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Summary: The contrast between legalism and loving obedience of God’s Word

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A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy is this glass of water?" Answers called out ranging from 2 to 5 pounds. The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it." He continued, "If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it’s the same weight. But the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes. "And that’s the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on. As with the glass of water, you have to put it down."

1. The scenario

A. There were three feasts each year when Jews went to Jerusalem: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. Which it was isn’t relevant although it may have been Pentecost according to some commentators.

B. Jesus being an observant Jew was in the city with His disciples as so many other teachers were. We can conclude by what we know of His life that Jesus probably was busy teaching and doing miracles.

C. The statement that the stirring was due to the presence of an angel doesn’t appear in many of the earlier manuscripts and many commentators agree that the healings were psychosomatic, or suggestive.

2. The heart of Jesus

A. He had compassion for the many people gathered at the pool of Bethesda who believed that they could be healed if they were the first into the water upon its moving.

B. The name Bethesda means House of Mercy. The temple itself was erected as a memorial to God’s mercy toward His people and His heart toward man hasn’t changed. “His mercy endures forever” (Ps 100:5).

C. Jesus has always had the compassionate heart of God toward all mankind. He knew who would respond to His offer of healing and salvation. He offers us that same healing and salvation today.

D. When Jesus spoke to the man who had been paralyzed for 38 years He didn’t rush to lay hands on him. He asked him about his life and came to know him before asking if he really wanted to be healed. Unfortunately,

not everyone who asks for a healing is willing to accept what goes with it.

3. Jesus heals the paralyzed man

A. When Jesus asked the man if he wanted to be healed he answered “Yes,” and he followed Christ’s instructions. He picked up his bed and walked.

B. I’ve heard so many people say they want their healing only to go on living the same way they always have. Many people want their blessings but refuse to alter their lifestyles.

C. He was healed on the Sabbath and as he walked in the Temple courtyard the Jews criticized him for carrying his bed. They couldn’t get their heads around the blessing of the man’s healing. Their thinking was so narrow that they would have rather he not been healed than that he be healed on the Sabbath day.

D. Do you get so hung up over customs and restrictions that you miss getting your blessings? When they questioned him, the man answered that the Man who healed him told him to pick up his bed. He didn’t even know it was Jesus who was his benefactor.


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