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Do you want to get well?

John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:55
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Today we will be looking at John 5:1-15. Let’s begin by reading the passage together.
John 5:1–15 NIV
Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 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?” “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.” But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ” So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?” The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.

Prayer

Background

During Jesus’ years of ministering on earth, he spent a lot of time in Galilee, his home area.
And, like good Jewish men of his day, he made frequent trips to Jerusalem for the prescribed Festivals, or Feasts of Israel. Times that God had set aside for His people, Israel, to come together to remember Him, worship Him, and look for His salvation.
John 5 records what happened on one of those trips to Jerusalem.
Bethesda
John describes this pool which was found outside the temple area. Because of his descriptive detail, archeologists have been able to locate and determine which of the pools this was.
This graphic is one person’s attempt to recreate what Bethesda may have looked like.
At this pool, John says a “great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.”
Why were they lying there?
If you have a KJV, NKJV or NASB translation you find the answer in verse 4.
If you have an NIV, ESV, NLT or other of the more recent English translations you may wonder what happened to verse 4. Well, look in your margin or footnote.
Verse 7 hints at the reason when the lame man spoke of the water bubbling up and trying to get in the water, but being beaten by someone else.
The earliest copies of John’s gospel don’t go into more explanation. But somewhere in the following centuries someone familiar with the culture of the time included it in their copy of the gospel. In many of the Greek manuscripts where is it found, it is marked off as an addition.
So, earlier translations of the Bible into English included it. Later, translators opted to put it in a footnote to indicate that it was not in the earliest manuscripts.
Anyway, the point is that the people believed that when the pool which was fed by a spring, bubbled, it was an angel stirring the water so that whoever got in would be made well.
So this man who was lame was among the many who were hoping for a miracle. They spent their time watching the water; waiting in anticipation for the bubbles. Then they would scramble to be the first into the water.
Unfortunately, this man was there a long time, and never made it into the water.
Can you imagine what it must have been like for him?
He likely spent years by that pool. And, as we read in the context, alone. He had no one with him. He was alone, day in and day out. He lay there watching the water. Watching and waiting… was that a bubble!?!… No, a breeze… Was that… everyone is moving! He begins to drag himself… But, someone gets in… he struggles back to his bed, to wait again.
Day after day he rehearses this routine, until finally… Well, what would happen to your hope after all of those years?
Then, he hears a voice. Someone is asking him a question. What is that?

Do you want to get well?

Jesus asks him, “Do you want to get well?”
It seems a silly question to ask. But, is it? Notice the man’s answer. He did not say yes. He simply explained why it would never happen.
I don’t have anyone to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.
I believe this man was lost and without hope. He really believed if he could only get in the water, he would be healed. However, that belief in his ability to get the healing had been shown to be misplaced hope. He could not possibly do it.
He could not do it on his own...
Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He came to bring hope to the hopeless.
Isaiah 35:3–6 NIV
Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.

Jesus came to make him well!

Jesus came to make him well. To strengthen those feeble knees, and restore hope to his fearful heart. He came to save him!
Jesus truly came to seek and save the lost. He sought out this man, just like he sought out the Samaritan woman.
Out of all the people in that crowded portico… out of all the people who were there struggling with infirmity: blind, lame, paralyzed… Jesus came to this man.
He did not look for someone who was worthy of Him and His time.
He came to the one who needed Him.
Jesus’ miracles were primarily done for those who had some measure of faith in Him. This time, this man did not even know Him.
Instead, Jesus came seeking. He came to the one who was at the end of himself, who knew he could not do it on his own. He came to the man who had lost hope.
He came and said,

“Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

Jesus did not help this man in his efforts. He did not come to help this man crawl to the pool. He did not come to give assistance so that this man could rely on his own efforts to become well.
No. Jesus spoke and did what this man could not do. He made him well. When this man was powerless, Jesus came and displayed his power. When this man was without hope, Jesus gave what he needed and restored hope. What this man was too weak to do, Jesus did for him.
What a wonderful savior! Can you imagine the joy and hope that this man must have felt! I can only imagine what a man who was paralyzed for 38 years would do when suddenly he was strengthened and made to walk!

Do you want to get well?

This reminds me a lot of us.
Law and Grace
John 1:14 NIV
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:17 NIV
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Leviticus 18:5 NIV
Keep my decrees and laws, for the person who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord.
Law - what you can do to earn eternal life
Law - powerless to save
Romans 8:3 NIV
For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh,
Law cannot save because it depends on us to do it!
We are weak. We are like the lame man, unable to do what it takes!
so why would God ever give the law? Why tell us to do good and live with Him if we could not do it?
Romans 3:19 NIV
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.
Romans 3:20 NIV
Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
God gave the law so we would recognize our problem and realize that we were powerless to change on our own. we were powerless and hopeless to have a true relationship with our Holy, righteous creator.
And the reality is,
Romans 3:23 NIV
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
We all sin. We all do what is wrong. Our Creator has set in place what is right and wrong. He tells us in his word. He puts it within us, each of us having a conscience. We know we are not perfect. We know that we cannot possibly attain to His standards, and are separated from Him. Without God and Without hope in this world.
What can we do? Like the lame man, we may stare at the pool, waiting for some miracle. We think if only we can do better next time. We will make it. But each time we fail again, we know in our hearts that
Romans 6:23 NIV
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The wages of sin is death. We know we cannot receive anything more than we earn. Just like a job, you receive the wages for your work. If you work for a fast food restaurant, you earn those wages. If you are a doctor, you earn those wages. You do not earn a doctor’s wages by cleaning floors.
In the same way, we earn wages for what we do with our lives. And since we all sin, or fail to do what God has set as the righteous standard, the wages we earn are death. Separation from Him now and for eternity.
But wait. There is the opportunity to receive a gift! Gifts are not based on what you do! Gifts are freely given.
Just like this man did nothing to earn Jesus’ healing, we do not have to do anything to earn Jesus’ spiritual healing in our lives! He will come and give us this gift; eternal life! Being with God now, and for eternity!
Ephesians 2:8–9 NIV
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
The gift is received through faith. Believe what he says.
When Jesus said to this lame man, get up! Pick up your mat and walk, the man did not just lay there saying, “Right! It’ll never happen.” No!
At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked!
Faith is believing what God says! Believing God is how we receive his gift of eternal life.
What does he say? What do I believe?
John tells us,
John 20:31 NIV
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
What does it mean that he is the Messiah? It means he is the One that God had promised to come and save the world from the beginning. It means,
John 3:16 NIV
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Jesus, God the Son, came into the world and died on the cross to take the penalty for your sin and mine. He died, and rose again. He died for sin once for all time! You and I earned death by our actions. He came and paid off that debt that we bring upon ourselves. He holds out the payment, saying, get up! Receive my payment for your sin! Receive eternal life—a relationship with God your Creator and Father now and for eternity!
Why live in the hopelessness of life without God? Receive Jesus as your savior! Believe Him when he says He loves you and will give you life!
Become like that lame man. Get up! Receive Jesus, and find hope and life in His name!

Do you want to get well?

There are many of us here who have received Christ. We have believed in Him as our savior.
But we struggle. We have trials and difficulties in our lives.
Have you lost hope? Have you lost peace? Do you keep trying on your own to be better? To do better? To have a better attitude?
Have you grown weary? Do you find yourself doing the same old thing over and over again?
In many ways we are like the lame man. We want to walk like Jesus, but find that our knees are weak. We stumble. We fail. And sometimes, like that man, we lose Hope.
Have you lost hope? Do you want to get well?
Romans 5:1–5 NIV
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
How did you first know peace and hope in your life? Wasn’t it by faith? Wasn’t it when you received Jesus as your savior?
Having started by faith, are you now trying to know peace and hope by your own efforts? It will not work! I know! I do it too!
When we try to live life on our own, we quickly find that though we want to do what is right, we do not. We do the very things we do not want to do.
Romans 7:15 NIV
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
And also,
Romans 7:19 NIV
For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.
Live like that long enough and you will lose the peace and hope that Christ has given you!
Do you know what I mean?

Do you want to get well?

Just like Jesus sought out the lame man, Jesus is still seeking you. Just as He saved you when you first believed, he still wants to deliver you from hopelessness and despair.
Romans 7:24–25 NIV
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
We cannot do it. We need Him to deliver us daily. We need Him to strengthen us moment by moment. He is still the One who can deliver us.
And, He has not left us alone! He does not want us to go through life trying to walk on our own, handle life on our own.
Just like Jesus sought this man out later at the temple, so too, Jesus does not intend us to go on in our lives here alone. He has given us the Holy Spirit!
The Spirit pours out God’s love and direction to us if we will listen. The problem is we tend to walk on our own once we think we are well, and not in His strength and power.
Paul speak of this in Galatians, where those believers, just like us, were saved by faith, and then tried to live life in their own strength. He called them foolish!
Galatians 5:16 NIV
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
The Spirit pours out God’s love in our hearts, and He will lead us in the way we should go. He will strengthen our feeble limbs to walk the way God wants us to walk.
As we walk in the Spirit, we will see this:
Galatians 5:22 NIV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Do you want to get well?

Get up!

Homework: John 5:1-15, Hope: Romans 5:1-5; Romans 12:1-2; Romans 12:3-8; Romans 12:9-13; Romans 15:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24
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