: @pastormontoya

My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.

Understanding the healing in the invalid man of Bethesda

But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the Lord. Jeremias 9:24

The story of the healing of the invalid man of Bethesda, as it is best known; the healing of the invalid man who had established his dwelling in the pool of Bethesda, is the story that introduces the reader into the underdeveloped subject among the Jews of who God is.

For Western Christian societies, God is Spirit, the Supreme Being, the Creator of all things, the Almighty who dwells in heaven. Elohim, on the other hand, the God of the Hebrews, the word from which comes the term God of our versions, assumes many names most of them as qualifiers of Elohim’s attributes. The Hebrew does not refer to Him as God because of the belief that they cannot take God’s name in vain, they define Him rather as Adonai, or Hashem.

Elohim, though assuming personal characteristics and attributes, is rather a being that lacks form and transcendence; the Hebrew religious is more interested in the activities that are done for Him than in Himself.

If a Hebrew were asked, who is God? He would surely answer: It does not matter. What ritual should we do for him? That is the important thing.

The men who heard of Him in olden times were not worried about who He is, nor where He is; they got used to seeing Him in the wonders that accompanied His name; so, if the supernatural works were there, it was more than enough. There He was.

The prophet who spoke in His name mattered more. That is why, since the departure of Moses, the prophet who was to come, of whom Moses announced in his writings, the Messiah, is the most important person in the Jewish religious vision.

The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, Deuteronomy 18:15

So, when the reader enters the reading of the healing of the invalid man in Bethesda, chapter five of John’s Gospel, he encounters a great question: Where is God here? And the answer he finds is, God? Why does he have to be here? Do not you realize we’re celebrating? Feast to God!

It is a reading that strikes the Western eyes, it is perceived irreverence to the presence of God. To illustrate, if this scene had occurred anywhere in America, the day would have been turned into a National holiday. But here, in the story, despite the supernatural work of God present, by the mention of the angel and by the very healing of the invalid man, the fact that the healing was done on Shabbat is questioned. What irony!

The story would have lacked spiritual value had it not been for the Words of Jesus:

My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.

Why is this statement important, and what does it state? The statement establishes the need, the urgency –and the opportunity– that man learns to know God.

Who is God, and what does He want from us? The teaching that follows in the story is established according to the didactics of contraposition: the Words and acts of Jesus in contraposition with what the Law established for such situations.

The value of the Words of Jesus is determined by the day when Jesus worked healing.

… And that day was the Sabbath. (verse 9)

The significance that the people acquired on Shabbat goes back to the time of the wilderness pilgrimage, particularly by the way they were fed with bread from heaven. Because of this form chosen by God Himself to supply them with Manna, the people learned that Shabbat was synonymous with not doing any work on that day.

See! For the Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.” 30So the people rested on the seventh day. Exodus 16:29-30

Subsequently, in the enactment of Mosaic Law -Torah- the Law established the following decrees around the Sabbath:

You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Exodus 31:14-15

Now, if we go back to the account of the healing of the invalid man, and compare, we have to:

  • That day, the day of healing was Sabbath; healing is equivalent to “doing healing”, it is work, therefore the act incurs what is subject to penalty;
  • Carrying the bed with him is equivalent to doing work, which makes the action an act also subject to the penalty of the Law. It is understandable that the writer said that, for this reason, the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill him, because he did these things on the Sabbath.(5:16)

But, Jesus said: My Father has been working until now, and I have been working. … Does the Father work on the Sabbath?

The story of the healing of the invalid man in Bethesda, like other similar stories of apparent contradiction, is the ” quiz” of the believer to assess how much we know the God we profess to serve.

Shabbat is the day to work for the benefit of others. It is not about doing absolutely nothing, it is not about paralyzing the work. Shabbat means “to work” but for the benefit of others, that’s why My Father works so far, and I work.

My Father has been working until now, and I have been working. Oh, I see. We have misunderstood.

Six days thou shalt work (for thyself); one day, Shabbat (thou shalt work) for the benefit of thy neighbor.

The Law put a brake on man’s excessive eagerness to multiply wealth by working overtime.

And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. Deuteronomy 8:18

Jesus was right, he had not broken into illegality, his act and the recommendation to the invalid man was in accordance with the Law! It is not a question of doing absolutely nothing.

But how do you come to that conclusion?

The people of Israel were freed from slavery on the Sabbath, the first one according to the new way of measuring time according to the instructions given to Moses.

Let us compare the following texts:

Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. Then they shall eat the flesh on that night (the fourteenth day); roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. …  12For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night (the fourteenth day), and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.   …  51And it came to pass, on that very same day (the fourteenth day), that the Lord brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt according to their armies.  Exodus 12:6-8, 12, 51. The parentheses insertion is for the purpose of illustrating the teaching.

Let’s compare now with other parallel texts,

On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover. 6And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. 7On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it. But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord for seven days. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it. Leviticus 23:5-8

The solemnity of unleavened bread lasted a whole week, from Sabbath to Sabbath. How do we know? Well, Leviticus text says: you shall do no customary work on it, the same instruction is given to Sabbath observance.

On the fourteenth day the paschal lamb was eaten, after the sunset (Exodus 12:6,11); the following day, began the feast of the unleavened bread, which coincided with Sabbath. (Exodus 12:15,16)

According to the account of Exodus, the people went out just after having eaten the paschal lamb, and their departure began the feast of unleavened bread (Exodus 12:39). So, the fifteenth day was Shabbat, as we already saw, the day on which the people of Israel were delivered from slavery.

The testimony that appears in the gospels is also worth here to confirm everything noted. The Gospel accounts point out that Jesus celebrated the Passover lamb supper, which in Christian circles is known as the Last Supper; and they also point out that Jesus was crucified at the end of that week of Unleavened Bread, just the day before the Sabbath Day.

Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. John 19:31

Jesus was honoring the day: Day of deliverance. The invalid man was being freed from the disease and from the consciousness that had bound him for thirty-eight years.

If we review other similar accounts we will see that Jesus acted in function of what had been established as the principle of kingdom life since the founding of the people as a nation.

Sabbath, day of liberation, day to work freedom and blessing for the benefit of others.

So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath? Luke 13:16

The reader can observe in the account of the healing of the invalid man of Bethesda, the assurance in Jesus that his work was according to the work of the Father, even though in doing so he exposed himself to persecution by the Jews.

My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.

To know God is not knowledge, it is not concepts, it is not definitions; to know God is to act according to His Will, it is to do what He wants us to do.

Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. James 4:17

Today, as in the days of the invalid man of Bethesda, many people live by religious knowledge, norms, laws, rites; reasonings that have many prostrate, and persecute others, those who do not act according to the established. These bonds of argument will only be broken when we act according to God’s work… When we know God.


Only those who know God can work!

Go, and do the same.



Pastor Montoya

Twitter: @pastormontoya

Rise, take up thy bed, and walk…

Understanding the healing of the handicapped in the Bethesda pool

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?7The 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. John 5:6-7

The story of the healing of the handicapped of Bethesda is a well-known story in many Christian sectors. It is an impressive story because the place of healing is a historical site, its construction goes back to the time of the restoration of the wall of Jerusalem, after the return from captivity. In it, in its restoration, was involved the High Priest Eliasib along with other priests, who by some miraculous fact of which we have no record, must have called the pool, Bethesda.

Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up the doors of it; even unto the tower of Meah they sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel. Nehemiah 3:1

The writer of the gospel presents this healing as the third sign of the seven signs that Jesus established throughout His earthly ministry, and upon which the message of salvation and eternal life is based. John understands that these signs are the work that the Father commanded him to do,

But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. John 5:36

These signs are to show that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing, you may have life in His name (20:31).

This sign has a particularity that makes it special. It is from this healing that it is pointed out that the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him (5.16). It is therefore the sign that marks the way to the cross, and the way to salvation and eternal life for those who believe in his name. It is the turning point between the prophet who performs miracles and healings, and the Messiah to seek and to save that which was lost.

The disabled person, though not a public figure, is the person chosen by Jesus to establish in him, and by him, the reason for the mystery hidden from antiquity regarding the proclamation that God was made flesh, and dwelt among us.

Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: Colossians 1:26

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14

John presents this healing as a sign because by the way Jesus heals the disabled, along with the conditions of the place and date, the healing process becomes a protocol for Salvation and Eternal Life.

The disabled person goes to the temple as soon as he is healed, an action that turns him into a prototype of the godly human being who seeks God by conviction, and not only by the benefits received; and it is there, in the temple, where the protocol of liberation concludes and he receives the instruction of Salvation and Eternal Life, of “sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee” (5:14).

The Words of Salvation and Eternal Life are contained in the following of Jesus’ instruction.

  • Rise…

The process begins with a personal decision. It is the choice between staying prostrate, or moving to another place. The disabled person had experienced, we don’t know how many times, the frustration of having worked for something and seeing that someone else was taking the benefits… But he was still in the same place, he was tied to the place.

It was not faith that made him stay in the place, he himself confesses that there was no chance for him to be healed, in that place. What made him stay there?

There are ties that have to be broken by decision, and salvation and Eternal Life begins by, and with, a decision. It is the decision that chooses to heed God’s voice and disregard the voice of circumstances. The decision to renounce personal interests by following the path of humiliation to achieve the purposes of why God fixed His eyes on us. The decision to renounce free will and submit to the Lordship of Christ.

Therefore, when Jesus questions the paralytic about whether he wants to be healed, it is not in the form of sarcasm but to draw from him the true desire he had to be healed. The purpose of the question was to confront him with the reality of his state, of his situation. It was necessary for him to make a decision.

Stand up, react, respond … Get out of your state of stupor … Move.

  • Take up thy bed…

Wasn’t it easier to tell him, “Go away? What good would the bed do him? It’s not a good memory! What was Jesus thinking when he ordered him to take the bed?

To take the bed meant to expose oneself. Jesus knew perfectly well that it was Shabbat, and that they were going to question the handicapped as soon as they saw him carrying his bed. The purpose of entrusting him to carry his bed is for the disabled to overcome the impediment that bound him all his life.

To reach Salvation and Eternal Life you have to expose yourself. To carry the bed means, Expose! Don’t be afraid of what they will say, don’t be afraid of criticism, don’t hide from those who will want to humiliate you… Expose.

Personal testimony is the vital part of the process of Salvation and Eternal Life. God seeks men and women of decision, of commitment; men and women defined with passion and zeal for the Gospel.

Nicodemus’ presence in John’s Gospel only served to teach us about Jesus’ need to be born again, but we do not say anything about him again, why? He wanted to be an anonymous disciple.

  • And walk…

Walk, it is the penultimate step of protocol. It means don’t remain captive to achievements, don’t live from the past, let your past move away from you along with time.

Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Isaiah 43:18

It also means not allowing failures to grow larger than God’s blessing on us,

And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: Genesis 12:2

Walk, it is the purpose of healing. It means the ability to grow, to develop, to reach other spiritual levels, to reach perfection. If Lot’s wife had known this principle, she would not have looked back at what she left behind.

And walk, it is the key to spiritual and ministerial growth.

The apostle Paul established upon the value of this process when guided by the Holy Spirit, he wrote,

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

Finally, the closure of this protocol,

  • Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee …

Sin no more, means the decision to move forward no matter how big be what wants to stop me.  It is the decision to stand firm, not the ambiguity that awaits falls.

Sin no more; it is not a religious slogan. It is conviction, it is firmness, it is integrity, it is zeal for the work even if one is not part of a congregation.

He who makes the decision of fidelity to the Lord does not fear falls, because he knows that sin no longer teaches him.

He who makes the decision of fidelity to the Lord does not fear falls, because he knows that sin no longer has dominion over him.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Romans 6:12-14

An old chorus said: I have decided to follow Christ! I don’t go back, I don’t go back.

Satan has so undermined our pulpits that instead of preaching the Gospel of power of the Kingdom, moral and motivational philosophies are preached. Flee from them.

The worst fall of the man who wants to seek God is the ambiguity of his decision. The process of Salvation and Eternal Life begins with a decision, and it closes with a decision.

And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.  Luke 9:62

What is your decision?



Twitter: @pastormontoya