Summary: 1. Are you willing? (vs. 1-7). 2. Are you believing? (vs. 8-9). 3. Are you obeying? (vs. 8-14). 4. Are you telling? (vs. 15).
Life Changing Questions from the Lord
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Jan. 5, 2014
*The Lord Jesus Christ likes to ask questions, questions that make you think, penetrating, personal questions. A great example was after the Lord rose from the dead and met His Apostles by the Sea of Galilee.
*Just before Jesus died on the cross, Peter had denied the Lord three times. And now that Jesus had risen again, He had three pointed questions for Peter.
*John 21:15-17 tells this part of the story:
15. So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?'' He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.'' He said to him, "Feed My lambs.''
16. He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?'' He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.'' He said to him, "Tend My sheep.''
17. He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?'' Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?'' And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.'' Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep."
*Pointed, personal questions: "Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me?" The Lord also had a powerful question for the sick man here in John 5. And as we look at his story, we see that Christ has some life-changing questions for us
1. The first question is: Are you willing?
*That's the question the Lord asked this sick man in vs. 6: "Wilt thou be made whole?" -- "Are you willing to be made whole?" -- "Do you want to be made well?"
*At first glance, this might seem like a ridiculous question, because the answer seems so obvious. The Lord knew this man was ill, terribly ill. And he had been for 38 years! Pastor Guy Caley said: "Add to this the fact that the sick man was there at a pool known for healing. And we begin to get a sense of how crazy it must have sounded for Jesus to ask, 'Do you want to get well?'"
*What kind of a question was that? Does a crippled man want to get well?" The question reminded Pastor Caley of one of his Dad's all time favorite questions: "Do you want a spanking?" That's a question I often heard from my own daddy, and he never had to wonder about the answer. (1)
*Jesus asked: "Are you willing to be made whole?" -- And it may seem ridiculous at first. But our perfect Savior had a perfect reason for asking that question. Melvin Newland explained: "Actually, it was a very valid question, for there are people who, if given an opportunity for healing, might actually choose to remain sick. Right now they're free of some unpleasant responsibilities, and they get sympathy by complaining about their sickness. They can manipulate people by being sick, or punish themselves if they feel guilty." (2)
*Jesus' question was both necessary and proper: "Are you willing to be healed?" It's as if the Lord was asking: "Are you willing to let go of the past? -- Do you want to move forward in your life?"
*Think about the sick man's answer in vs. 7: "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.'' Here is a man who could have held on to his past. He could have gotten tied down by his past set-backs, and disappointments: "Why don't I have somebody?" God, why did they let me down? Why did You let me down?"
*Author John Phillips explained the man's suffering by asking: "How can we measure the misery of this man? He had no friends, no family. His companions were life's victims: blind people, lame people, people withered inside and out. All their hopes had shrunk to the small chance they had of outsmarting the others and being first in the pool. There would be the usual jockeying for position with all the intensity of people obsessed with their own physical condition and their pathetic hope for a healing. The sight, the stench of it all, must have been depressing. Here was unmitigated misery and unending poverty." (3)
*This man could easily have gotten bitter or envious. Other people had someone to help, but he didn't! Other people were getting healed, but he wasn't! He could have just gone on lying there feeling sorry for himself.
*On a smaller scale, I've seen people do this, and I've done it too. Rather than looking ahead to see what God has in store for us, rather than letting God bless us, we can get obsessed with what's gone wrong in the past, or who's done us wrong in the past.