After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’ ” They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
There are conditions even in physical health that can parallel the conditions that were mentioned in the Scripture:
Blind - Though you are surrounded by truth and hear its sound, you are unable to perceive, accept or embrace the truth of Christ, his cross, his gospel and his power to both change and heal your life.
But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.
Lame - Though you know the way, you've been unable to walk straight (whether in lust, greed, a lack of forgiveness towards those who have mistreated you, etc.)
Paralyzed - Though you know which way to go and what needs to be done, you lack the strength and inner mobility to get started.
*We can get so used to our incapacities that we begin to identify with our excuses as to why we're not moving forward in God. Jesus comes along and asks, "Do you want to be healed?" and then gives practical instruction for how to supernaturally (by his power and might) pick up our beds (where we rested in our immobility) and walk into the promises he's made. God's vehicle of healing can differ amongst individuals but we must take action based on his word.
"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something."
-Neil Gaiman, author of Coraline
"A man is great not because he hasn't failed; a man is great because failure hasn't stopped him."
Though these are encouraging words, the only truth that will keep us from beginning to end is a supernatural trust based on God's love for us in Christ.
As we spoke about last week, Jesus is our great intercessor and your righteousness comes from him alone.
Lie not in wait as a wicked man against the dwelling of the righteous; do no violence to his home; for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.
The older that you get, the more dependent you are on God's love for you expressed on the cross of Jesus rather than your love for him.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre! He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills. He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry. His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.
It is no coincidence that it was in the waters that these men and women were healed. As you are buried with Christ in baptism, it separates you from the power of the old man that you now may be dead to sin and alive in Christ!
"Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.”
Second City Church - A New Hope Sermon Series - Rollan Fisher 2017