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ILL. Dave Reavor, disabled Viet Nam veteran, tells of a young man in the 1960s who didnít want to be drafted. So he had all his teeth pulled out to make himself unfit for military duty. But when he took his physical, he was declared unfit because of flat feet!
So when Jesus asked, "Do you want to get well?" He seems to be saying, "You have friends who bring you here, & youíve developed friendships with others who come here regularly. If I heal you, your life will do a complete reversal. Youíll be expected to get a job & relate to people on a different basis. Are you ready for that change? Do you really want to get well?"
B. Thatís a question we may need to answer, as well. What do you want? The first step to gaining something is to want it.
ILL. Zig Ziglar says he looked into a mirror one day & realized he needed to lose a lot of weight. He really wanted to get in shape. As an incentive, he put a picture of a thin man on the refrigerator door.
There are all kinds of gimmicks offered as motivators to dieting. You can purchase sound tracks that laugh at you & call you "fatso" when you open the refrigerator door! But Ziglar wanted a positive reinforcement, so he put a picture of what he wanted to look like on the refrigerator. That constant reminder was the first step toward a healthier body for him.
ILL. Drs. Minirth & Meyer have written a book about overcoming depression entitled "Happiness Is a Choice." They wrote, "As psychiatrists, we cringe whenever Christian patients use the words, `I canítí & `Iíve tried.í Any good psychiatrist knows that `I canítí & `Iíve triedí are merely lame excuses. We insist that our patients stop saying `canítí & say `wonítí instead."
"They need to see what they are really doing, so we make them face up to it by saying, `I just wonít get along with my wife.í `My husband & I wonít communicate.í `I wonít discipline my kids the way I should.í `I wonít find time to pray.í `I wonít stop gossiping.í When they change their "caníts" to "woníts" they stop avoiding the truth & start facing reality."
We need to determine what we really want, & as Godís people, learn to say with the apostle Paul, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" [Philippians 4:13].
II. HE QUIT BLAMING OTHER PEOPLE
A. A second prerequisite for this manís healing was to quit blaming others for his problem.
There was a local belief that the waters of Bethesda had healing powers. Some Biblical manuscripts read that "An angel of the Lord came down & stirred up the waters." Earlier manuscripts did not contain that explanation, & many scholars believe the stirring of the water was from an underground spring that would occasionally experience extreme pressure. Whatever caused the disturbance, the people believed that when the waters of Bethesda bubbled up, the first one in the water would be cured.
So when Jesus asked, "Do you want to get well?" the man replied, "Sir, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I
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