After 38 years.


One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

John 5:5-6

I love it when the Spirit drops a question in my heart. Today, as I was reading my devotion, the Spirit asked me, “Did you realize that the man was invalid for thirty eight years? Then he asked me “what has this to do with Sabbath?” Why did Jesus ask this man to take up his mat and walk on a Sabbath?

I asked the Lord and did a bit of research and this is what I found:

“The number thirty-eight in Hebrew was written with the letters lamed (authority) and chet (inner chamber, including the heart). Thirty-eight is the number of work, or labor. It includes the idea of one’s calling, or life’s work and purpose, for this is the true authority that each one possesses in his heart.

A biblical example of this number is found in Deut. 2:14, where Israel entered its calling after a delay of 38 years:

Now the time that it took for us to come from Kadesh-barnea until we crossed over the brook Zered, was thirty-eight years; until all the generation of the men of war perished from within the camp, as the Lord had sworn to them.

In John 5:5 we read of the man who had been sick for 38 years until Jesus healed him. 38 is the number of labour. Jesus said to him in verse 8, “Arise, take up your pallet, and walk.” In verse 10 the Jews criticized him for working because that day happened to be a Sabbath. In fact, they often criticized Jesus for healing people on the Sabbath, considering that to be “work.”

If they had only understood the principle of the “rest-work,” where a person ceases from his own works to do the works of God (Heb. 4:10), they would have rejoiced that the sick had been healed instead of grousing that it was done on a Sabbath.”

For 38 years the man had labored to find rest, he had placed his hope on being placed in the pool for angel to bring healing and to bring rest to his body. Up to that time, he did not realize standing before him was the true Lord of Sabbath.  “Do you want to be well?” What a statement!

Dear friend, are you weary and heavy laden, trying your best to figure out through your wisdom and your strength how to pay your bills, deal with your sickness, forgive a love one, talk to your estrange child or make up with a friend you disappoint?

My advice- rest. Rest from your struggles, let Jesus deals with it. Appreciate the principle of “rest-work”. Cease from your work and let Jesus does his. He asks you as you labor “Do you want to be well?”

Thought of the day




  1. Amen! I see the gospel of grace in action. The man was concerned on what he needed to do to get healed. Jesus was telling him, i am your healing.

  2. My name restingchristy, i constantly remind my soul” it is well” exhale relax but no use. Only when i can see in my spirit what the HOLY SPIRIT witness what that my savior has done that is my rest.

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