BETHESDA, THE HOUSE OF MERCY
BETHESDA, THE HOUSE OF MERCY
Sunday, August 13, 2023, the Year of Our Lord
Pastor Carolyn Sissom
This past week the Lord revealed to me a greater level of His mercy. I would consider that I have the grace of mercy. Yet, when we have reached our mercy-limit, we have not come close to the height, depth, and width of the Lord’s capacity of mercy toward mankind. This year the Lord has been stretching me in His mercy urging me into a higher plane of the Christian walk with Jesus Christ; and a greater dimension of the Holy Spirit.
Luke 1:50 His mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
Rom. 9:15: He said to Moses, I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.
Rom. 9:16: It is not of him who wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy.
Eph. 2:4: But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.
1 Ti. 1:16: For this cause, I obtained mercy that in me, (Paul), first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
Heb. 4:16: Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
James 2:13: For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
5:2-4: … Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool and troubled the water; whosoever was first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
Suffering humanity lying helpless in the five porches of the House of Mercy. In the Church, we have a five-fold ministry, designated as Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers (Eph. 4:11). These ministries are simply the overflow of the exalted Christ who rules at the right-hand of God the Father in the heavenly Zion.
The number five can refer to many things: the five-fold ministry; the five-fold name of Christ in Is. 9:6; the five writers of the epistles of the N. T. (Peter, James, John, Jude, and Paul); that all the blessings of grace and truth of God came through Jesus Christ. (Jn. 1:17).
The entrance to the Tabernacle in the Wilderness was also composed of five pillars, on which hung a linen curtain which formed the doorway to the Holy Place, the place of priestly ministry. The Holy Place contained three articles of furniture, the Table of shewbread, the Altar of Incense, and the Candlestick. This speaks of Christ the Door (Jn. 10: 7-9). Jesus is the only entrance into the sheep-fold of His church and all priestly ministry is done through Him. The Holy Place is the realm of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the operation of the gifts.
In type it speaks of the Anointed Place we have come to in the Church…a place of feasting on Sabbath Bread, a place of True Worship, a place of Illumination, and the shining forth of the Spirit of Truth. It is not the Holy of Holies…that realm is further on beyond the golden altar. God continues to prepare His people for the Abiding Realm in the Holy of Holies itself. I believe as a Church body, we have crossed the golden altar, but we are yet to see the glorious outworking of the Holy Spirit to the “great multitude of impotent folk.”
Here, then, at the doorstep of the church there lies a great multitude of IMPOTENT FOLK, huddled together at the Sheep Gate, as sheep that are bruised, torn, bleeding wounded, and crying for help. Those that are not too lame to arise and walk into the water are able to stumble to the waters the best way they know, to see if they may get in line for a heavenly touch, while anointing is still there. The ministers are pulling on the anointing by Faith crying out for the Lord to touch and heal the people. Yet, in our humanity, even though our faith is strong, we are just as impotent as the multitude.
Jn. 5: 5-9: A certain man was there, who had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, He said to him Will you be made whole? The impotent man answered Him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled to put me into the pool; while I am coming, another steps down before me. Jesus said to him, Rise, take up your bed and walk. Immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed and walked…
The scripture only tells us that Jesus healed a “certain man,” just one out of the multitude. I know of a surety that Jesus could have healed everyone of them. Earlier in John 4, jesus quoted the Scripture that would characterize His ministry on earth as the Messiah.
Luke 4: 18-19: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that were bruised, the preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
However, Jesus knew he was on mission to fulfill every aspect of his Messianic calling. He was on assignment from the father to administer a prophetic sign. Sons of God seek to walk in union with the Father and do only what they see the Father do according to His timing, not because they sought to fulfill their ministry, but because the author of the Scriptures caused them to do it. Doing the will of God in the timing of God was what was important to Jesus.
If we understand this way, then we can spare ourselves all the frustrations and needless anxieties that ministers of God have endured when we set our course to fulfill a New Testament ministry, or to bring into being a New Testament Church, or to be anxious about fulfilling our ministry-calling. Or to measure our success or failures in the light of mankind’s expectations and/or demands. For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath (5:16).
John 5:20: For the father loves the Son and shows Him all things that He himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these; that you may marvel.
Jesus did a “great work” on a “certain man” at the Pool of Bethesda. God has been doing a “great work” through His chosen ministry in the earth on behalf of certain ones who lie helplessly at the Sheep Gate in the five porches of the House of Mercy. But Jesus promised there would be “greater works than these” that would cause men to marvel. Works that would manifest the very resurrection life of Jesus. It will yet be fulfilled when SONS go forth in union with the Father. The heart of God continues to cry out for sons in nature and character like His only Begotten, sons who will simply walk in God.
“Carolyn, I want my sons to be kodak-living color images of Jesus Christ.”
The Pool of Bethesda, the House of Mercy, with its five porches whose waters were troubled on occasion, bringing relief to the ones and twos was not God’s final answer to human need. But into the midst of the multitude of impotent folk who languished there walked the Son of God, who was Himself the Answer.
Some wonderful things have happened in the pool of the House of mercy but is not the full intention of God because it has not met the needs of suffering humanity. But a “certain man” found the answer. It wasn’t in the pool, and it wasn’t in the five-fold ministry, but it was in the Man of Galilee. It was the One who walked in total union with the Father. If Jesus would only have walked through the crowd, then every one would have been healed. Jesus did not go to the Pool of Bethesda to have a healing meeting as he had done so many times before. He went there because the Father was leading him there and showing Him what to do.
5:17; 19-20: My Father has been working until now, and I have been working…The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do, for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does, and He will show Him greater works than these that you may marvel.
God’s whole purpose in man is SON-SHIP. The Lord Jesus came to show us the Way, and to become the Way. As the Pattern Son He would not only “live” by the Father, but He would also minister in total union with the Father, in order that we who follow after might also walk in the pathway that leads us very nigh unto the heart of God, which is love, mercy and justice.
A cripple for 38-years. What could this signify? Why 38 years?
Deut. 2:14 gives us a clue: the time we took to come from Kadesh Barnea until we crossed over the Valley of the Zered was thirty-eight years, until all the generation of the men of war was consumed from the midst of the camp, just as the Lord had sworn to them.
It was during the second year of Israel’s exodus from Egypt that Moses sent spies into the land of Canaan to search it out. But ten of the spies discouraged the people because of the might of the enemy. The children of Israel turned away in fear and unbelief. The LORD judged to wander 40 years in the wilderness for their disobedience.
From that point of having spent two years in the wilderness, they had thirty-eight more years of hopelessness and despair. The fortieth year the old generation had served their sentence and completely passed off the scene. By this time, God had raised up a new generation and God was preparing them for the conquest of the inheritance.
Before they crossed over the Jordan, at their request, God gave Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh land on the Eastern side of Jordan.
There are many Christians today like Reuben, Gad and Manasseh who feel that we have gone far enough. Talk about the inheritance beyond the River in the mountains and hills of Canaan and it is thought to be “far-out” teaching. What we have is good. Why be concerned about anything more beyond the River? Let us just camp right here on the Eastern banks of the Jordan, and seek and enlargement of what we already have. We talk in tongues. We have gifts of the Spirit. We prophesy. We have healings. We have beautiful praise and worship. We even have the glorious presence of the Lord in our services. Why get excited about things “far-out” beyond the Jordan?
But the “multitude of impotent folk” still lies at the doorstep of the Church. They are bruised, torn, and sick-physically as well as spiritually and mentally. How shall we rest until we see what Jesus promised, “greater works than these that you may marvel.”
I, for one, recognize my total inadequacy as a pastor, teacher, and prophet to heal spiritually and physically “the multitude of impotent folk” crying out for a visitation of the Holy Spirit. I cry out to the Lord to bring forth this glorious power to the church. I cry out for Christ’s mercy for healings, deliverance, and miracles for His people.
Let us rejoice in the hope of the promise that the Sons of God will arise and walk with the Father and do only what the Father shows us to do. Let us faithfully walk in obedience in the realm that God has enabled us to walk in today. Let us agree with the prophets who say today is the day when we shall walk in obedience in the realm of being Kodak-living color images of Jesus Christ.
It was at the five porches of Bethesda, the House of Mercy, the Lord gave a sign to His generation that the Christ, the Son of God was in their midst with healing in his wings. He imparted that authority to His disciples. He has also imparted that authority to His Church. The path to receive this anointing is to obey the Father and watch what the Father is doing.
We have had a taste of the “greater works.” But it is yet to be fulfilled in all its fullness when sons go forth in union with the father. The heart of God continues to cry out for Sons.
There are beautiful gospel songs about crossing to the Other Side of Jordan; but these all refer to our home in Heaven. Let us never be counted among those who become content but always press on to the far side of Jordan to fulfill Jesus’ earthly ministry on earth as it is in Heaven.
Carolyn Sissom, Pastor
Eastgate Ministries Church, 10115 West Hidden Lakes Lane, Richmond, TX
Scripture from N.K.J.V. – I entered into the labors of George H. Warnock, Feed My Sheep. Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of Brother Warnock.