Short Story 3 – Healing a Lame Man (John 5:1-16, 17-47)

The Gospel of John features 7 short stories that offer a sampling of the miracles Jesus performed during his time of public ministry. These were written so that his readers would come to “believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing [they] may have life in his name” (John 20:31b).

Here is the plot of the third short story:

Healing a Lame Man (John 5:1-16, 17-47)

  1. Setting: 
    1. Jerusalem during a Jewish festival. (5:1)
    2. By the Sheep Gate and the pool of Bethesda. (vv. 1-2)
    3. On the Sabbath. (v. 9)
  2. Conflict: 
    1. There were a large number of disabled people who lived by the pool of Bethesda. (v. 3)
    2. One man had been lame for 38 years. (v. 4)
    3. Jesus asked the man if he wanted to get well but the man did not give an affirmative response. (v.5)
  3. Rising Action:
    1. Jesus told the man to “get up… pick up your mat and walk.” (v. 8)
  4. Climax
    1. Instantly the man got well, picked up his mat and started to walk- an act of faith. (v. 9)
  5. Falling Action:
    1. The Jews confronted the man who had been healed. (v. 10)
    2. The man explained why he was carrying his mat, but didn’t know who had healed him. (v. 12-13)
    3. Jesus found him and commanded him not to sin anymore. (v. 14)
    4. The man told the Jews it was Jesus. (v. 15)
    5. The Jews began persecuting Jesus for healing on the Sabbath and calling God his own Father. (vv. 16-18)
  6. Resolution:
    1. No resolution- Jesus ends his discussion with the Jews by asking, “if you don’t believe what [Moses] wrote, how will you believe my words?” (v.47)

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