Summary: This sermon is designed to encourage individuals to have hope for the impossible.
The Gospel of John presents Christ differently than the other three gospels, they of course almost provides us with a biographical diary of Christ journey. Matthew and Luke found it important to show us Christ in his lineage of persons in the family. In Matthew, his gospel traces Jesus from Abraham (the father of the faithful), in verse 1 of chapter 2 he quickly connects that lineage to David (King), and runs that link thru names of Kings to Joseph his earthly father. It was his goal to affirm Christ as King of Kings. Luke traces his lineage all the way back to Adam, Luke wanted us to know that Jesus was man and is the Son of man (that he possesses fleshly connections). Mark presents Christ not in birth at all but as one who is servant, being and doing what a servant is sent and told to do. In the synoptic gospels our Christ is King, He is Servant, He is son of the flesh.
John wants his reader to believe and see Him as the divine, God in the flesh, the one who can truly claim to be who He is because of the signs He does. John really uses the miracles or signs as the true testimony of who Christ was. The signs or miracles that Christ performed brought attention not just to His power but were apparently indicators of who He was. You remember the assessments of Nicodemus in John 3:2, this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; because nobody can do the signs that you do unless God be with him.” In John 6:2 it says; a great multitude followed Him, because they saw the signs which He performed on those who were diseased. There are eight specific miracles or signs that affirms and attest to Christ’s deity, and this morning we visit the third significant sign of Christ.
There is this place in John 5 called Bethesda, a place that had five (5) porches enclosed. The word means House of Mercy. It was believed that one could get well at this place if they got into the water at a certain time. The lame were there, the blind were there, the deaf were there, and the diseased were there. Just a mass of disabled, desperate, and dissatisfied people were there. And yet, they were at the House of Mercy, but there appears to be misery at the place of mercy. And Jesus shows up at the Mercy House, mercy come to the place of mercy. Heavenly mercy finds its way to earthly misery. Perhaps John would want us to know that Christ will show up in the place where blessings should be bestowed and bring a true blessing. Perhaps we can learn that it is only when He who is the embodiment of divine mercy shows up, will mercy be manifested. In this story, the thinking and prevailing belief was that at a certain season, an Angel would trouble or stir the water (it was actually a pool that had its resource of water from another water source, and at a certain time that main source of water would pour itself underground into that pool causing a bubbling and stirring). And they believed that that was Angel, and that the first one that got into the pool after the stirring would be well. Yet no New Testament of record attest to such a thing happening, but that pool kept people coming out of hope.
It kept someone thinking that maybe it’s my time next, it’s my turn next. But the man had no one to help him, he had no one to get him in, he is at Mercy House, but no one is being merciful. But mercy shows up, just when you need mercy, it shows up, just when you need the miracle it happens. Jesus shows up at Mercy House. There are people filling the porches, they are all lying around with this hope. But Jesus singles out this man, this helpless, hopeless man, and says, “Do you want to made whole?”
Christ engages this man first around his desire, do you want to be made whole. You see, Christ does nothing against your own will. Christ understood that this man’s desire was essential to this man’s deliverance. Desire can be the difference between status quo and doing something bold. So Jesus began to respond to him as a result of his desire. He actually uses 3 phrases (words) to bring him to wholeness.
I. He said “RISE”: (Raising His personal expectancy) He asked him to do what had been Impossible.
He actually invites him to take a step in faith. Often time that is what faith is, it’s a step. Not a step in the darkness, that’s foolishness. But a step in the light of the Word of Him who is the Light.