When you thought you were stuck, who is your life has helped you see a new way of getting unstuck?



Jesus travels to an unnamed Jewish religious festival in Jerusalem and is there on the Sabbath. While in that city, he goes to the pool of Bethsaida, a place where many people went to seek divine healing. Here he invites a paralyzed man into greater wholeness of life. Afterwards, the man leaves the pool, carrying his mat. The religious authorities, referred to here as ‘The Jews,’ took issue with this man carrying his mat on the Sabbath. This counted as work, and work was not permitted on the Sabbath according to their theology and practice, derived from the law of Moses. The Sabbath was considered a holy day of rest for all people and creatures, including Jesus. The fact that Jesus permits this man to work shows that he brings a power and authority greater than that of Moses; He is one with God and carries out the fullness of God’s work.


God’s Story

Have someone read aloud John 5: 1-15. This is a story about healing, but this week look at        this story through the lens of work. Ask yourself: What is work? Why work? When to work?


Finding My Story in God’s Story

1. Imagine yourself sitting at the pool in this story. What does it look, sound, and smell like? Who do you see there? Where do you imagine yourself in the scene?

  • I’m walking up to the pool but overwhelmed by the suffering of the people.
  • I’m sitting down with someone, listening to their story of sickness or affliction.
  • I’m laying down on some mat, waiting for someone else to help me get up.
  • I imagine myself in a huge crowd, pressing for my turn to bathe in the waters.
  • Other __________.


2. Jesus saw the man at the pool and learned about his inability and suffering. Only then does he ask him the question: “Do you want to be made well?” What does Jesus mean?

  • Jesus thus reveals that he offers true healing and spiritual wholeness.
  • Jesus is challenging the man to know and articulate what he truly wants.
  • Jesus rouses him out of passivity and excuses to take (literal) steps of faith.
  • Doing something for himself returns a measure of control and dignity to the man.
  • Other __________.


3. Why were the religious authorities so hot and bothered? What is their concern here?

  • They were dutifully “protecting the Sabbath and keeping it holy”—as found in Scripture.
  • They are concerned for the man, that he is working when he should be resting.
  • They are wary of someone showing them up, stirring the waters of controversy.
  • It’s “every man for himself” in the heat of the day, and they had yet to get in the pool.
  • Other __________.


4. What was the paralytic doing, before and/or after getting healed, that Jesus called “sin”?


Our Story

5. Have you ever tried to change your lifestyle or work habits for something better, only to be resisted by others who had different ideas of what that change should look like?

  • I wanted to honor God by not working on Sundays, but my boss denied my request.
  • When taking work home to get more done, I found myself at odds with my wife and kids.
  • While refusing to work on Sundays, I expect others to work so I can shop—but that’s hypocrisy.
  • When I engage in God’s work, regardless of which day, people still criticize me.
  • Other __________.


6. When have you relied on excuses, instead of taking responsibility for a choice you made?

  • When I lost my job, or a promotion, I blamed it on __________.
  • When I said that unkind word to my wife, my excuse was __________.
  • When I said, “Wait ‘til tomorrow,” I was making excuses for __________.
  • When called out for addictive behavior, I said “I couldn’t help myself” because ____.
  • Getting unstuck takes effort! Not until I ran out of excuses did I get creative and ___.


7. If Jesus were to challenge you, “Do you want to get well?” how would you respond?


8. What did you hear from a group member today that spoke to your life or work situation?

  • I heard a word of challenge or conviction in …
  • I found insight, wisdom, or guidance from …
  • I felt compassion and care for …
  • I appreciated the humor of …
  • Your story or question helped me to better know what I want or need in …


9. In the coming week, how can the members of your group hold one another in prayer and, if need be, get one another off the deck and back to work with a lifeline of hope and help?