Richard Whitaker- Discipleship and Connections Pastor LHBC
After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. (ESV) John 5:1-9
In our study of the life of Jesus, we always find him traveling, speaking, and acting on purpose. He is driven by a heavenly agenda to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10) while making clear to everyone in Judea and the surrounding areas that he is the promised Messiah.
Such is the case as Jesus purposefully enters Jerusalem to attend a Jewish feast. What better place for a demonstration of God’s love and healing power than the sprawling pool of Bethesda crowded as it was with people in need of healing? While many who lie there are indeed in need of healing, Jesus directs his focus on perhaps its most well known patron – a man described as being an invalid of thirty-eight years.
For years he comes to the pool for healing and each passing year is met with the reality of no change in his physical condition. Though the waters had a reputation for healing, the place might as well have been a desert mirage until Jesus arrived. The waters held the appearance of power, but with Jesus lies true power.
This man typifies the people we can give up on all together. From everything we can see through our physical eyes, his situation is hopeless. We might even entertain the thought that this man has some sort of mental condition, coming to the pool year after year for healing that never comes while expecting a different outcome.
We all know of someone who has lived under the powerful grip of sin or some sickness for years. People that we love and pray for God to restore, heal, or to make aware of his great love for them while the years roll by with seemingly no resulting change.
Though this man’s diagnosis is different, his cure is the same for all of us. That cure does not come from a pharmacy or mystical healing waters. The cure we need is a living person and his name is Jesus – our King. His heavenly rule defies the worst malady, casts out the vilest demon, crushes the most anchored stronghold of the devil, brings into the light every divisive lie of Satan, reconciles every repentant soul, raises us up out of the depths of the deepest sin and despair, takes intrusive thoughts captive (2 Cor 10:5), and restores the years that the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25).
A person’s number of years in bondage makes no statement toward the ability of Jesus to bring about reconciliation and restoration. The only consideration is the free flowing, sin crushing power of the cross of Jesus breaking Satan’s strongholds like a holy juggernaut moving with overwhelming power directly from the throne room of almighty God. Nothing is too difficult for him! (See Genesis 18:9-15)
His is the kind of power we see on display soon after Jesus asks the man, “Do you want to be healed?” We learn that the man does want to get well and has been waiting for someone to help him into the water at just the right time for all these many years of struggle. It seems that while others had given up on him, the man still hadn’t given up on himself.
With no evidence of faith on the part of this man, Jesus speaks instruction and healing at the same time. Atrophied muscles and joints are miraculously, instantly restored so that the man was able to immediately get up and walk.
Perhaps this healing and setting echoes Isaiah’s prophecy that, “then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.” (Isaiah 35:1-7)
Have you ever felt like you’re living in a wilderness situation? Ever hoped for change in your life that doesn’t come while continuing to follow the same patterns of thinking and living? Perhaps you have settled for less than God’s best, trusting in various substitutes for healing and deliverance apart from God that have now left you in a spiritual desert? Could it be that you have resigned yourself to believe that God’s power and grace are not sufficient to bring healing and wholeness after years of struggle?
If so, consider the love and grace of Jesus and assign to him all glory and power in personal worship. Don’t give up on yourself. He can break every stronghold. We don’t need crosses around our neck, ornaments in our vehicles, or any mystical powers. What we need is the power of King Jesus. The question we must ask is, “Do I want to be healed?” If so, bring that burden, besetting sin, or miserable malady to our King and let him know that you want to be healed. Say to him, “Lord, I want to be healed. I’m not going to be defined by my past – Lord, I want to be healed. I’m tired of trying to heal myself – Lord, I want you to heal me.” May it be so in the mighty name of King Jesus.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Dear Lord, thank you for your great love and grace. I praise you for grace that is greater than all of my sin. I believe that nothing is too difficult for you so I bring you my life with all of its brokenness and ask that you make me into a new creation. I do want to be healed Lord. Help me to remember that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that works within me to make me like you. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”