Summary: Before you can get your life fixed you must decide that you actually want it fixed. While this may sound oddd. Look at v. 6. “When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been in that condition a long time He said to him, ‘Do you want to
“If God is with me, then why doesn’t He fix my problems?”
Jesus has now come up from the city of Cana to the city of Jerusalem to celebrate one of the religious feasts. In Jerusalem there were different gates to enter and they were used for a variety of purposes. One of these gates was called the Sheep gate. This was the entrance through which the sheep they were using for sacrifices would enter. It’s interesting that as Jesus the lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world; Jesus entered through the same gate.
Now once He was inside the city, He comes to the pool of Bethesda. There lying all around the pool are sick and paralyzed people. They have come to this spot because there was a legend that an angel would on occasion come and stir up the waters of the pool and the first one to get into the water would be healed. This was of course just a superstition.
Now Jesus moves into the midst of this group but we notice that He does not fix every problem he encounters that day. Instead, as He moved among the blind and the lame, he is drawn to one particular man who had been ill for 38 years. It’s puzzling why out of all of these very needy people that Jesus would choose to fix one individual. But that is exactly what happens. It could have been that Jesus knew that the man had been lying there for 38 years.....could have been other reasons. One thing we do know is that it was not because the man was asking for Jesus’ help. He didn’t even know who Jesus was. Jesus encounters this man and then Jesus asks him a very strange question. Here it is: do you want to get well. I mean if a man was starving would you say would like some food? This man, paralyzed for 38 years and Jesus says do you want to get well? Do you want me to fix your problem?
First thing I want you to see this morning is this. Here is the first one. (1) Before you can get your life fixed you must decide that you actually want it. Look at v. 6. “When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been in that condition a long time He said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’” Jesus would often ask questions for the simple purpose of making us think. It’s a lot like a question parents often ask their children: “Do you want a spanking?” As I was preparing this message I was working last Thursday night and was sitting in a restaurant alone trying to focus while a woman at the next table with her two children was having some discipline problems with her children. To be honest the problem was more hers than her kids. But in a moment of anger she said to her 5 year old…. you’re gonna get a spanking when we get home. Then she said do you want to try me? Seems like such an obvious answer but apparently not.
Over the past 38 years this man had been a beggar so he lived his life off of the donations of others. If he were healed he would lose these donations. He would lose the pity of others. If this man were healed he would then have to be responsible for himself. He would have to find work. It would be a whole new world for him. It would be the equivalent today of offering this to a person who had lived on welfare if they were willing to give that up in order to get well. Now there would be risk. Now he would be responsible for himself.
I see people in our community like this every day. Too many people who feel that they are entitled. Think they deserve something without having to do anything to get it. Their lives are dysfunctional, but they have never considered that God might have something different for them. They don’t know there is something more to life. They have become satisfied with just getting by.
(2) If we do want to have our problems fixed, then we must decide to stop making excuses. Take responsibility. V.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.’” Did you see it? He completely avoids the question. He doesn’t say whether or not he wants to be fixed. He just complains. Tells us how unfortunate he is. Has it ever occurred to you that there are some people who just really enjoy complaining? In today’s terms we would say that he sees himself as a victim. When a person always sees themselves as a victim of society, as a victim of their upbringing, then they convince themselves that everything that happens to them is somebody else’s fault. It has to be their wife’s fault or their husband’s fault or their parent’s fault or society’s fault. Everyone else’s. I can’t help but feel sorry for the man: all alone, his family is gone, he’s lame, he’s lonely and he says, “Sir, I have no one to help me.” In other words, I can’t do anything for myself and God’s not doing anything to fix my condition.