The Cripple at the Pool and the Withered Hand
Jesus and the Pharisees
Matthew xii: 1 to
Mark ii: 23, to iii: 6;
Luke vi: 1, to 11;
v: 1 to 18.
Jesus was living in Capernaum the time for the
Passover of the Jews drew near, and Jesus went up to
Jerusalem to keep the feast, as he had kept it a
year before. You remember that at that time he drove
out of the Temple the people that were buying and
selling. We read this in Story 116. The feast which
Jesus now kept was the second Passover in the three
years while Jesus was preaching.
While Jesus was at Jerusalem he saw in the city, not
far from the Temple, a pool called Bethesda. Beside
this pool were five arches or porches; and in these
porches were lying a great crowd of sick and blind,
helpless and crippled people. At certain times the
water rose and bubbled up in the pool; and it was
believed that at these times it had power to cure
diseases. We know that there are springs of water
that will cure many kinds of sickness, and this may
have been one of these.
On the Sabbath-day Jesus walked among these poor
helpless and suffering people, who were waiting for
the water to rise. Jesus looked at one man, and
though no one told him, he knew that this man had
been a cripple, without power to walk, for almost
forty years. He said to this man, "Do you wish to be
The man did not know who Jesus was. He answered,
"Sir, I cannot walk; and I have no man to carry me
down to the water when it rises in the pool; but
while I am trying to crawl down, others crowd in
before me, and the place is full, so that I cannot
reach the water and be cured."
Jesus said to the man, "Rise, take up your bed, and
The cripple had never heard words like these before;
but as they were spoken he felt a new power shoot
through his limbs. He rose up, took the piece of
matting on which he had been lying, rolled it up,
and walked away toward his home!
Some one who saw him said, "Stop; this is the
Sabbath-day, and it is against the law for you to
carry your bed!"
The man did not lay down his load. He only said,
"The one who made me well said to me, 'Take up your
bed and walk.' "
The Jews said, "Who was this man that told you to
carry your bed on the Sabbath-day?"
The man who had been cured did not know who it was
that had cured him; for there were many standing
near, and Jesus, after healing the man, had walked
away without being noticed. But after this Jesus met
this man in the Temple, and said to him, "You have
been made well; do not sin against God any more, or
something worse than disease will come upon you."
 The man went away from the Temple, and told
the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
The Jews were very angry at Jesus because he had
cured this man on the Sabbath. But Jesus said to
them, "My Father works on all days to do good to
men, and I work also."
These words made the Jews ready to kill Jesus, not
only because, as they said, he had broken the
Sabbath, but because he had spoken of God as his
Father, as though he were the Son of God. He was
indeed the Son of God, although they would not
After the feast of the Passover Jesus went again to
Capernaum in Galilee, beside the lake. One
Sabbath-day he was walking with his disciples
through the fields of ripe grain; and the disciples,
as they walked, picked the heads of grain, rubbed
them in their hands, blew away the chaff, and ate
the kernels of wheat. The law of the Jew allowed any
one walking through the fields to eat what he could
gather with his hands, though it did not allow him
to take any of the grain home. But the Pharisees,
whose goodness was all for show, said that it was a
breaking of the Sabbath to pick the ears and to rub
them in the hands on the Sabbath-day. They said to
Jesus, "Do you see how your disciples are doing on
the Sabbath what is against the law?"
Jesus answered them, "Have you never read what David
did when he was hungry? He went into the house of
God, and took the holy bread from the table, and ate
some of it, and gave some to his men, though the law
said that only the priests might eat this bread. And
do you not know that on the Sabbath-day the priests
in the Temple do work, in killing and offering the
sacrifices, yet they do no wrong? I say to you that
one greater than the Temple is here; for the Son of
man is lord of the Sabbath."
Jesus meant them to understand that he was the Son
of God, that God lived in him even more fully than
he lived in the Temple, and that he spoke as Lord of
We have read this, about David and the holy bread in
the Tabernacle, of which Jesus spoke to the Jews, in
On another Sabbath-day Jesus went to the synagogue.
A man was there whose hand was withered. The
Pharisees watched Jesus, to see whether on the
Sabbath-day he would make his hand well. Not that
they felt for the poor man; they only wished to find
some  chance to speak evil against Jesus. Jesus
knew all their thoughts, and he spoke to the man,
"Rise up, and stand where all can see you!"
The man rose up from the mat where he had been
sitting, and stood before all the people Then Jesus
looked around upon them sternly, being sad because
their hearts were so hard and cruel, and he said,
"Is it against the law to do good on the
Sabbath-day, or to do evil? To heal a man, or to try
to kill a man, as you are doing? If any one of you
owns a sheep, and it falls into a pit on the
Sabbath-day, will he not take hold of it and lift it
out? Is not a man worth more than a sheep? I say
unto you that it is right to do good to men on the
And then, turning to the man, he said, "Stretch out
The man obeyed the word of Jesus, and held out his
hand. At once it became strong and well, like his
other hand. Many of the people were glad as they saw
this; but the Pharisees, who hated Jesus, went out
very angry; and they met together to find some plan
for putting Jesus to death.
Jesus and the Pharisees