1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, [a]Bethesda, having five porches.
3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, [b]paralyzed, [c]waiting for the moving of the water.
4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.
5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years.
6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”
7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”
8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”
9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.
1 Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the [a]Gadarenes.
2 And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
3 who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind [b]him, not even with chains,
4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him.
5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.
6 When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.
7 And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore[c] You by God that You do not torment me.”
8 For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!”
9 Then He asked him, “What is your name?”
And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.”
10 Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.
11 Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains.
12 So all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.”
13 And [d]at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.
14 So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened.
15 Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.
16 And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine.
17 Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.
18 And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him.
19 However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.”
20 And he departed and began to proclaim in [e]Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.
Faith is the God-ordained way of receiving from God. However, there are times when God exercises His sovereignty as God and blesses people whom He chooses to bless on the ground of His mercy. But we must never take such occasions as the usual way of receiving from God. That’s just an intrusion of His sovereignty in time. We are told in the Word that the just shall live by faith; and that faith pleases God. Therefore, faith is God’s usual and preferred way of believers’ receiving from Him. We must therefore learn the ways of faith and understand how to engage faith in receiving from God. Understand that there is so much to receive from God in Christ. Why? God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3). Faith is God’s usual way of doing things. All the resources of God, all the blessings of God are available to us on faith’s claim.
Our opening Scripture is one of the sovereign intrusions of God in time to bless man. In John 5, the impotent man was not made whole by his faith; it was purely an act of the mercy and sovereignty of God. When Jesus said to him “Wilt thou be made whole?” he replied, “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.” It was in response to that statement that Jesus said, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” He did not get healed because he believed that Jesus could make him whole. He got healed because God had mercy on him. Again, in the case of the Gadarene demoniac, we do not see him exercising or expressing any faith in Jesus to be delivered from the oppression he had been under. His deliverance was purely by the sovereignty and mercy of God. However, the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda had to suffer in that situation for a long time before the sovereignty of God intervened. With faith, however, you can always have God move on your behalf, because that’s God’s system of meeting our needs usually and normally. So, that’s why you must learn to live by faith. On the ground of faith, there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles; for God is rich unto all that call upon His Name! Hallelujah!
My Solid Front (Confession):
I declare that I am a believer; I live and walk by faith. Therefore, all the promises of God are sure to me, for on the ground of faith, there is no difference between the Jew and Greek. Amen!
Further Meditation: John 9:1-7; Romans 10:11-13.