Summary: In this message we will have the opportunity to wrestle with the same question that Jesus asked a man who was crippled for 38 years.
Do You Want To Get Well?
1Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 2Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades.
3Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"
7"Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me."
8Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." 9At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, "It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat."
HEY – isn’t that just like the religious…
Failing to rejoice in God moving because things were not done the way they think things ought to be done.
I MEAN – a guy who has been an invalid for 38 years is now walking, that’s good news, right?
But he replied, "The man who made me well said to me, 'Pick up your mat and walk.' " 12So they asked him, "Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?" 13The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. – John 5:1-13
IT – was a located just north of the Temple area in Jerusalem. It was a large pool surrounded by 5 colonnades or porches. It was built many years earlier to be a monument of wealth and prosperity… but it’s residents now, are people of sickness and disease. IT was called the pool of ‘Bethesda’ a word that means ‘house of mercy.
AND – mercy is what the multitudes who were gathered that day were longing for…
LISTEN – to how one author describes the scene;
PICTURE - a battleground filled with wounded bodies, and you see Bethesda.
IMAGINE – a nursing home overcrowded and understaffed, and you see the pool.
CALL – to mind the orphans in Bangladesh or the abandoned in New Delhi, and you will see what people saw when they passed Bethesda.
AND – as they passed, what did they hear? (An endless wave of groans). WHAT – did they witness? (A field of faceless need). WHAT – did they do? (Most walked past, ignoring the people).
BUT – not Jesus. He is in Jerusalem for a feast. He is alone. He’s not there to teach the disciples or to draw a crowd. The people need him so he’s there.
CAN – you picture it?
Jesus walking among the suffering?
WHAT – is He thinking?
WHEN - an infected hand touches his ankle what does he do? WHEN – a blind child stumbles in Jesus’ path, does he reach down to catch the child?
WHEN – wrinkled hand extends for alms, how does Jesus respond? …
HOW – does God feel when people hurt?
NOW – it’s worth telling the story if all we do is watch him walk. IT’S – worth it just to know that he came. He didn’t have to you know.
SURELY – there were more sanitary crowds in Jerusalem.
SURELY – there were more enjoyable activities.
AFTER ALL – it’s the Passover feast. It’s an exciting time in the holy city. People have come from miles around to meet God in the temple.
LITTLE – do they know that God is with the sick.
LITTLE – do they know that God is walking slowly carefully between the beggars and the blind.
LITTLE – do they know that the strong young carpenter who surveys the ragged landscape of pain is God
YES – the picture in John 5 when we take the time to really slow down and look at it is an incredible, powerful and troubling scene. ROW – after row of wounded sick and hurting people.
QUESTION – are things really that different today?
Unfortunately not… Our world is full of pain, hurt, trouble and sorrow.
WE – are surrounded on every side by row after row of wounded, sick and hurting people…. It’s everywhere, even in this room.
I MEAN - when you look around at the people who attend church with you on Sunday, what do you see?
DO - you see ‘row after row’ of impressive people, dressed in nice clothes who have it all together?