Summary: This is the 16th sermon in a series we've been doing on John's Gospel account. In this sermon I discuss man's condition without Christ, and that Jesus is the only solution to that condition.
Overcoming the Comfort of our Condition (Gospel of John Part 16)
Text: John 5:1–15
When we started this series on the Gospel of John I mentioned to you all that John wrote this as an evangelistic work. His purpose and goal in writing this account was so that people would come to faith and believe in Jesus. That’s why part of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association follow up program, for new converts, was to have them read the Gospel of John. In this Gospel account; John gives us testimony after testimony of who Jesus is, and why He came into this world. And so when you understand that, it’s pretty obvious why the Holy Spirit inspired John to add this particular story into his Gospel. And it’s one of those stories where if you just hear it, or read through it, and don’t really think about what it’s saying, you might be tempted to say, “Oh, it’s just another one of Jesus’ miracles. It’s just one of the many things that Jesus did.” But you might miss the deeper meaning in it. So this morning, I want us to really think through our text, and I pray that the Lord will open our understanding through the preaching of His Word.
We’re in John chapter 5, and we’ll be reading verses 1 – 15 (READ TEXT).
So the first thing we see here is that there’s a man who has been sick for 38 years. The ESV translates it as being an invalid… and that’s a pretty good translation. The Greek word there is “as-then-ia” and it literally means, having no strength, a weakness of both body and soul. And so this guy had some kind of muscle wasting paralysis. He couldn’t move by himself, and he couldn’t seem to get others to move him to the pool of Bethesda.
Now don’t get all hung up on the event of the angel stirring the water, and one person getting healed. That’s not what this story is about. All we know about this is that this some act of grace and mercy that God has provided. He’s sent an angel down to the pool at certain times. The angel stirs the water, and the first person to get into the water after it has been stirred up, God heals them. And this has gone on for some time. And I personally think that God did that, to set up this particular event we’re reading about this morning. I personally believe that God has been doing this for a while, and everyone knows that there’s this one invalid… this one man, who desperately wants to get into the pool, but people are selfish, and they’ve jumped in before he could get there. In-fact; no one would even bring him to the pool so that he could get in. And so this guy’s been in this condition for 38 years.
So the first thing I think John wants us to see and understand here, is that this man is totally helpless. He’s completely unable to remedy his condition. He’s infirm, and he’s going to stay that way. The second thing we need to see and get a grasp on is there in verses 6 & 7 (READ).
Ok… so this man is helpless… TOTALLY HELPLESS. And secondly; he’s in the presence of the One Person who can help him, and he doesn’t even realize it. You know; Jesus comes and asks him, “Do you want to be healed?” If this man knew who Jesus was, he would’ve said, “Sure, I do, please heal me Jesus.” But instead he says, “Well yeah, I want to be healed, but I don’t have anyone to put me in the pool.” And it’s interesting, because even after he gets healed, the man still doesn’t know who did it for him; at least initially. So John is showing us the man’s helpless state.
The third thing John wants us to see and realize, and understand in this story, is that this man is in a bad way… he’s helpless. And he’s also surrounded by people who are also in bad shape. He’s surrounded by the blind, and the lame, and the sick. But Jesus comes specifically to this man, and selects this man… out of all the others… the one who was the most helpless, and most hopeless. And He shows him grace and mercy, and heals him.
Basically; what John has done here is paint a picture for us, of the human condition. We are all spiritually blind, lame, and infirm. We are helpless, and hopeless. We are spiritually dead in trespasses and sin. There’s nothing we, or anyone else can do. But Jesus, in His grace and mercy, comes to us, and rescues us, and heals us, and by His grace and mercy gives us new life.