Summary: If you want God to do a new thing in your life, you can’t keep doing the same old thing in your life. If you want to experience the miraculous, you need to unlearn every assumption you’ve ever made except for one…God is able.
Series: The Grave Robber
The Rule Breaker Text: John 5:1-10 So far, throughout this series, we’ve looked at Jesus as the Wine Maker, the Choreographer, and today we will see Jesus as the Rule Breaker. Now before you start to scratch your head, wondering why in the world I would be preaching on breaking the rules I want you to know that in order to experience the miraculous, sometimes that’s exactly what you have to do.
Jesus could’ve healed this man any day of the week, but He chose to perform this miracle on the Sabbath. He knew it would rile up the religious establishment, and I believe that’s why He did it. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus was intentional in His efforts of offending the Pharisees and quite frankly, I think He enjoyed it. And If you follow Jesus, you’re going to offend some modern-day Pharisees as well. In fact, there will be times when you’ll need to go out of your way to do so. Now don’t confuse what I’m saying as a license to go around breaking the law, but following Christ gives us permission to break man-made rules that don’t honor God.
For years critics said that this pool never existed. They claimed that this was just a story used by John as a metaphor until 1888, when archeologists discovered the remains of a pool fitting the description of the ancient pool of Bethesda.
So, we know the pool existed.
(pause) But how did it get the reputation of being a place of healing?
Now some of y’all may not agree with me on this…and that’s ok, I won’t hold it against you:
One of the translations I that I trust for it’s accuracy to the original language and one that I prefer to use during my personal study time is the ESV. If you try to look up verse 4 in the ESV you won’t find it. It skips from verse 3 to 5. The reason, according to the footnote provided in their study bible commentary, is that verse 4 isn’t found in the earliest known manuscripts. Because of this, I think that it’s reasonable for me to operate off the supposition that this reputation of the pool having healing powers is more of a folk tradition rather than actual fact.
Traditionally, the pool of Bethesda was known as a place where people would sit around and wait to see ripples in the water. Thanks to the discovery in 1888, we now know that these ripples were caused by the irregular springs that fed these waters. But they believed that they were caused by angels from heaven that had come down and brought healing upon the pool. According to the tradition, it was then believed that the first person to jump into the pool right after that would be the only one healed. In any case, as the story goes this man had been sitting around this pool for 38 years waiting to get in, but because he was paralyzed he couldn’t walk and there was always someone who would get into the pool before him.
The tragedy of their belief about this pool and it’s power to heal is that it’s false. Notice that Jesus didn’t come to the man and ask if he wanted Him to help him into the pool so that he could be healed. The real truth is that anything less than 100 percent reliance upon the miraculous power of God and God alone is deception. Another example of this can be seen in Mt. 9 when the woman believed that all she had to do in order to be healed was touch the garment of Jesus. It wasn’t the garment that healed her, it was her faith.
The opposite of belief isn’t just unbelief. It’s false belief.
This man’s greatest handicap wasn’t just physical, it was mental— based on a false belief. And we make the same mistake every time we continue to try to fix our lives with things that simply don’t work. If you want God to do a new thing in your life, you can’t keep doing the same old thing in your life. If you want to experience the miraculous, you need to unlearn every assumption you’ve ever made except for one…God is able.
There are three lessons that I want for us to look at in this conversation between Jesus and this paralytic.
You must decide to want change. (v. 6)
Notice, I said want…not won’t.
This is the problem that many people face today, they don’t want to change. I know because I was one of them. I had people in my life that wanted me to change but I didn’t want to, so guess what…I didn’t change. That is until I decided that I wanted change.