Summary: Hold on to your faith even when it appears that all hope is lost.
Bishop Wayne A. Lawson
The Word Ministries, Inc.
Oklahoma City, OK
Preached at Antioch Institutional Baptist Church, OKC
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Scripture: St. John 5:1-15
1After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
2Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
3In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
4For 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.
5And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
6When 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?
7The 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.
8Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
9And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
10The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.
11He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.
12Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?
13And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.
14Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
15The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.
TITLE: A LEGEND AMONG THE LOST
The authenticity of this passage has been in dispute for generations, particularly Vs. 4. The NIV handles it by going right from Vs. 3 to Vs. 5, includes Vs. 4 in a footnote. Some manuscripts use the word paralyzed - and they waited for the moving of the waters. From time to time an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters. The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease he had. Some have alleged that the fourth verse is not sufficiently authenticated, and dispute the passage about the angel going down to the pool to agitate the waters, or instead attribute supernatural qualities to the waters.
• Others have speculated that the pool was a mineral spring.
• Perhaps it is safer simply to take the text as it reads, and accept that the pool at Bethesda was thought to have healing effects.
• For the convenience of the sick, five porches had been built where they could gather together and prepare for their turn in the healing waters.
Third-eight years is a long time to wait for anything, but it must have seemed like an eternity to this man. How long is thirty-eight years? - Long enough that most people would stop believing. In our text, Jesus comes to Jerusalem to celebrate a Jewish feast when he viewed this man laying by the pool of Bethesda. The later part of Vs. 3 and all of Vs. 4 explains why this man was laying there. He laid there because people believed the water had healing power when it was Angelically stirred. When Jesus saw him, he asked him a question, "Do you desire to get well?" Is that a question that Jesus even needed to ask? Certainly it is safe to make the assumption the man wanted to be well. He’d waited in the same place with this condition that plagued him for thirty-eight years; why else would he be there? Let me ask the question another way, and if you don’t mind, I’ll get a little personal.
• Do you wish to stop repeating the same mistakes and going through the same cycles in your relationships
• Does it feel safer to blame others instead of dealing with your own issues?
• Do you wish to get rid of your anger, or would you just as soon keep it?
• All questions that should not be asked
• Most of our lives we have issues we need to deal with
The man at the pool had one thing absolutely right – he could not solve his problem. He told Jesus, “I have not one to help me.” But there was a second problem as well – he actually wasn’t sure where ’help’ really was located. Too often we labor under the false assumption that we can solve the deepest problems of our lives. That road ends in despair. We need purpose and meaning, so we pursue “success” or “respect” or try to leave a legacy. None of these are bad in themselves, but they are by-products of life rather than the deep meaning and purpose behind it. Or, worse off, we set up a false source of ’help’ – we create our own pool of Bethesda. We say, "If I can get two million dollars, I can have security - If I get enough education and degrees I can answer the questions that torment me. We need answers just as surely as the man at the pool.