Summary: God has provided for us to be released from the curse and to live under blessing.
As I begin this message today, I want to ask you a question, “Do you want God to bless you?” You might think, “What a silly question!” Not really, Jesus asked this same question, and He wasn't trying to be silly. He was deadly serious.
Note the scene here. Jesus encounters a man who . . .
A. Was in need of a blessing - v. 5
B. Was in desire of a blessing - v.7
C. Was in a place of blessing - v.2
Bethesda means “house of mercy” or “house of blessing”
. . . Yet, he was without blessing from God.
Can you relate to him? Could it be that you recognize your need for the blessings of God and that your desire for the blessings of God has brought you to the house of God - the house of blessing - but, like the lame man, you do not have the blessing of God upon your life?
If that describes you, then listen carefully to Jesus' question!
“Do you want God to bless you?”
What is implied in that question? What Jesus is emphasizing is that when we do not know the blessing of God in our life, the fault does not lie with God, but with us. We forfeit God's blessings because we do not know how to get in a position to receive them.
Do you want God to bless you? If so, there are two things you must understand, as illustrated by our passage today.
1. We must understand God’s heart - v. 6
God wants to bless us!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” - Jeremiah 29:ll (NIV)
This is why Christ came to earth - to rescue us from the curse of sin so that we might live under the blessings of God.
You see, all mankind is under a curse due to sin.
Sin is simply going my own way as opposed to God's way. Sin is disobedience. All mankind is in sin. All mankind is in disobedience. Therefore, all mankind is under a curse.
And what is that curse? Simply stated, it is the curse of living a powerless life. It is that which Jesus declared:
“You can do nothing without me.” - John 15:5 (GN)
Apart from Christ, we are just like the lame man in our passage. We are without help and without hope. We are powerless.
But Jesus came to deliver us from the curse of sin, which Paul says the law makes abundantly clear - that on our own, apart from a relationship with God, we are powerless to obey Him and live as He intended. But when we choose to acknowledge Christ as our Savior, we are delivered from having to live our life under the curse of powerlessness.
“But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse
for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.’ Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.” - Galatians 3:13-14 (NLT)
Christ was cursed, so we might be blessed. This is the exchanged life.
“I gave Him a crown of thorns, He gave me a crown of righteousness. I gave Him a cross to carry, He gave me His yoke which is easy, His burden which is light. I gave Him nails through His hands, He gave me safely into His Father’s hands from which no power can pluck me. I gave Him a mock title, ‘This is the King of the Jews.’ He gave me a new name and made me a king and a priest to God. I gave Him no covering, stripping His clothes from Him, He gave me a garment of salvation. I gave Him mockery, casting the same in His teeth, He gave me Paradise. I gave Him vinegar to drink, He gave me Living Water. I crucified and slew Him on a tree, He gave me eternal life. It was my sinfulness that put Him there. It is His sinlessness that puts me here.” - Derick Bingham
And where is it that Christ has put me as a result of my faith in Him? He has put me in a place to be blessed by God. Blessed to be able to live a life of obedience, a life that is empowered to please God.
“Christ carried our sins in his body on the cross so that freed from our sins, we could live a life that has God’s approval.” - 1 Peter 2:24 (GW)