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Summary: "The Grace and Mercy of Jesus can help us over come our hurts, no matter what they are."

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Biblical reference: John 5:1-15

A. When you look around at the people who attend church with you on Sunday, what do you see? Do you see impressive people, dressed in fine clothes who have it all together? Or do you see hurting people in need

of comfort; troubled people in need of peace; sick people who need healing? "Would Every Non-Hurter Please Stand Up?" People come to church wearing their best clothes & their best smiles. Everybody looks happy, so we assume everything is okay. But I suggest

that we need to look beyond the facade & realize that the pews are full of hurting people.

"Over here is a family with an income of $700 a week and an outgo of $2,000. Over there is a family with three children who, according to their dad, are "failures." "You’ll never do anything right or amount to anything," he is constantly telling them. The lady over there just found a tumor that tested positive. The Johnson’s little boy has cancer. There is Heather who was a victim of child and spousal abuse. In front sits an old woman, named Evelyn. One of her friends is constantly condemning her or accusing her of one thing or another. Over on that side is Joe & Tina who just had a nasty fight. Each is thinking of divorce. Last Monday Paul learned that he was being laid off. Becky has tried her best to cover the bruises her drunken husband inflicted when he came home Friday night. That teen over there feels like he is on the rack, pulled in both directions. Parents & church pull one way, peers & glands pull the other. Then there is Thomas who hides his hurt and escapes it with drugs and alcohol. Then we see Chad, who has AIDS and is shunned by many. Karl was born with Aids because his mother and Father, now deceased, were drug users. Karl is hurting because Aids is not his fault, yet everyone assumes he violated God’s laws in some way and that is his punishment.

"Then there are those of us with lesser hurts, but they don’t seem so small to us: an unresponsive spouse, a boring job, a poor grade, a friend or parent who is unresponsive ...on & on the stories go. The

lonely, the dying, the discouraged, the exhausted, they’re all here." In the face of that, the Word of God has good news! Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary & burdened, & I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you & learn from me, for I am gentle & humble in heart, & you will find rest for your souls" [Matthew 11:28-30]. This is not to say that He will heal every problem immediately if we just have enough faith. Jesus said clearly that we will have trouble in this world. But He can resolve life’s serious problems if we trust in Him.In some cases, He may resolve the problem immediately, even miraculously. In others, He grants the power to endure the difficulty & triumph over it. The healing of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda, recorded in John 5:1-15, is a dramatic example of Jesus’ wondrous power. Here was a man who had been unable to walk for 38 years. He had been a burden to people. He probably had little sense of selfworth. But Jesus had pity on him & healed him. And it’s one of the few times the Scripture records Jesus healing someone when He was not asked to do

so. Let’s see how Jesus motivated this man to become a candidate for healing, because the same prerequisites are necessary for us today.

I.HE IDENTIFIED WHAT HE WANTED

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A. First of all, Jesus encouraged the man to identify what he wanted. Vs. 6 says, "When Jesus saw him lying there & learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, He asked him, `Do you want to get well?" That sounds like an absurd question. Of course this man wanted to get well! You wouldn’t ask a starving man, "Do you want food?" would you? Actually, it was a very valid question, for there are people who, if

given an opportunity for healing, might actually choose to remain sick. Right now they’re free of some unpleasant responsibilities, & they get sympathy by complaining about their sickness. They can manipulate

people by being sick, or punish themselves if they feel guilty. So when Jesus asked, "Do you want to get well?" He seems to be saying, "You have friends who bring you here, & you’ve developed friendships with others who come here regularly. If I heal you, your life will do a complete reversal. You’ll be expected to get a job & relate to people on a different basis. Are you ready for that change? Do you really want to

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