Summary: Exploring whether or not we want to give up on dependency on things of this world and surrender completely to Jesus
Do You Want to Be Healed?
CCCAG April 22nd, 2018
Scripture- Video showed us John 5:1-14
One of the experiences I have had as a paramedic is seeing people where they live. In other words, I frequently enter their homes and see who they really are by what they surround themselves with in their place of residence.
For years I worked in Walworth County with a predominantly Caucasian population. Walworth County has multimillion dollar mansions around Lake Geneva. Huge estates that are hundreds of acres. All of the richest people in Chicago have a house there so I got to see how the rich and famous lived.
I also saw the exact opposite. I saw the poor living in old cottages in Pell Lake, which was the poor area. This was an old summer cottage community and many of these summer cottages had been added onto with pallets, plywood, and anything else they could salvage together to try and make their homes a little bigger. Often you would walk in past weeks of rotting garbage and then put your foot through the floor or a step into their homes that were very unkempt and reeking of marijuana. Drug paraphernalia was everywhere and often you would be trying not to step on the chickens or other typically barnyard animals they had as pets.
Then I switched jobs to an ambulance service that was based in Milwaukee on the north side. The north side is predominantly African American and is filled with gangs, violence and poverty. Many of the homes we went in were similar to those in the poor white area of Pell Lake- garbage every were, drugs in evidence, multiple children with different last names.
Looking back on my experience I have learned one undeniable truth-
Having no real hope destroys the human spirit no matter what ethnicity you come from. This lack of hope created the same problems with drugs and alcohol in the Mansions of Lake Geneva as I did in the ghettos of Milwaukee.
No hope always brings misery, regardless of your race, economic condition, or culture.
In the scriptural scene from the Gospel of John chapter 5 we watched prior to the beginning of this message illustrates this for us. Jesus is walking into the same kind of scene.
The pools of Bethesda were originally created as a source of water for the washing of sacrifices coming into the temple area from the sheep gate.
These pools were connected to a deep underground spring, and whenever the water level would drop enough the spring would build up enough pressure to refill the pool and the water would suddenly bubble and stir. An example that might be familiar to us would be the geysers at Yellowstone Park like Old Faithful- it has a fairly regular eruption of water when the pressure from underneath gets high enough. The same principle here.
In the first century, they didn’t understand a lot about geology or fluid dynamics so a legend had formed saying that God sent an angel down periodically to stir the water, and the first person to reach the pool would be healed of whatever disease they had.
Because of this, these pools had become an area where the sick would sit and ask for money as people passed through the area on the way to the temple. Normally, there were a few dozen people in this area, but during times of religious festivals, up to 300 sick people would be carried here and dropped off by friends and relatives to try and beg for money.
Obviously, anyone who was lame like the man we saw in the film adaptation of the scripture to this morning could never beat the kid who was there because of his acne so the truly sick were perpetually disappointed that they would never receive their miracle and had fallen into a mindset of hopelessness.
But then the answer comes. In the King James version of the bible verse 3 says of the pool of Bethesda that
In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk
In 1611, impotent doesn’t mean what it does today. It meant a person unable to change or improve their lot in life, or a person without hope.
This person without hope, without the ability to change anything was about to meet the one who is the embodiment of hope and can change even the most hopeless situation into a miraculous victory that brings great praise to God our Father.
This impotent man was about to meet the omnipotent man Jesus.
Now to the central point of this message- Jesus’ question to this man.
Do you want to be made well? Think about that as we pray
I. Hopelessness of dependency
I grew up in a welfare home. My mother and my father had split up when I was 5 years old, and my mother immediately had to go on welfare to take care of my brother and myself. I learned early on what it was like to live in that culture of dependency we are talking about this morning.