Back

LESSON 4 - THE HEALING SPIRIT (JOHN 5:1-17 & MARK 2:2-12)

Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.  All Scripture references are to
the NIV unless otherwise noted. Suggested answers are found within
parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard.

INTRODUCTION: I got caught!  You might remember that I promised you
I would use a story of healing each week to illustrate the point of
the lesson instead of using the "proof text" method employed by the
authors of the lesson.   Our first lesson included the story of the
paralytic who went through the roof, so I focussed on that story to
make the point.  Now I find that the authors of the lesson have
made that story the centerpiece of our lesson this week!  There is
a secondary story in the teacher's helps that we will look at to
bring in new material. Some of this is going to sound familiar.
 

I. THROUGH THE ROOF!

     A. Turn with me to Mark 2:1-4. As I read this, try to picture
     in your mind what it would be like to be present and witness
     this event. Read.

          1. If you had lived then, would you be there among the
          crowd?

          2. What if you were sick and no doctor could cure you?
          Would you be there if you could?

          3. How big is the crowd that has come to hear Jesus? What
          places are already taken? (There was no place left in the
          house.  There was even no place outside by the door.)

          4. Would the crowd have encouraged you or discouraged you
          to come? (Perhaps encouraged because it showed that
          others believed this was the place to be.)

     B. Put yourself in the place of the paralyzed guy. What would
     you be feeling at the point where you first see the crowd?

          1. Have you ever been in a big rush, and just as you
          swing onto the on-ramp of the freeway you see the traffic
          is stopped.  Is that how would you react to the crowd if
          you were the paralyzed guy?

               a. How do you feel when it becomes clear that it is
               impossible to get through the crowd?  Not just
               difficult, or slow-going, but impossible!

II. IN THE WATER?

     A. Keep your finger in Mark 2.  Let's look at another story.
     Turn with me to John 5:1-7. Read.

     B. Can this invalid fellow get into the pool? (Yes. v.7 tells
     us that he is just not fast enough.)

     C. What do you imagine it was like when the water moved? (A
     stampede!)

     D. So what prevents the invalid fellow from being healed? Does
     he face the same problem as the paralyzed guy of Mark 2?
     (Precisely. They both have a "crowd problem."  If it were not
     for the other people, they would have no barrier to being
     healed.)

     E. Let's look at the similarities between the situations of
     these two men: the paralyzed guy of Mark 2 and the invalid
     fellow of John 5. Make two columns: "Same" and "Different."
     First tell me what is similar between these two men? (Same:
     Unable to walk. Wanted to be healed. Was close to being in a
     position to be healed, but had a barricade, an obstacle
     between him and healing.

     F. What is different between the two men? (Different: One man
     is surrounded by the disabled (John 5:3), the other is
     "surrounded" by his healthy friends. One has given up on being
     able to get to the source of healing (John 5:7), while the
     other is heading through the roof to get to the source of
     healing.)

     G. What was the focus of the paralyzed guy of Mark 2? (Getting
     to see Jesus.)

     H. What was the focus of the invalid guy of John 5? (Getting
     into the water.)

          1. How about his lack of help? Was he focussed on that
          too? (Yes. John 5:7)

          2. What do you think the invalid guy thought Jesus had in
          mind when Jesus asked him (John 5:6) if he wanted to be
          healed? (He hoped Jesus might be the guy who would help
          him into the water at the right time.)

     I. Did the water have any power in itself? What was the source
     of any healing power in the water? (God)

III. THROUGH THE SON

     A. Read John 5:8.

          1. Did the invalid guy need to get into the water to be
          healed?

          2. Did he need friends to be healed?

          3. Was the "focus" of the invalid guy right? (No! He was
          focussed on circumstances.  He was focussed on the method
          of healing. He was not focussed on the source of healing.
          He was blaming circumstances for his inability to be
          healed.)

          4. Do you think the wrong focus for the invalid guy
          caused him to be depressed and discouraged? (No doubt.
          Look at John 5:6-7.  Jesus asked him if he wanted to be
          healed. Instead of saying, "Yes," he started talking
          about the impediments to being healed.)

     B. Leave your finger in John 5, and move back to Mark 2.
     Picture these four guys come carrying a paralyzed man. Now
     imagine that you are one of them.

          1. Why not haul him to the Sheep Gate pool in Jerusalem?
          (John 5:2)

          2. Still imagine that you were one of these four friends,
          except this time you are a friend of the invalid guy in
          John 5. Would you try to toss him in the pool at the
          right time, or would you try to haul him to Capernaum
          (Mark 2:1) to get him into the house to see Jesus?

     C. Read Mark 2:5-12.

          1. You remember that we discussed that the paralyzed guys
          friends might have thought that Jesus gave the wrong
          response when He said "Your sins are forgiven?" Do you
          think that any of the paralyzed guys friends were worried
          about his sins?

          2. What is your role today as a friend of the sick?

               a. Is it to focus on the means of healing?

               b. To focus on the obstacles to healing?

               c. Is it to focus on your friend's sin?

               d. Didn't the four guys who went through the roof
               have to "focus" on "the obstacles to healing," ie,
               the crowd and the roof? (The role of friends is to
               allow the sick person to get beyond the obstacles
               and see the source of healing: Jesus.)

          3. Why did Jesus, in Mark 2:5 call the paralyzed guy
          "son?"

               a. Does this suggest that he was younger than Jesus?

               b. I've called the four fellows who carried him
               "friends." The text does not call them "friends,"
               it says "men." If he is very young, who do you
               think was likely to be helping carry him? (His
               father.)

                    (1) Is his father concerned about his sins? (My
                    bet is that his father is blaming himself for
                    the boy's sins that "caused" him to be
                    paralyzed. So the best news in the world is
                    that his boy's sins are forgiven.)

     D. Let's explore the John 5 story a bit more. Read John
     5:8-9b. We decided that the invalid guy was focussed on the
     wrong things.  How then did he get healed?

          1. Did Jesus promise this guy that He would heal him?
          Did He give him any idea that He planned to do anything
          other than consider helping him into the water at the
          right time?

               a. Once Jesus told the man to "Get up!" did his
               focus change from the impediments to healing to the
               source of healing?

               b. Did the man believe Jesus? If he had not, would
               he have been healed? (When Jesus told him to "Get
               up!" the focus of his life changed.)

     E. With these two healing stories in mind, tell me what is the
     most important factor for being healed?

          1. Is it friends?
 
          2. Is it a "crowd control?"
 
          3. Is being focussed on the means of healing? (No. It
          is coming face to face with Jesus. If we look to Him, no
          problem is too great -- even if the problems have been
          too great for 38 years.)

IV. THE LAW v. THE SON

     A. We already read Jesus' discussion with the religious
     leaders in Mark 2.  We have a similar discussion in John 5.
     Read John 5:9-17.

          1. What was the primary concern of the religious leaders
          in John? (They were concerned about Sabbath
          breaking.) 

               a. Is that similar to their concern in Mark?

          2. Is there a lesson in this for us today? (If we
          continue on in Mark 2, we find the all important context
          to our story and thus we are aided in seeing "the
          lesson." Mark 2:27 "The Sabbath was made for man, not man
          for the Sabbath.")

               a. What does this mean? (It means that the Sabbath,
               just like every other part of the law, is a tool to
               bring us into fellowship with God.)

               b. What was the error of the religious leaders?
               (They were focussed on the tool, and not the
               ultimate goal.  In that sense, they were a lot like
               the invalid guy of John 5 before he came face to
               face with Jesus.)

          3. What was Jesus' goal in these healings--for the
          religious leaders? (In Mark 2:10 He was teaching the
          religious leaders who He was. In John 5:17-18 He was
          doing the same thing.)

          4. Does Jesus in any way undercut the authority of the
          law in these healings? (No. In Mark 2:5 He says to the
          paralyzed guy "Your sins are forgiven." Which would make
          no sense if the law was not in place.  In John 5:14 Jesus
          tells the formerly invalid guy, "Stop sinning." Once
          again Jesus is upholding the law. Every one of our
          healing stories so far has a strong point about sin. The
          goal of healing is to break the bonds of sin.)
 

V. NEXT WEEK: THE ACT OF FAITH. Study!