Main Objective: It’s important for us to realize and recognize where our trust and hope are found. We need to pay attention to God’s Word and to be open to its truth. If we put our faith in the wrong things, we might miss the beauty of potential blessings.
Law/Gospel Theme: Early church leaders were often focused on the letter of the law. Not only did they insist on following rules, but they often spread rumors or relied on superstitious legends for potential hope. Christ came to fulfill those laws and to provide true healing. Some people missed that, but for those who were willing, He brought new life.
Optional Materials: Pool toys or swimming gear, optional other “good luck charm” items
- Sermon 4 Kids has a message on this passage titled “You are a changed person” (offsite link)
- Jesus heals at the pool of Bethesda video Bible story
- Dollar Store Children Sermons has video teaching for all the May 26 lectionary readings (offsite link)
- We’ve posted a full Sunday School Lesson on this same passage
Children’s Message: Healing at the Pool
All elements are open to adjustment. Cater to the needs and ages of your group
Greet children, perhaps already with your pool gear. Recommended possibilities: inner tubes, floaty wings, foot flippers, goggles, noodles, beach towel, sunscreen, etc.
So, who is ready to go for a swim? Summer is coming up, and one of the most fun activities of warmer weather is hitting the water. Whether you’re heading to the beach or the pool, you need to be prepared with certain things, right?
So, here I’ve got my goggles (demonstrate or hold up goggles)…you’ll need to protect your skin with some sunscreen; I’ve got that here… sometimes it’s fun to bring extra toys and such to the pool, I’ve got those…oh, a nice towel!
Well, in today’s gospel lesson, there was a man who wanted to get ready for a visit to the pool, but this was a special pool…the man in the story from John was lame. He couldn’t walk, and he hadn’t been able to walk for 38 years. Thirty-eight years! That’s a pretty long time to sit by a pool.
Now, the pool was called Bethesda, which means “house of mercy.” It was near the temple, so people had ideas that it was Holy or special. In fact, there was a superstitious legend that every now and then an angel would come and stir up the water in the pool. The legend said that the first person to get in the water after that stirring would be healed. So lots of people who were sick or blind or lame would sit by that pool, day after day, just hoping they’d be the lucky one to make it into the water first if they saw the special whirlpool action.
Well, this lame man had been waiting there too, but he didn’t feel very hopeful. Since he couldn’t walk, he couldn’t get to the pool first. And hey, even if he did make it there, he should certainly hope that water was truly miraculous, or he’d be in a bit of trouble….
Anyway, Jesus came by and spotted this man. For whatever reason He singled the lame man out from the crowd, and asked if he wanted to be healed. Well, that seems an obvious answer. Of course he wanted to be healed, why else would he be next to the pool?
He explained the situation, but he didn’t realize who it was he was speaking with. So Jesus gave him some directions. He didn’t provide deep explanations or even tell the man who He was. He just told him to pick up his bed and walk.
Immediately, the man was healed! It didn’t take special incantations. It didn’t take another thirty-eight years, or special bubbling water. It was just a word from Jesus and an action of obedience, and the man was healed!
Sometimes we come close to missing the identity of the true master healer. Maybe we try to put our hope in things…if we just say the right words, or go to the right places, maybe that will work out well for us. Maybe we pay attention to superstitions, or good luck charms (hold up rabbit’s foot or other charm, if using).
Or we think if we can find some sort of special archaeological item, like a piece of Christ’s robe or a nail from the cross or water from the Jordan River, maybe that will help us. Or we think if we follow the rules just right, that will bring us closer to God.
Well, if we focus too much on those silly things, we can miss out on the author of hope and healing, God Himself. Jesus is the only One in whom we can truly place our trust.
The lame man didn’t recognize Jesus as the Messiah…but when he was willing to follow directions, and as a result received the healing he had hoped for after so many years of waiting. When we recognize that our hope is in Christ alone, we know that only He has power in our lives.
This does not always mean that miracles will happen. We might still experience pain or difficulty. But we trust that God knows what He is doing. And we need to be willing to change. We can’t sit around hoping to jump in the pool someday. We have to be ready to do something different, and to follow seemingly strange instructions.
We have to know that only Jesus can bring peace—not legend or rules or silly things. Our healing might look distinct from what we would have initially expected, but we know that only God can bring hope and peace. Are you ready? Are you willing? Do you want to get better? Then jump on in, and follow Him!
Prayer: Offer thanks for Christ’s healing, and ask strength in trusting Him:
(Have kids repeat each line, if desired)
Thank you for being the one true healer
Help us to recognize that truth
And to trust you sincerely
Thank you for your love
Thank you for Jesus!
In His name, amen
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, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.