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Walking with Jesus

The Gospel of John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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From the healing of the sick man at the Pool of Bethesda, we learn what it means to walk with Jesus.

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Dozens of songs describe the beauty of walking with the Lord.

“When we walk with the Lord In the light of His Word, What a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will, He abides with us still, And with all who will trust and obey. Trust and obey, for there’s no other way To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey” (J. H. Sammis).
“Trying to walk in the steps of the Savior, Trying to follow our Savior and King; Shaping our lives by His blessed example, Happy, how happy, the songs that we bring. How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior, Stepping in the light, Stepping in the light; How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior, Led in paths of light!” (Eliza E. Hewitt).

Walking with Jesus—what a lovely idea!

For many, the happiness and beauty of walking with Jesus is sadly missing.
For others, if we are honest with ourselves, it is not what it used to be.
If we wish to rekindle the beauty and joy of walking with Jesus, we must learn what it means to walk with the Lord.
Our text, in John 5:1-18, provides insight into what it means to truly walk with Jesus.
Please observe five characteristics of a true walk with Jesus as seen in the healing of this sick man at the Pool of Bethesda:

A True Walk with Jesus Must Be Strongly Desired (1-7).

John 5:1–7 ESV
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.”

This unfortunate man must have had a great desire to walk again.

We are not told exactly what had been his illness, only that he had been sick for 38 years.
The word used to describe his condition means to be “weak” (deficient in strength).
He may not have been lame.
It may have been that he was just too weak because of his illness to get around effectively.
He, along with many others burdened with similar issues, was lying by the pool of Bethesda.
Though its existence was doubted by skeptics for many years, evidence discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls and, then, subsequent archaeological diggings have confirmed the site.
Having exhausted all other alternatives, this man, along with the rest of the multitude at the pool, were holding to the mistaken hope that the first one into the pool at the stirring of the water would be healed.
If the latter part of verse three and all of verse four are bracketed or otherwise marked in your Bible, it is because this information seems to have been written first in the margin as an explanatory note of a copyist.
When Jesus saw this man, He knew his condition.
It may have been instant perception as in the case of Nathanael or the Samaritan woman.
John 2:24–25 ESV
But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.
Because He knew this man’s situation, Jesus asked, “Do you wish to get well?” (6).

Apart from Christ, we are spiritually helpless.

The same word used to describe this man’s physical condition is used by Paul in reference to spiritual matters.
Romans 5:6 NASB95
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
Romans 8:26 NASB95
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;
The first question which must be answered—a question that speaks to desire—is: “Do you wish to get well?”
Do you?
God doesn’t force anyone to accept salvation.
So, one must first possess a strong desire for spiritual healing.

There ought to be a strong desire evident in every Christian’s daily walk.

There ought to be a strong desire for His word.
1 Peter 2:1–2 ESV
So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—
Acts 17:11 ESV
Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
There ought to be a strong desire to walk with the Lord in the light of His fellowship.
1 John 1:7 ESV
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
Matthew 7:7 ESV
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Correspondingly, there ought to be a strong desire to be following Jesus together with others of like precious faith.
Walking with Jesus ought to be a group activity.
2 Timothy 2:22 ESV
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
Hebrews 10:23–25 ESV
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
A true walk with Jesus ought to be strongly desired.

A True Walk with Jesus Must Be an Obedient Walk (8-9).

John 5:8–9 ESV
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.
When God gives a command, He gives the ability to keep the command.

We must place our trust in the right person.

Jesus turned this man’s attention from the pool called Bethesda to Himself.
But, his trust in Jesus still required obedience to the instructions of the Great Physician who said, (1) “Get up” (2) “Take up your bed” (3) “Walk.”

We are familiar with the example of Naaman, the leper.

2 Kings 5:1 ESV
Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper.
His strong desire for healing is evidenced by the fact that he traveled all the way to Israel in search of the prophet of Israel in hopes that he would be healed of his leprosy.
His attention, like that of the man at the pool, had to be turned in the right direction—toward God and His plan.
At first, Naaman was insulted when Elisha commanded him to dip in the Jordan seven times.
He thought surely the prophet would come out and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure him of his leprosy (2 Kgs. 5:11).
2 Kings 5:13 NASB95
Then his servants came near and spoke to him and said, “My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”
To his credit, he was willing to listen to the voice of his servants and, when he obeyed God, he was healed of his leprosy.
2 Kings 5:14 ESV
So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

Ours must be a walk of obedience.

We cannot be spiritually healed until we obey God.
Hebrews 5:8–9 ESV
Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,
1 Peter 1:22 ESV
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,
Romans 6:17 ESV
But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,
Initially, we must obey the Lord’s commands to believe, repent, confess, and be baptized.
Then, as we grow in Christ, we must seek always to do His will.
We cannot truly walk with Jesus until we obey His commands.

In Order to Enjoy A True Walk with Jesus, We Must Endure Persecution (10-13).

John 5:10–13 ESV
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.

The Pharisees were not concerned about this man’s well-being, but only in that he had broken their traditions regarding the Sabbath.

The Law of Moses forbade work on the Sabbath.
Exodus 31:15 ESV
Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death.
Jesus did not break the Law of Moses.
Jesus was without sin (Hb. 4:15).
Matthew 5:17–18 ESV
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
Therefore, we must conclude that what this man did was not a violation of the Law, but only a violation of their traditions about the Law.
The Pharisees, themselves, often neglected the weightier matters of the Law, such as mercy and justice, in order to keep their man-made traditions.
So far as they were concerned, the man had two choices:
He could stay in his bed until after the Sabbath.
Or, he could leave his bed and allow it to be stolen.
Jesus did the merciful thing and encouraged him to take it along, knowing he would need it.
But Jesus also wanted to teach the people about Himself.
Matthew 12:8 ESV
For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

This event illustrates the fact that persecution is part of the Christian walk.

Jesus taught this principle.
Matthew 5:10–12 ESV
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 13:20–21 ESV
As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.
Paul also taught this principle.
Romans 8:17 ESV
and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
2 Timothy 3:12 ESV
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

This account shows us that, while we must suffer, Jesus helps us in our suffering.

Jesus went and found this man at the temple (Jn. 5:14).
Jesus did not leave this man alone; nor does He leave us alone.
He promises to be with us always (Mt. 28:20).
He sympathizes with our situation.
Hebrews 4:15 ESV
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Suffering play an important role in our walk with Jesus—purifying our faith and identifying us with Jesus.
1 Peter 1:6–9 ESV
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Matthew 10:24 ESV
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.

A True Walk with Jesus Must Be a Thankful Walk (14a).

What was this man doing in the temple when Jesus found him?

The most likely explanation is that he was offering thanks to God.
Similarly, after his healing, Naaman offered thanks.
2 Kings 5:15 ESV
Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.”
On another occasion, Jesus healed ten lepers, but only nine returned to give Him thanks.
Jesus’ haunting question was: “Where are the nine?”
Shouldn’t they have returned to offer thanks?

Ingratitude is one of the besetting sins of our selfish culture.

Paul listed it alongside of some heinous sins.
2 Timothy 3:1–5 ESV
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
Ingratitude leads to indifference.
2 Peter 1:9 ESV
For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
Some who plead illness as an excuse, do not express thanks or evidence faithfulness when health improves.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful command!

Psalm 92:1 ESV
It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
Ephesians 5:20 ESV
giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

A True Walk with Jesus Must Be a Walk of Purity (14b).

When Jesus found this man in the temple, He said, “Do not sin anymore.”

In other words, The Lord asked him to keep his walk pure.
A changed life is the expected result when deliverance, healing, or restoration have taken place.
Consider the example of the woman taken in the act of adultery.
What did Jesus say to her?
He said, “Go. From now on sin no more” (Jn. 8:11).
When the prodigal son returned to his father, he left the old life of sin far behind.
After being healing, Naaman changed his life.
2 Kings 5:17 ESV
Then Naaman said, “If not, please let there be given to your servant two mule loads of earth, for from now on your servant will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but the Lord.

We are called to a walk of purity.

Romans 6:1 ESV
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
1 Peter 1:14–16 ESV
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Lives are changed as a result of coming to know the power of Christ to heal, deliver, and restore the sin-sick soul.

1 John 3:3 ESV
And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
Matthew 11:21 ESV
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

A True Walk with Jesus Is a Walk that Talks (15).

John 5:15 ESV
The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.

He told the Jews that Jesus was the man who made him well not that Jesus was the man who told him to violate the Sabbath.

In His supposed violation of the Sabbath, Jesus proved His deity.
John 5:16–18 ESV
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.
Take a look at the source of Christ’s persecutions so far in the Gospel of John:
On His first visit to the temple, persecution comes from the Sadducees.
They were in charge of the temple grounds.
Jesus cleared the temple.
The lesson we learn is that Jesus is greater than the temple (Mt. 12:6).
On His second visit to the temple, persecution comes from the Pharisees.
They were zealous for their traditions, especially those related to Sabbath observance.
Jesus healed on the Sabbath and then told the man to take up his bed and walk.
The lesson is that He is Lord of the Sabbath (Mt. 12:8).

A walk that talks is the result of having something for which to both live and die.

Revelation 12:11 ESV
And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
Revelation 2:10 ESV
Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

Through His life, teaching, and example Jesus laid the groundwork for His own death.


How’s your walk?

Are you walking faithfully with the Lord?
You must walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).
Do you desire to walk with Jesus?
Are you willing to obey Him?
Are you willing to endure suffering?
Will you resolve to walk with a thankful and pure heart?
What does your walk tell others about your faith in Jesus?

There is no longer any reason to be spiritually sick.

Get up!
Take up you bed!
And, walk!

Now is the time for you to take that short little walk down the aisle and make your life right with the Lord!

Will you come?
Why not now, as we stand and sing this song?
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