How Did Jesus Treat People with Disabilities in the Bible?

The story is about Jesus healing the lame man at the pool. During the timeframe of this event, there were three feasts that required all Jewish males to come to Jerusalem: the Feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread, the Feasts of Weeks (additionally called Pentecost), and the Feasts of Tabernacles. So undoubtedly there was a great multitude of people coming and going near this pool.

A great number of impotent (sick), blind, lame (invalid), and withered (paralyzed) people lay either in or near the waters, waiting for them to move. It is muddled whether a heavenly messenger, an angel, really upset or disturbed the water or if this was exactly what the people accepted and believed.

Why Did Jesus Heal?

Regardless, Jesus healed a man who had been lying there for 38 years, waiting for an opportunity to receive healing. Following 38 years, this current man’s concern had become a lifestyle. Nobody had, at any point, helped him.

He had no expectation of being truly healed and allegedly had no desire to help himself. His circumstance looked sad. Yet, regardless of how confined we may feel in our ailments, God can tend to our most profound necessities.

God may have exceptional work for us to do regardless of our condition, or even because of it. Many have served successfully to those individuals who are in distress since they themselves have prevailed over their own disabilities.

What a question to ask someone, “Do you want to get well?” I would wonder what was going through that man’s mind at that time. Of course, I want to get well, that is why I am here. But let us look at it in another way. The man had been invalid for 38 years. He had been lying there watching and waiting for the pool to stir up.

That was what all the sick and injured people had been doing, watching the pool. Maybe, just maybe the Lord wanted to get the man to take his eyes from the pool and focus on him. I would like to think that the man may have looked up toward Christ.

But what did the man say in verse 7? “‘Sir,’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’” The first thing we notice in the man’s reply is that he looked to humans.

He was not looking for Jesus for he did not know who he was. The second thing we notice is that the man regarded the time. He was waiting for the waters to become troubled. How long would that take?

Could he potentially miss his opportunity if he had fallen asleep? The third thing we notice is that the man looked to others. The man was too concerned looking at someone else stepping down before, going ahead of him into the pool.

He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death (Psalm 72:13).

But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home” (Matthew 9:6).

“I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home” (Mark 2:11).

How Does God Heal?

The problem with many people today, like this invalid man at the pool, is that they are busy waiting and watching for something to happen. People are not turning to Christ. They are too busy with their own lives that they do not realize what lies ahead.

Unfortunately, too many Christians are also waiting and watching. Now do not get me wrong, we should be watching for the Lord’s return and waiting for that Blessed Hope. But what are we doing in the meantime? There are still so many out there that do not know Christ.

He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Luke 10:2).

As per the Pharisees, carrying a mat on the Sabbath was work and was consequently unlawful. It did not overstep an Old Testament Law, however, the Pharisees’ translation of God’s order to “remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” (Exodus 20:8) was only one of the many principles they had added to the Old Testament Law.

A man who had not walked for over 30 years was suddenly healed, yet the Pharisees were more worried about their insignificant guidelines than the life and wellbeing of another individual.

It is not difficult to get so intertwined in our man-made designs and guidelines that we fail to remember the individuals that may be involved.

Are our rules for living God-made or man-made? Is it accurate to say that they are helping individuals, or have they become unnecessary hindrances?

But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns (Exodus 20:10).

This is what the Lord says: Be careful not to carry a load on the Sabbath day or bring it through the gates of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 17:21).

Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent (Mark 3:4).

Does God Heal Today?

This man had been weak, incapacitated, or paralyzed yet now he could walk. This was an incredible supernatural occurrence, a miracle. Be that as it may, he required a more considerable and prominent miracle, to have his sins forgiven.

The man was undoubtedly ecstatic to finally be healed, yet he needed to abandon his transgressions and look for God’s absolution to receive spiritual healing. God’s forgiveness for our sins is the best blessing we will ever receive at any point in our lives.

People should not disregard this benevolent and gracious gift. The Lord had healed the man physically at the pool, but what the man needed now was healing spiritually. There in the temple, Jesus told him, “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.”

The man who could not walk met the Man who walked on water. The man who had been in sin met the Man who had no sin. The Omnipotent Man cured the impotent man!

 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11).

There is an old gospel song by Carroll Roberson, “Wilt Thou Be Made Whole.”

Jesus came to Bethesda’s pool, Where the crippled did wait for the water to move, A man had been lame for 38 years, He asked Him this question that still rings in my ears.

Wilt Thou be made whole? Do you want a new life? Wilt Thou be made whole? And believe in Christ? Do you want to be washed? As white as the snow? God’s question to you, Wilt Thou be made whole?

There are still many out there that are not only physically sick, paralyzed, blind, the list goes on, but those who are spiritually sick. So, as Christians, we should be concerned for the welfare of all people.

For further reading:

Are Generational Curses Biblical?

Why Doesn’t God Heal Everyone?

Can God Heal a Broken Heart?

How Do We Pray for Healing? 17 Healing Prayers for the Sick

What Is the Spiritual Gift of Healing?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Halfpoint


Chris SwansonChris Swanson answered the call into the ministry over 20 years ago. He has served as a Sunday School teacher, a youth director along with his wife, a music director, an associate pastor, and an interim pastor. Chris is a retired Navy Chief Hospital Corpsman with over 30 years of combined active and reserve service. During his service, he received numerous awards and citations. Chris holds a Doctor of Ministry, an M.B.A., and a B.S. in health administration. Chris and his wife Vicki of 24 years reside in Madison, Alabama. If you are interested in having Chris deliver God’s Word at your place of worship, you can reach him here.

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