Red Letter Conversations - Discussion 16

Discovering life in the words of Jesus
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The Crippled Beggar

Jesus speaks to the problem of misguided faith


Pray together for the group meeting, and any pressing needs within the group.


Each week you’ll spend some time reviewing the previous week’s lesson. Did anything happen last week that brought the lesson to mind, and what did you learn from it?


Watch the following discussion-starter video. It’ll set the topic of discussion for the group.

John 5:1-15

  1. One person will first read the scripture selection in the King James Version.
  2. Next, another person will read the same passages in a modern language or amplified version for more clarity such as the New Living Translation (NLT), Message Bible (MSG), New English Translation (NET), Amplified Bible (AMP), etc. We recommend using the YouVersion Bible app.


  1. One person will begin retelling the scripture passage in their own words (a new person to start each week is great!) Then…
  2. As a group, work together to fill in gaps and build the story. This will help us internalize and own it. Be sure everyone participates.


Together, share around the group how the topic and scripture setting applies to your life personally. Here are some thoughts to consider for discussion… don’t let the discussion stop here, though… what questions can you ask that will help uncover God’s message?

The Scene – Verses 1-4

  • Why was Jesus going to Jerusalem, and what might have been the mood of the people in the city?
  • What purpose would the porches have around the pool?
  • Describe the scene.
    • Who all was there, and what were their purposes for being there?
    • Would it remind you of any modern scenario?
    • What was the mood of the people?
  • What were the people waiting for, and what caused them to be hopeful for it?
  • How many people might be there on an average day?
  • How many people might be there on a feast day like the day of this story?

The Situation – Verses 5-7

  • What do we know about the man Jesus spoke with?
    • How old could he have been?
    • How dependent was he on others?
    • How would he have gotten to the pool?
    • Describe the faith it took for the man to come here.
    • What was his attitude toward his situation?
    • What was his illness?
    • Was he a righteous person?
  • Of all the people gathered there, why might Jesus have singled out this man?
  • Why did Jesus ask him if he wanted to be well?
  • Didn’t his presence at the pool show his desire for healing?
  • Did the man’s response include faith?
  • What did this man know about the one asking him the question?
  • Do we know whether or not the man really wanted a healing? Explain.
  • Do people come to church expecting a life change? Explain why or why not.
  • Did the man answer Jesus’ question?
  • Why would it be important for us to explain our own condition in order to be healed?
  • Explain why we make excuses for why we don’t receive some things from God.
  • Why is it important for us not to make assumptions, but to seek discernment about people’s needs before we pray for them?
  • Was the man persistent in his desire for healing?
  • What would have happened if he had given up hope the day before?

    The Solution – Verses 8-9

    • Did Jesus pray for the man?
    • What did Jesus tell the man to do?
    • Why do we as humans find it difficult to accept grace when it’s offered to us?
    • Why do we resist the concept that God’s gifts are available to us?
    • What is the importance of taking physical action in receiving healing?
    • Could the man’s attempt to stand have been the trigger for the healing to take effect?
    • How does Jesus’ healing here demonstrate the grace of God?
    • How long did it take for the man’s healing to take effect?

    Sabbath Police, Sin and Sickness – Verses 10-15

    • When the Jews saw the lame man was now walking, what was their reaction?
    • What role did the man’s bed have in defining him before the healing?
      • What role did it have afterwards?
      • In what way can our former problem become our current blessing?
    • Why are the Pharisees so upset at the man carrying his bed?
    • Why would a person be so intent on rules that they miss what God is doing?
    • What role do rules have in the growth of a Christian?
    • What was the man’s motivation for telling them someone else commanded him to carry his bed?
    • Why did they ask who it was that commanded him?
    • Where did Jesus find the man later?
    • What was the man doing here, and what is the significance in him being in this place now?
    • What does Jesus tell the man to do?
    • Why does Jesus point out the man’s sin now, but not prior to his healing?
    • What does Jesus tell him will happen if he does not stop sinning?
    • What could be worse than being crippled for 38 years?
    • Did the man repent?
    • What might the relationship of sin and sickness be in our own lives?
    • Did the man deserve healing?
    • Did the man deserve forgiveness?
    • Why did Jesus extend these things to him?
    • What did the man do after Jesus left?
    • Is it possible to be blessed outwardly, but lost inwardly?
    • What is our obligation to do after Jesus blesses us?

    Next Week’s Scriptures

    The Desperate Daughter: Jesus speaks to the issue of fearful faith – Mark 5:24-34