Introduction: Are you able to distinguish between a needy
person and a grifter? Who to help has never been easy for
me. Today, the United States seems upside down on the
classic issues raised in the Bible. James 2:15 refers to
helping someone who needs clothes and food. In the U.S. rich
people are thin, not poor people. People who have lots of
money dress like they are poor. Of course these are
generalities, but they reflect a change from when I was
young. How do we apply the eternal Biblical principles
today? Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and learn
I. Tile Man
A. Read Luke 5:17-19. What strikes you as being
inappropriate in this story? (Undoubtedly the crowd
is made up in part by people who want to be healed.
These guys are cutting ahead of the line. Jesus is
teaching, these guys are disrupting His teaching.
Someone other than these guys owns that house. They
are tearing up someone’s home.)
B. Read Luke 5:20. Among the illegal and unfair things
these guys are doing, Jesus sees just one thing,
their faith. Why is that?
1. Is this a lesson for us? (Jesus seems to
equate their innovative way to cut the line
with a determination to help their friend.
Others may be mostly curious, but these guys
have confidence in Jesus.)
2. Do you think these guys repaired the roof
C. Look again at Luke 5:20. Would you be disappointed
if you were one of the guys helping his friend?
(Yes. They came to have him healed.)
1. Why does Jesus respond to their faith by
saying “Your sins are forgiven?” (God looks
more deeply into our needs. This fellow most
likely felt he was paralyzed because he had
sinned. See John 9:2.)
D. Read Luke 5:21-23. What is the answer to Jesus’
question? (It is easier to say something that
cannot be checked.)
E. Read Luke 5:24-26. As you consider this story, what
is the main point being made? (Jesus is God. He can
1. Is the “helping your needy friend” aspect of
the story just a sideshow? A prop for the
major point? (Why does Jesus want us to
believe that He is God? It is to save us from
eternal death. In that sense this story has a
uniform point – God loves us.)
2. Our topic is helping the needy. What lesson do
we learn from this story? (The most important
aspect of helping the needy is teaching them
3. Assume a church program, in order to obtain
government money to help the needy, complies
with U.S. government regulations. Those
regulations prohibit trying to convert those
who are helped. Would that be appropriate?
Should we be helping the needy without sharing
the gospel? (It is contrary to the story we
II. Pool Man
A. Read John 5:1-3. How many people needed help? (A
B. Read John 5:5-7. What obstacle does this man face
in his goal to be healed? (Others beat him to the
1. I just purchased a book, “Fast After 50,” in
part because of a discussion with my wife.
When I ride my racing trike I want to go
faster even though I’m getting older. She
tells me that I should accept that I slow down
with age. What do you think was the attitude
of the man at the pool after 38 years of not
winning the race? (He knew he could not win
the race to the pool without help.)
C. Let’s focus on John 5:6-7. Did the man answer
Jesus’ question? (No. Instead, he explained why he
was not able to be healed by the pool.)
1. Did this man express any faith in Jesus?
D. Read John 5:8-9. What lesson should we learn from
this? (The people who seek our help may have the
wrong method in mind. They may be focused on the
reasons why they cannot be healed (or helped),
rather than going directly to the source of healing
1. Let’s drag James into this. James 2:18 says
that he will show us his faith by his works.
Would James have sat down by this man and
carried him into the pool when the water was
stirred? (James is making an important point,
but he is not making the most important point.
The most important point is faith in the power
E. Read John 5:10. The Jewish leaders have questions
about this story and so do I. John 5:3 says a
multitude of people needed healing. Why didn’t
Jesus heal them all? It was within His power.
1. Why did Jesus heal on the Sabbath? Why did
Jesus tell the man to carry his bed on
F. Read John 5:11-13. What point is Jesus making? He
withdrew before the pool man even knew the identity
of his healer!
G. Read John 5:14-15. This answers one of our
questions. Later, when there is no crowd, Jesus
tells the pool man who He is. Why would Jesus tell
the man not to sin so that he would avoid something
1. What could be worse than being an invalid for
38 years? (Eternal death.)
2. This seemingly odd closing conversation with
Jesus answers several of our previously
unanswered questions. Do we now see why Jesus
healed just one fellow? (The goal was not just
healing his body, the goal was healing his
soul. That is why the presence of a multitude
of invalids was irrelevant to Jesus’ main
3. Why did Jesus violate the Sabbath in the eyes
of others (including the pool guy)? (Read
John 5:17. The point Jesus is making from the
beginning of this story is that He is God. He
does not need the pool to be stirred to heal.
He gets to say what is appropriate for Him to
do on the Sabbath.)
H. Now that we have discussed the tile man and the
pool man, what should be our primary goal with
regard to the needy? (Pointing them to Jesus.
Improving their physical situation is not the
primary goal. Getting them to know Jesus is our
III. Sojourner Man
A. Read Leviticus 23:22 and Psalms 146:9. Both of
these texts refer to the “sojourners.” Who are
sojourners? (People who are traveling and do not
live in your area.)
B. Read Deuteronomy 10:18-19. How high does
Deuteronomy place the bar when it comes to treating
sojourners? (It says, “love,” but the Egyptians
made them slaves! This is not an encouraging point
C. When we read Psalms 146:9 it tells us that “wicked”
will be brought to ruin. Read Romans 13:1-2. Are
sojourners who do not obey “the governing
authorities” wicked? (Romans tells us the wicked
will “incur judgment.”)
D. The United States (and Europe) face an
unprecedented problem with “sojourners.” I only
know a little about refugee law in the United
States. Most of the sojourners coming over the U.S.
southern boarder do not qualify as refugees, they
are simply (and understandably) seeking a better
life. Should we help them if they (and we) know
they are violating the laws of the United States?
1. Does the story of the tile man’s friends
illegally ripping up the roof support those
illegally entering the United States?
E. Consider the “big picture” of our study this week.
Was the paralysis of the tile man or the pool man
the point of those stories? (No. The point was to
teach the gospel – that Jesus is God. Nothing in
the Bible teaches that violating the law is
appropriate because someone else is richer than
1. If the goal of helping the needy is to advance
the gospel, is coming to the United States a
way to become more like Jesus? (The potential
sojourner has to ask that question about their
current situation. In general, the influences
in the U.S. are not advancing the Kingdom of
God. Getting richer does not make you more
F. Friend, will you give your aid to the needy
prayerful consideration? Will you determine, under
the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to make advancing
the Kingdom of God your primary goal?
IV. Next week: Mission to the Powerful.
Copr. 2023, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail,
but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this
link: http://www.GoBible.org. Pray for the guidance of the
Holy Spirit as you study.