Sermons

Summary: Jesus offers us healing, but will we accept His healing, or keep our sicknesses?

Hopeless and Helpless?

June 9, 2013

John 5:2-8

I believe one of the hardest, most difficult things for most people --- is to ask for help. We want to be independent. In fact, we fight for our independence. Yet, at the same time, once some people have accepted help, they get stuck in a place where they rely more on the help of others, than on themselves.

Now, that can be a sticky topic. I’m not talking about someone who has a need. And I don’t want you to stop asking for help. But I’m wondering about those situations when we become so comfortable with others helping us, that we stop helping ourselves.

Last week we began to look at what could be a haunting and daunting question from Jesus — Do you want to be made well?

On the surface we all want to say of course. But we must consider what do we want to be made well from?

Do I really want to be made well? Honestly, well, yes and no. Yes, I want to be made well. I don’t want to hurt anymore. Yet, some part of us likes to play the role of innocent victim, to blame others for wounding us, or for keeping us stuck.

We find reasons to complain and look for excuses. We can list the many ways our parents have done us wrong . . . this is why I am the way I am. Our spouse has let us down. It’s the kids, they didn’t turn out as expected. My boss, my career, my teachers, my siblings, my friends, my pastors, my church and ultimately . . . my God has let me down.

Life is definitely not my fault. I deserve better. Why I could have been fully alive and well – but then those bad things happened . . . so here I am, stuck forever on the edge of healing. Healing’s so close, I can taste it, I can smell it, but it never happens.

Do you want to be made well? That question requires honest self-examination. Maybe a little digging into ourselves. Maybe we need a shovel. Sometimes we need to complete an archaeological dig . . . going deep into our heart and spirit to discover who we really are and what we really need and want.

When we’ve sifted and sorted through our heart, spirit and mind, what we may discover is that we want to be fully alive. Deep down we want to love and to be loved, and to draw close to the powerful love of God. Deep down we want our lives to be about something much larger than ourselves and our endless wallowing and self-promotion. We want our lives to be full of light, to be blessed and a blessing to others.

When it comes to healing, Jesus doesn’t appear out of nowhere, waving a magic wand. What Jesus asks is more demanding than that, and more costly. We need to accept His healing so we can become the very person God is calling us to be.

So, Jesus meets this man by the pool, and let’s look at the part of the story . . .

2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches.

3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water.

4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.

5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years.

6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”

7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”

8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”

9 Immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.

Jesus asked him that question . . . “Do you want to be made well?” The man’s answer was really a messy answer. He doesn’t directly reply to Jesus' question but responds with blaming and complaint. “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” - John 5:7. So, what does he mean?

I know people who don’t want to be healed. They don’t want to receive divine help for their problems. They don’t want to be helped out of their weakness. They love their weakness. They crave the attention of others through their helplessness. They’re able to escape responsibility. I have seen people turn their backs on a way of deliverance, because they did not want to be healed. They were comfortable just as they were, even though they would speak of their frustration.

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