May 9, 2020
Title: Your Expectation
I have been retired for over two years now. This “Pandemic” that we have all fallen victim to is changing the landscape of our faith and our church experience. I saw a recent report on the Internet that said there is a “Pandemic” Revival taking place around the world. People are turning to the Bible and are placing their faith in Christ through online church services. And there are tons of church services that can be found. If you can’t find one that you can agree with, keep searching… you’ll find something. I wrote that last sentence with a bit of sarcasm. The truth is that if you are looking, find something – someone – who preaches the Word of God; not diluted, not apologetic, not powerless – but the Word of God that displays the true nature of God.
Now, going back to my retirement… I don’t miss preaching much. I do miss the people that I ministered to in Palmyra. But the Lord allowed me to retire and move back to my hometown where I have been able to be involved in ministry in my home church. At the same time, He is firmly implanting the foundation stones of His Word within me. Not that they weren’t there already, but a strengthening of that foundation based on my biblical understanding of the nature of God. This is not some “NEW” revelation from God, but a clearer understanding of His relationship with His creation – us.
Today, as I write, I am reminded of my early preaching ministry. I used to listen to all my sermons after they were preached so that I could hear any patterns in my delivery that may be annoying or cause distractions to those who were listening. I soon found out that I was a better writer than I was a speaker. So now I am satisfied just to put words down on paper to let you read them, knowing that they are my understanding of Scripture based on the foundation of His Word that He has built in me over the last 20 years.
In John Chapter 5 we read a story of the healing of the man who was crippled.
Joh 5:2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades.
Joh 5:3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.
5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.
I have heard this passage preached numerous times over the years as an excuse for the church to believe that we can never expect God to heal… I mean, there were hundreds, or even thousands of other people there that Jesus must have stepped around to get to this one man, and He didn’t heal them.
That’s where I want to get to today. What are your expectations?
Let’s start out our study by looking at the very first contact that Jesus has with this man.
John 5:6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"
The NIV leaves out part of verse 3 and all of verse 4 that are found in other translations,
In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water.
For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.
It seems obvious that the man wanted to get well. He was just looking to the wrong source.
He had turned his faith in the direction of the rest of the multitude… Now I’m not saying that these people didn’t think that this was God at work… For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water… What I am saying is this: Their understanding of what God wanted to do skewed by their “religious” tradition. They were looking for God to do something rather than looking at God’s nature.
I love looking at the Old Testament names of God. It helps me get a clearer view of His very nature. So when we read the words Jehovah Shalom we see that Jehovah (I AM) Shalom (Peace). It doesn’t say that peace is What God does… it is who HE is the same for Jehovah-Jireh. (I AM PROVIDER) and Jehovah-Raphe (I AM HEALER). And herein lies a problem with many New Testament believers. We tend to trust God for what He does (or what we have seen Him do) and not for Who He is.
In Chapter 5 of his gospel, Mark relates the story of the woman who suffered with an issue of blood for 12 years.
Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse.
When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment.
For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”
Look at the transformation that takes place.
1. She had a flow of blood for twelve years
2. She suffered many things from many physicians
3. She heard about Jesus
4. She said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”
She went from doing what everyone else would have done, (she sent all her money on doctors) to hearing about Jesus (the Healer), and then to believing and stepping out in faith.
So, back to our man at the pool… When Jesus asked him, "Do you want to get well?" his response was, "Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me."
Again, he was depending on the wrong source. Look at what Jesus says, (not what He does) verse 8 Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk."
9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath…
I don’t want you to miss this. Jesus, the Healer, didn’t lay hands on the man and say, “You are healed”. He said, “Get up and walk.”
A multitude of preachers won’t tell you this… God isn’t going to do anything more than what He has already done to be your Deliverer, Provider, Healer, Peace etc. He has set up a relationship with mankind that establishes a partnership with Him. We have a responsibility to have the depth of relationship with Him that we can know Him as Healer, Provider, Deliverer, Banner, Peace… and it’s not about what He has done or will doo – it’s about who He is – His very nature.
1 Corinthians 1:9, God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
The word translated “fellowship” is the Greek koinonia and it literally means, “partnership”. God has called you into partnership with His Son, Jesus Christ. The Great I AM, through His Son, is Healer or Healing and that very characteristic is now manifest in believers who are willing partners with HIM. Remember, it’s not about what He does, but who He is. The God who created all things has now given mankind power and authority over all things through Jesus.
When Jesus told the man to get up and walk, what would have happened if he had said, “I can’t. I’ve been like this for 38 years.” What would have happened if the man with the withered hand, when Jesus told him to stretch out his hand, had done nothing?
NOTHING! It’s a partnership. His nature and our faith in that nature… not faith in His works.
OK. Let’s go back to the beginning of the message. If Jesus is Healer – and we know He is – then why didn’t He heal everyone else at the pool?
Consider this! Did Jesus heal the man in secret? NO! Did something supernatural happen? Yes! Then why don’t we see any reports of people turning to Jesus after that? Was it because their faith was in a tradition that singled out individuals who were able to provide for themselves and even then only when the waters were stirred? And yet the bible says Jehovah-Raphe (I AM HEALER). Psalm 46:1, God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Hebrews 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.
I think the purpose of this healing and the way it happened was to give the crowd an opportunity to turn from tradition and turn to HEALER rather than their useless traditions. This story, in no way, was meant to be proof that God doesn’t heal everyone. In fact, I think it is meant to show everyone that God wants to be your HEALER, your DELIVERER, your PROVIDER. In every instance in the bible when someone came to Jesus for healing HE proved HE is Healer. We never see anyone turned away.
There’s one more group of people we have to deal with.
John 5:9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath,
John 5:10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, "It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat."
John 5:11 But he replied, "The man who made me well said to me, 'Pick up your mat and walk.'"
John 5:12 So they asked him, "Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?"
John 5:13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.
John 5:14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you."
John 5:15 The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.
John 5:16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him.
The religious leaders were offended because Jesus was doing things differently than the way they thought it should be done. In fact, in doing so Jesus was showing that He was not just someone who heals, He is Healer.
John 5:17 In his defense Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working."
I have had this discussion with a friend before. If you say Jesus is healer and people don’t get healed, then they will feel guilty about not having enough faith to get their healing. And God doesn’t want us to be guilt ridden. You know, I have received healing from the Healer, and other times I have not. Yet, I have never stopped believing what the bible says… I AM the God that heals you – I AM HEALER.
So here are three things that we can learn from this story in John 5.
1. Do you want to get well? If so, trust the Healer and then enter into partnership with Him. Pick up your mat and walk… don’t take that next drink or get that next high… choose to live in agreement with what the Bible says about you and about HIM.
2. Put aside your own efforts to make it work. The angel isn’t going to come down and stir the waters. I heard a preacher say one time that we spend so much time looking for the miraculous that we miss the supernatural. Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the LORD.
3. Put aside religious traditions taught by men. You know, I am from a Pentecostal background. And yet, there is so much that I have been taught over the years that I have had to unlearn.
Jesus is I AM.
I AM HEALER… I AM PROVIDER… I AM PEACE
And you are in partnership with HIM
What is your expectation?