Summary: This passage is a "sandwich," which leads to some significant parallels and contrasts.
THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING THIS PASSAGE: This story is a sandwich.
- What does that mean? This is one of the multiple places in the Bible where a story is begun, then interrupted by another story, and then the first story is revisited and concluded. When that happens, there is always a great interaction between the two stories. They were put together for a reason.
- The structure is kind of like a sandwich. You have bread, then meat, then bread. Here, you have story #1, then story #2, then back to story #1.
1. Twelve years of joy; twelve years of pain.
2. One comes boldly to Jesus; one sneaks up from behind.
3. One is highly respectable; one is ceremonially unclean.
- Other contrasts that are not in the sermon outline:
a. One has to wait for the miracle; one gets it at once.
b. One is healed publicly; one is healed behind closed doors.
1. Both come with confidence.
- I mean that they come with confidence in what Jesus can do.
2. Both need what only Jesus can provide.
THE TRUTH FOR THOSE AT THE TOP: Don’t think that your prosperity or popularity excludes you from needing Jesus.
- There are some things you cannot fix yourself.
THE TRUTH FOR THOSE AT THE BOTTOM: Don’t think that your desperation or depravity excludes you from reaching Jesus.
- Ask even though you feel unworthy.
- Whatever your problem, wherever you are in life, take your problem to Jesus. He will meet you there.
- Jesus will be there for any who ask.
- The highs are not too high; the lows are not too low.