The Sheep Gate, the Pool, and the Feasts

After these things there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now in Jerusalem near the sheep- market there is a public bath which in Hebrew is named Beth- zatha. It has five doorways.

Jn 5:1-2

In a previous post we talked about the rebuilding of the wall in Nehemia’s time and what it symbolizes for us. We saw that the rebuild started at the sheep gate. The sheep gate got its name from its function: here the sheep were brought into the city for sacrifice.

Just for repetition: The sheep gate is the only legal way into the sheep-den. Only here the shepherd is admitted in by the gate keeper. The elders in the gate were guarding the entrance to the city and still are to do so today. It is their responsibility to only let the true shepherd in.

It is here at the sheep gate that we find the pool of Bethesda. This is were many infirm and sick people waited for the angel to trouble the water. This is were Jesus healed a man that had been sick for 38 years.

38 years speaking of the journey through the wilderness after the people refused to enter the promised land. The old generation had to die so the new was able to take the land – because they had a different mindset. The old has to come to an end for the new to come in possession. Renewal of the mind, in a new generation. The 42nd generation.

Above the pool was the place for slaughtering the sheep for sacrifice. The water for the pool came from this place, and when the sacrifice was manifold – such as in Passah -, the blood spilled over into the water. A river of water and blood flowing from the place of sacrifice. Reminds me of the one sacrifice at the cross.

Jesus came to this place at another feast of the Jews. Many believe this to be Passah, judging from the flow of the story and the timing.

Let us have a look at this place: it had five doorways. Five is speaking of the fivefold ministry as well as of the grace of God. It is here that Jesus symbolically made man whole and healthy. It is by the grace of God that he made man whole and healthy. But it is by the fivefold ministry that we are given the full revelation. We realize that we are whole and healthy, realize it through the ministry of the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher. As we only come into maturity through their ministry.

I am by no means reinstalling a new caste of priesthood. I am only saying that Jesus decided to give this function to these ministers:

And he gave some as Apostles, and some, prophets; and some, preachers of the good news; and some to give care and teaching; For the training of the saints as servants in the church, for the building up of the body of Christ: Till we all come to the harmony of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to full growth, to the full measure of Christ: So that we may be no longer children, sent this way and that, turned about by every wind of teaching, by the twisting and tricks of men, by the deceits of error; But saying true words in love, may come to full growth in him, who is the head, even Christ.

Eph 4:11-15

It was at Passah that Jesus healed this man as a symbol for manhood. It was at Passah that Jesus gave his live for humanity. But it is not until Tabernacles that we fully realize. Realize that it is not about one man, about the individual, but about the corporate. Realize the finished work.

So we enter the pool of Bethesda by the grace of God and he makes us whole. Our mind and soul, our faith catches up and enters the place through the teaching and impartation of the five fold ministry. It is done in the beginning of months, the beginning of our journey with God, at Passah. We realize it in the seventh month, in the time of fulness and maturity, at Tabernacles. That way we are able to believe what has happened. That way the truth becomes fact.

Do you believe it? Questions? Remarks?

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By Ralph Rickenbach

Accompanyist | Pastor in Exile | Iconoclast — I am a Gallup certified CliftonStrengths coach and a Spiral Dynamics practitioner.