Summary: Here was a man, for 38 years unable to walk, a burden to others, & probably with little sense of self-worth. Let's see how Jesus motivated him to become a candidate for healing, because I believe the same things are necessary today. (Powerpoints - #203)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(Powerpoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #203.)
A. When you look around at the people who attend church 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?
ILL. Marshall Hayden wrote an article entitled, "Would Every Non-Hurter Please Stand Up?" He pointed out that people come to church wearing their best clothes & their best smiles. Everybody looks happy, so we assume everything is okay.
But he suggests that we need to look beyond the facade & realize that the pews are full of hurting people.
He wrote, "Over here is a family with an income of $550 a week and an outgo of $1,000. Over there is a family with two children who, according to their dad, are failures. ‘You're stupid. You never do anything right,’ he is constantly telling them. The lady over there just found a tumor that tested positive.
"Sam & Louise just had a nasty fight. Each is thinking of divorce. Last Monday Jim learned that he was being laid off. Sarah has tried her best to cover the bruises her drunken husband inflicted when he came home Friday night.
"Then there are those of us with lesser hurts, but they don't seem so small to us: 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."
B. In the face of that, the Word of God has good news! In Matthew 11:28-30 (quickview) , 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."
This is not to say that He will resolve every problem immediately, for Jesus said clearly that we will have trouble in this world. But He can resolve our problems if we trust in Him. In some cases, He may resolve the problem immediately. In other cases, 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 (quickview)  15, is a dramatic example of this. Here was a man who for 38 years had been unable to walk, a burden to others, & probably with little sense of self worth.
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.
PROP. Let's see how Jesus motivated this man to become a candidate for healing, because I believe the same things are necessary today.
I. HE HAD TO IDENTIFY WHAT HE WANTED
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?