09-04-2022 - What Are You Waiting For?
Do you remember the TV show Gilligan’s Island? Seven people set sail aboard the S.S. Minnow on a three-hour tour (a three hour tour). There was Gilligan, the Skipper, Mr. and Mrs. Howell, Ginger, the Professor, and Mary Ann. But during their three-hour tour they ran into a storm and were shipwrecked on an uncharted island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. They tried their best to get someone’s attention to rescue them or to make something to help them get off the island.
In fact, the Professor could make almost anything with random stuff they had on the boat and he found on island. In one episode he made a battery charger from a coconut shell and a helium balloon made from raincoats sealed with tree sap. I mean this guy was MacGyver before MacGyver was cool.
But the Professor’s best efforts couldn’t get them off the island. They even had random visitors who showed up on the island, but they were never rescued, because Gilligan always seemed to find a way to mess things up. Unfortunately, the original show ended after three seasons and they never got off the island. They were still waiting to be rescued.
We are going to read a story in the Bible this morning about a man who had been waiting for something a lot longer than three TV seasons. This man had an infirmity for 38 years and he had spent every day desperately hoping for the possibility of being healed. John Chapter 5 gives us the account of his encounter one day with Jesus that changed his life forever.
1 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. 5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? 7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. 8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. 9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
The Bible teaches us that there are times when we are to wait on God. But there are also times when we say we are waiting on God to do something, when in reality God is waiting on us to make a move. He is waiting on us to step forward in faith. Waiting on us to submit completely to His will. Waiting on us to pray and seek His face. Waiting on us to depend completely on Him for what we need.
We say we believe that Jesus Christ is more than enough to meet our needs. We say we have faith. We say that we believe that God can still move mountains. We say we believe that God still answers prayers. Well if that’s true, then what are you waiting for?
The story that we read in John Chapter 5 is a beautiful example of the compassionate ministry of Jesus Christ. Here is the Living Water standing beside a natural pool of water. Here is the Great Shepherd coming to one of the lost sheep of Israel. Here is the Great Physician coming to the man who had an infirmity for 38 years and desired to be healed.
Jesus Went Up to Jerusalem
1 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
One of the Major Feast Days
Jesus walked into Jerusalem that day on one of the feast days of the Jews. In other words, it was a Sabbath. But it was probably one of the three major annual feasts (either Passover, Pentecost, or Tabernacles) when the men of Israel were required to travel to the Temple to present themselves before God and offer sacrifices.
Jesus Never Went Anywhere by Accident
How many know that Jesus never went anywhere by accident? Just like many times during Jesus’ earthly ministry, He often took a detour or took an unexpected path because there was someone who needed Him.
The Pool of Bethesda
2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
The Meaning of the Sheep Market and the Pool of Bethesda
Jesus passed through the area of the Sheep Market where the Pool of Bethesda was located. The Sheep Market was where the sheep were bought to be used as a sacrifice at the Temple. One of the purposes of the Pool of Bethesda was likely to wash and cleanse the animals before taking them to the Temple. What is also interesting is that the word “Bethesda” means “House of Mercy” or “House of Grace.”
This Was Probably Passover
Many scholars believe this day was Passover. Passover was the feast that the Jews kept to remember how God brought them out of Egypt. The 10th and final plague in Egypt was the death of the firstborn. The firstborn of every person and animal in Egypt died that night except for those in Israel who kept the Passover. God instructed them to sacrifice a lamb and take the blood and apply it to the doorposts of their houses. And God said, “when I see the blood, I will pass over you.” In other words, the blood would be their protection and the death angel would pass over their home and their families.
All This Represented Jesus
So I just want you to picture with me for just a moment if you will on this day as Jesus, the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world, walked into Jerusalem, passed through the Sheep Market as the perfect and eternal sacrifice for sins, and stopped by the Pool of Bethesda as the One whose blood can wash away the sins of the world through His Mercy and His Grace!
They Were Waiting on Something
3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
The Stirring of the Water
But not only was the Pool of Bethesda a place of ritual cleansing, but it was also a place where many who were sick with various diseases and who suffered from various disabilities were gathered. They believed that every so often, an angel would come down and stir the water in the Pool of Bethesda. And the first person who stepped into the water was immediately healed of whatever disease or disability they had. As a result, many people waited at the Pool of Bethesda every day. They were waiting for the stirring of the water and for their opportunity to be healed.
A Lot of People Today are Waiting on Something
There are a lot of broken people. There are a lot of hurting people. There are a lot of people who are searching for something to fill the emptiness and the void that is in their lives.
The Missing Puzzle Piece
As I’ve told you before, there is a Jesus-sized and Jesus-shaped puzzle piece in the very center of our hearts. When Jesus is missing from our lives, it leaves a massive void. We can try to fill that void with something else, but it will never satisfy our hearts because the piece doesn’t fit. It is only when we have Jesus situated at the center of our lives that we can truly be complete and whole.
That is why so many people today who are broken and hurting. They are missing the one thing, the one person, Jesus Christ, who can fill the void and fit the rest of the pieces of their life together.
The Man Disabled for 38 Years
5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
38 Years is a Long Time to Suffer
To put it in perspective, this man had been disabled for longer than Jesus had been alive. He had suffered for a long time and he came to the Pool of Bethesda every day hoping that it would be the day of his miracle.
Jesus Showed Up for One Man
Notice that the Bible says there was a “certain man.” Jesus came into Jerusalem that day for the day of the feast and Sabbath, but Jesus also had another reason for coming to Jerusalem that day. He traveled through the Sheep Market for a reason. He made his way to the Pool of Bethesda for a reason. And that reason was to meet a certain man, on a certain day, who had a certain need. Out of all the people who were in Jerusalem and were at the Pool of Bethesda that day, Jesus picked out this one man who had an infirmity for 38 years.
Jesus Will Show Up Just for You
Isn’t it wonderful to know that Jesus can pick you out of a lineup? That out of some nearly 8 billion people on planet Earth, Jesus cares about you? That no matter how big or how small your problem may be, Jesus will take time to minister to your needs? That even today, right now, as you listen to this sermon, Jesus is with you? That He showed up today just for you? That He will take care of your need right now?
Wilt Thou Be Made Whole?
6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?
The Meaning of Wilt Thou?
Jesus asked him a very simple, yet very profound, question: “Wilt thou be made whole?” Some of the other Bible translations say, “Do you want to be made well?” But those translations miss some of the nuance of the KJV. The question wasn’t if the man “wanted” to be healed. He obviously wanted to be healed. The probing question that Jesus asked him was “wilt thou” or “are you willing” to be healed or to be made whole. Jesus was really getting down to the thoughts and intents of his heart.
Do You Want to Be Made Whole Today?
The question is not whether Jesus can or will heal. The question is "do you want to be healed” and, if so, “are you willing to be healed?” Is your will in alignment with God’s will? “Wilt thou be made whole?”
The Man Had the Wrong Focus
7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.
His Faith Was in Something or Someone Else
Not only was the man waiting on the stirring of the water, he was also waiting for someone to help him into the water. That was the problem. This man had his faith in the water and in someone else to help him in the water. The result was disappointment every time.
There Was No One Else Willing to Help this Man
Sadly there was no one there that would help him into the pool. I can see why Jesus came to this man that day and had compassion on him. My heart goes out to him as well. I can just picture him trying to slide or somehow pull himself toward the pool as the water was stirred only to have people step over him and around him to be the first in the water. Time after time after time. Disappointment after disappointment after disappointment.
This Man Was Disappointed but not Defeated
Let’s not focus on his disappointment so much that we overlook his determination. Even though he had been let down and defeated so many times, this man kept coming back to the pool. There was such a sincere determination to get out of the situation he was in that he was willing to suffer through continual disappointment because he still had a sliver of hope deep down in his heart that one day he was going to be the first in the water.
How Often Do We Get Discouraged?
How often do we get discouraged at the slightest disappointment? How often do we give up at the smallest hurdle that we have to overcome?
I’ll never forget Ricky from high school. He was an offensive lineman on the football team, but he was part of the track team in the off season to stay in shape. One year Ricky decided to run the 110m hurdles. 10 hurdles, 110m race. Simple enough, right? I remember watching Ricky in one race in particular. He shot out of the gate like you would imaging a 250lb lineman would. He approached hurdle no. 1 and promptly tripped over it and fell. He got up and charged toward hurdle no. 2. He fell over that one too. Some of you are already getting ahead of me. Yes, he fell over no. 3, no. 4, and all the way to no. 10. But he never quit. He was scratched up and bloodied when he crossed the finish line. But he crossed the finish line. He never got so discouraged that he gave up.
You might be facing some disappointments and it may feel like you keep falling. You might be discouraged. But let me encourage you to never give up. Be persistent. If you fall, get back up.
The Man Was Made Whole
8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. 9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
Jesus is the One True Healer
Think about how long this man had waited at the Pool of Bethesda. His faith was in his ability to get into the natural water in that pool. But with just seven simple words, Jesus, the source of Living Water, brought the answer he had so desperately longed for. He would have probably sat around for the rest of his life waiting on the stirring of the water, and the right timing, and for someone to help him in the water. But Jesus demonstrated that He is the only true Healer!
Notice the Response that was Required
The Bible says that the man was immediately made whole, took up his bed, and walked. What a miracle! But notice, the man had to do something. Jesus said, “rise.” He was asking this man to do something that he could not do. If he could “rise and walk” he would have been able to get into the water. If we could “rise and walk” he wouldn’t need to even be there at the Pool of Bethesda. Jesus’ words required a response of faith.
Jesus Came to Make You Whole
What about you today? Do you need something from Jesus? Jesus came to make you whole. That means He came to save and heal you spirit, soul, and body.
23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Wilt Thou Be Made Whole?
Do you want to be made whole? Your life can be made whole only as it is wholly given to God.
Do you need to be saved? Your spiritual man will never be whole until you surrender your life to Jesus Christ.
Do you need Jesus to make your soul whole? You soul is your mind, your will, your emotions. Maybe you are struggling with issues in your mind. Maybe you are constantly living in defeat and depression. Maybe you are an emotional wreck right now. You are stressed out and overwhelmed and don’t know what to do.
Do you need Jesus to make your body whole? Jesus cares about all of you. Spirit, soul, and body. He came to offer healing to every part of you.
2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
Maybe you are suffering with some sort of physical ailment like the man at the Pool of Bethesda.
What Are You Waiting For?
Let me ask you something. If that is you. If you are fighting a battle in your spirit, soul, or body. If you are facing something right now. And you believe that Jesus is the Savior. You believe that Jesus is the Healer. You believe that Jesus can make you whole. What are you waiting for?
Are you lost and need salvation? Are you hurting and need healing? Are you discouraged and need encouragement? Are you stressed out and need some peace? What are you waiting for?
Some people are waiting on their circumstances to change. They are waiting for the moving of the water. They are waiting for God to move. And all the time God is waiting on you to make a move. The Living Water is standing right on front of you. The man in Jerusalem that day didn’t need the water in the pool of Bethesda. He needed Living Water that was only found in Jesus Christ. Friend, the Living Water is here with you right now. Stop making excuses and stop waiting for a sign. Let Jesus Christ transform your life and make you whole.