Summary: This sermon teaches us how to be made well by looking at the story of Jesus asking the man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years, "Do you want to get well?"
“A father and son went fishing one summer day. While they were out in their boat, the boy suddenly became curious about the world around him. He asked his father, ‘Dad, how does this boat float?’
The father replied, ‘Don’t rightly know son.’
A little later, the boy looked at his father and asked, ‘Dad, how do fish breath underwater?’
Once again the father replied, ‘Don’t rightly know son.”
A little later the boy asked his father, ‘Dad, why is the sky blue?’
Again, the father replied, ‘Don’t rightly know son.’
Finally, the boy asked his father, ‘Dad, do you mind my asking you all of these questions?’
The father replied, ‘Of course not, son. If you don’t ask questions, you never learn nothin’.’” (submitted by Gary Reinhardt)
Even though that was a joke there is truth in what the father said. If you don’t ask questions you don’t learn. Maybe the key is who you ask the questions. But the truth is, questions are not only used for learning on the students end. Questions are also a tremendous teaching tool. Jesus was known as a great teacher. Many of us have studied his teachings every since we were kids. There is no other teacher who has had a greater impact than Jesus. What we fail to realize is that Jesus often times used questions to teach; sometimes in a setting of a crowd and sometimes when He was dealing with people one on one. We are going to start a series today on the questions that Jesus asked.
Our setting today is a very familiar story. Jesus was headed to Jerusalem for a feast. We really do not know what particular feast it was. Jesus came upon a place that was a pool. All kinds of disabled people used to lie around this pool. Now apparently there were underground springs, and it was believed that the waters had powers that cured people when they started to bubble. Some have said that when the waters started to bubble that the people thought it was an angel coming down and touching the water. Whatever the reason they thought the waters had healing power when it bubbled. But it was here that Jesus has an encounter with a man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. Let’s look at this encounter in our text today.
We do not get a picture that this man sought Jesus out. The scriptures seem to indicate that Jesus sought him out. When there was a whole pool full of people who were disabled it makes us curious why he chose this one man to approach. Maybe it was the fact that this man had been disabled the longest and was in the greatest need. After all, if he had been disabled for thirty-eight years the muscles in his leg would be so atrophied that he would have no hope on his own. But whatever the reason this man was chosen by Jesus from among the disabled. Jesus’ first words to the man were a question. The question was simply, “Do you want to get well?” Taking that question from Jesus, this morning we will look at how to be made well. Now the question seems like such a silly question to ask a man who had been crippled for so long. Why would he ask that kind of question? Surely a man who had been disabled for that many years would love to be healed. But the truth is, and it’s hard to believe, that there are some people who grow so accustom to being sick and needy and the attention that it brings them that I’m not really sure that they want things to be any different. It’s all about desire. And Jesus wanted to know if this man really had a desire to have a different life. He wanted to know if he really had a desire to be made whole. You see Jesus wanted to know if the despair of his situation had so overtaken him that he no longer had any aspiration for things to be different. You see the first step in being made well is to have a desire to get well. Time after time in scripture where we see people being healed, there is a strong desire for healing. Remember the lady who had been bleeding for twelve years. For twelve years she had been considered unclean because of her bleeding problem. Of course that meant that she really couldn’t take part in every day life. She couldn’t be with her family or go to the temple. She had gone to doctor after doctor and spent all that she had trying to find a cure to her problem. But she never caved in and gave up. She never resigned herself to the fate of being unclean and unable to get back to the life she knew before. If you remember one day she takes a risk to go through a crowd and touch the garment of Jesus because she knew she would be healed. This lady had a strong desire to be made well that drove her. I think of Naaman in the Old Testament. We remember Naaman the commander of the Syrian army. He had leprosy and he is told of a prophet named Elisha who could heal him. When we think of this story we always remember how Elisha told him to go dip himself in the Jordan seven times and he would be made well and that Naaman was angry because he expected some hocus pocus kind of ritual. He expected something different than to be told to go dip himself in a river. He was not a happy camper. But his companion talked him into obeying and of course he was healed. But the positive thing about Naaman was that he went through great lengths to be healed. He traveled a great distance to be healed because he had a desire to be healed. He let a friend talk some sense into him because he had a great desire to be healed. I could go on mentioning example after example. But if you want to be made well I believe that God is looking and searching our hearts for that desire to be made well. Maybe if Christ were here this morning His question to you would be, “Do you want to get well?” There are some of you here this morning that maybe you are not physically disabled but you have allowed something to disable you from living life the way that you want and the way that God intended for you. There maybe some of you here this morning that are in the grips of alcohol. It has a control on your life and you haven’t been able to cut it loose. It has caused you to be someone other than who you really are. It has rocked your world in many respects. There maybe someone else here this morning that is battling pornography. No one knows it but you and God. It’s only when you are alone at the house with the computer. When you are in the clutches of pornography, it can be just as bad or worse than the grips of alcohol. It can totally control and consume you. It has ruined marriages and lives just as much those who are controlled by alcohol. Some of you have tried and tried to do away with your sickness, you’ve tried to correct this thing that has so terribly affected your life. And you’ve tried so hard and so many times that you have simply given up hope. I want to tell you don’t allow it to take away your desire to be made well. Christ can give you what you need to overcome. There maybe someone else this morning that may simply be rotting away with the disease of bitterness. It can be a cancer that is hard to get rid of in your own power as well. Christ is more than able to give you what you need. Maybe someone here this morning has been battling a physical sickness and you’ve become so discouraged and used to your situation that you’ve lost the desire to be made well. Whatever your sickness may be, whatever has disabled you, Christ asks you this morning what he asks this man: “Do you want to get well?”