Jesus Brings Healing
On May 23, 1939, the S-4 submarine Squalus sank off of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The entire crew was trapped in what appeared to be a prison house of death. Eventually though, each of the thirty-three crewmen were rescued. When the rescue squad reached the stricken sub, one of the divers tapped with metal on the hull in an effort to locate the sailors. He then placed his helmet up against the side of the vessel and he heard the familiar tapping – the longs and the shorts – of the Morse Code. What was the message that was being spelled out from within? It was repeating the same question. The question was, "Is... there... any… hope?"
That is the question that people across the world are asking today. Is there any hope. We live in a world of hurt and pain, and we hide our hurts so closely so that no one can ever penetrate and see us for who we really are. And desperately, we search for hope in our lives. Just . . . beneath the surface are scars of past, painful hurts . . . There are wounds that never properly healed . . . There are more recent injuries, something someone said, something someone did, something someone neglected to do. Some hurts go so deep that they shape who you are even today, and some are so incredibly sore that it just takes a word or a look to open the scab, and create fresh hurt on top of hurt. We long for hope, and we long for healing.
If you have your Bible with you this morning, I invite you to turn with me to John 5. If you’re here without a Bible of your own this morning, we have copies in between the chairs. And if you don’t have a Bible of your own, please take one of ours home with you. We’ve been going through John’s gospel and looking at Jesus to see him as he truly is, the son of God come to live among us. John’s goal is that we might place our faith in him. Today, we see Jesus as the one who gives hope.
Watch with me on the screen as we see the passage dramatized for us, and follow along in your Bibles. Show Video Clip***
Prayer – for God to bring us hope and healing
To quickly recap where we are at in our journey through John, we have seen Jesus start his ministry being baptized by John the Baptist, going into the wilderness, calling disciples, and going up north, through Samaria, and spending time in Galilee, centered in Capernaum. He performs his first miracles there and then he returns down to Jerusalem. We see in verse 1 he has come down for a Jewish holy day. Three times a year all Jews went to Jerusalem: Passover, the feast of Tabernacles, and Pentecost. Most likely this is Passover, for John records all 4 Passovers during Jesus’ earthly ministry. If so, this means this is about a year after the events we saw in John 4. The first year of Jesus ministry was a peaceful one of doing signs and the people receiving him gladly. Now, the second year begins, and it will be one of seeing more conflict.
Jesus comes into the city, and he comes to a pool that was called Bethesda, or “house of mercy.” It’s right by the sheep gate, where tradition tells us all the sheep were brought in for sacrifice at the temple. And the pool is filled to overflowing with the sick, blind, lame, anyone who needed healing, for from time to time an angel came and stirred the waters and healed those who reached the water first.
Jesus meets a man there who had a need. He is sick; he has been for 38 years. Think about the discouragement and depression and despair that must have mounted up after all those years of sickness with no healing. He still went through the efforts to be healed, but with no hope.
I’d like us to look at three things Jesus offers.
I. Jesus offers physical healing – Jesus comes to the man, and he begins with a very interesting question. He says, “Would you like to get well?” The first step to healing is to
A. We need to understand the need - Many people are looking for hope in all the wrong places. They are looking for a miracle, but they are hoping to find it in guessing the daily lotto number or striking it rich in a throw of the dice or the deal of the cards. But they don’t admit that they need God’s help.
The man in our lesson today knew he needed help. But Jesus doesn’t stop there.