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Summary: John 5

DO YOU WANT TO GET WELL? (JOHN 5:1-14)

The Ice Bucket Challenge is all over the papers, TV and internet. Participants from celebrities to businessmen and politicians are dared to have a bucket of iced water poured over their heads. Why? Many have forgotten. It is to raise money and improve awareness of the fight against ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) or Lou Gehrig's disease. The challenge is for participants to pour a bucket of ice water on themselves and then post a video of it on social media while nominating three other people to do the same. People who fail to take the challenge will have to donate $100 to the ALS Association.

The Hong Kong non-profit chapter of ALS usually raises HK$10,000 a month for the disease, but so far it raised a total of HK$9 million (Aug 26, 2014) to help patients with renting equipment and the office with long-term planning.

Paralysis is a loss of muscle function in part of the body. It can be partial or complete, temporary or permanent, and natural or accidental. Most patients feel no pain in the paralyzed areas of their bodies and have no control over how those muscles move. Paralysis include medical condition such as a stroke, spinal cord injury, *multiple sclerosis (MS), cerebral palsy, post-polio syndrome and others.

John chapter 5 tells of a sick man in Jerusalem whom Jesus on a feast of the Jews. The fourth gospel is quite unlike to the first three gospels in the New Testament when it comes to the Jewish backdrop and involvement, including his early observance of the Passover and his frequent trips to Jerusalem (John 2:13). The presence of the "Jews" were recorded no more than six times each in the three gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, but they made their presence felt 71 times in John's gospel, so something had to give. The Jews had no holiday spirit nor were they in festive mood. There are three "not" (vv 7, 10, 13) in the passage to describe the opposition and obstacles the man had to overcome.

What are the burdens and baggage in your life? How do you overcome the blows and barriers? Why is bravery needed in weakness or wellness?

Break The Snare of Suffering

1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie -the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When 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." 8 Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." (John 5:1-8)

It's been said, "Nothing is stronger than a habit."

G. Campbell Morgan told of a man of his congregation who had a drinking problem:

"Every now and then, he just broke out and went mad with drink.; and I went to see him as he was getting back out of these terrible drinking bouts, and sitting in his house with him, he looked at me with a sort of disdain in his face. The disain which is the mark, not of unkindness, but of inward agony; and he said, "Mr. Morgan what is the good of your talking to me? You don't know anything about this passion for drink, you don't know what it means." Said he, "When the drink is on me if you put a glass of wine on that table, and standing on the other side of it, you told me that if I touched it you would shoot me, and I knew hell lay the other side of the bullet, I would drink the wine." (Warren Wiersbe, Classic sermon of the Miracles of Jesus, 54).

The man was simply known as the man who with a disease not for three or eight years but 38 years, far longer than anyone else in the Bible, almost the first half of a person's life. The two Greek words to describe his disease (vv 5, 7) is similar to Lazarus' sickness (John 11:1, 2, 3, 4, 6). He was without strength (astheneia) in Greek, not technically paralyzed, but practically disabled. No one was sick longer than him in the Bible. Not the woman who was diseased with an issue of blood for 12 years (Matt 9:20, Mark 5:25, Luke 8:43) or the woman with a bent back for 18 years (Luke 13:11). Those who are sick the longest have no will to live, no one to love and no help for long. The Chinese say those sick for a long time have no filial child久病無孝子.

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