Do You Want To Get Well?

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Jesus is concerned about our physical and spiritual healing.

John(70) (Part of the Believe(67) series)
by Stuart Johns(118) on August 11, 2019 (Sunday Morning(156))

Healing(2), Salvation(45)

Believe

Do You Want To Get Well?

(John 5:1-15)

 

INTRODUCTION

Lindsey O'Connor was in the midst of a two-month coma, brought on by complications from childbirth. Her family was told to expect brain damage and believed her death was only a matter of time.

 

Her husband Tim faced the possibility of a brain-damaged wife, and caring single-handedly for five children, including a newborn. Meanwhile, Lindsey lived in a shadowland of nightmares, awareness and utter frustration. She writes:

 

I remember Tim holding one of my hands, a neurologist the other, and telling me to squeeze their hands. Unable to do so or to speak, I felt my brain screaming, "Why can't I do this? Maybe I'm dying." Later, my inability to use the call button left me banging a spoon on the bedside table for an hour and a half. No one came. They thought it was the repetitive motor response of a brain-damaged woman.

 

Two weeks after the initial dance on the edge came a death vigil. As I lay dying, the respirator whirred, pumping air into my lifeless-looking body and then sucking it out. … My limbs were blue and as cold as refrigerated meat. It did not look like I had any upper-level brain function. I was expected to die before morning.

 

I later learned that 40 or more friends and relatives stood vigil in the waiting room. … Susan, one of my best friends, looked at my gray, barely recognizable body and said, "Death is ugly, isn't it?" … My dad touched my feet and said, "I taught these feet how to walk." He agreed with Tim as he made end-of-life decisions.

 

Tim anguished over what to do, issuing conditional Do Not Resuscitate orders and rescinding them repeatedly. Then one day, Lindsey woke up. It was weeks before she could speak, but she was going to live.

 

I went into the hospital on August 30, 2002, and came home just before Christmas, still unable to walk or breathe on my own. In spite of daily physical effects of the trauma, I've learned that radical obedience (in my case, having a baby at 40) is worth any cost, that prayer is inconceivably important, that miracles still happen, and that I have a faith worth dying for.

 

Lindsey O'Connor, "While I Was Sleeping," Christianity Today (February 2004), p. 44

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2004/february/14822.html].

 

Lindsey’s story reminds us that she wanted to get well! ​​ She was aware of her surroundings, but frustrated by her inability to communicate what she was feeling and experiencing.

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Shoulder injury

        • I was wrestling with Wade and Seth on the floor

        • I had one of them over my shoulder when I felt them falling, so I grabbed them tight to stop them from falling on their head

        • It injured my rotator cuff and I experienced pain for months

        • I was to the point where if the pain didn’t stop, the doctor was recommending cortisone injections

        • I don’t particularly like needles, so I was hoping to avoid any injections

        • Through prayer and God’s healing power, my shoulder improved and eventually was completely healed

 

  • WE

    • Healings in the church

        • There are individuals in the church who have experienced the supernatural healing power of God

        • Some of those individuals had been struggling with their ailments for years, believing they would have to live with incessant pain for the rest of their lives

        • They were resigned to the fact that they would never be pain free or would never be able to do what they once did in the past

        • Prayer, laying on of hands, and anointing with oil, were the faith steps these individuals took to experience the healing power of Jesus Christ in their lives

    • Differing beliefs about healing today

        • There are groups and individuals who believe that God does not supernaturally heal today

        • There are others who believe that the reason some people don’t experience healing is because they don’t have enough faith

        • God is still in the business of healing people today and it’s not based on how much or little faith we have

        • We’ll see today that Jesus took the initiative in healing one man

        • We know from Scripture that God’s will is for everyone to be healed – to be made whole

 

John shares a story about Jesus healing an invalid. ​​ That’s what we will be looking at today in John 5:1-15. ​​ But the story he tells is the catalyst that he uses to help the Jews understand that Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath. ​​ That’s what we’ll see over the next couple of messages. ​​ John wants us to understand today that . . .

 

BIG IDEA – Jesus is concerned about our physical and spiritual healing.

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (John 5:1-15)

    • Setting the stage (vv. 1-4)

        • Some time later

          • This is John’s way of telling his readers that this is the next thing he wants to tell them

          • Remember, John is not sharing events in a chronological order

          • His stories are to help people believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, so his stories jump around the entire region

            • The story of the Government Official’s Son took place in Cana in Galilee (up north)

            • Jesus heals the invalid at the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem (down south)

            • The feeding of the Five Thousand (chapter 6) takes place back in Galilee (up north)

          • The time between the healing of the Government Official’s son and the healing of the invalid in Jerusalem is not able to be determined – it’s an indefinite period of time

        • Feast of the Jews

          • We also can’t determine what feast of the Jews John is referring to here

          • All of chapter 5 is really focusing on the Sabbath

          • “According to that text (Leviticus 23), festivals are holy convocations. ​​ The first day of Passover accordingly is a holy convocation in which no labor is to be done (Lev 23:7). ​​ It is in fact a Sabbath, according to the perspective of Leviticus.” ​​ [Borchert, The New American Commentary, John 1-11, 230]

          • So, John could simply be referring to the Sabbath when he says that Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews – we just don’t know from the text

        • Pool of Bethesda

          • The Sheep Gate

            • It was on the north-eastern side of Jerusalem [show map]

            • It was located close to the Temple area

            • This would have been the gate where the sheep, used for sacrifice, would have been brought into the city [show picture of sheep gate]

            • The sheep were perhaps washed in the pools of Bethesda, as ceremonial cleansing prior to being sacrificed

          • Bethesda

            • “‘Bethesda’ in Aramaic may mean ‘house of (divine) mercy’ (which would be a fitting term, given the desperate state of the people lying there in hope of miraculous healing), ‘house of the two springs,’ or be derived from the root ‘pour out’ or ‘slope.’” ​​ [Köstenberger, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, John, 178]

            • There are three other variations on the name of the pool from other manuscripts (Bethzatha, Belzetha, and Bethsaida)

          • Five covered colonnades

            • From excavations we know there were two pools side-by-side during the time of Jesus

            • One colonnade (covered portico) went between the two pools and the other four colonnades surrounded the two pools

          • Show the video “Experience the Pool of Bethesda” [https://www.rightnowmedia.org/Content/VideoElement/231108]

          • Gathering place for the disabled

            • It appears as though a whole bunch of sick/disabled people would be brought to the pool each morning or perhaps they remained by the pool all the time

            • Their sickness or disabilities are described as:

              • The blind – those who couldn’t see

              • The lame – deprived of a foot or maimed, unable to walk without some kind of assistance or difficulty

              • The paralyzed/withered – “of members of the body deprived of their natural juices, shrunk, wasted, withered” [https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3584&t=NASB]; “dry, withered, disabled w. atrophied limbs, a wasting disease” ​​ [Rogers & Rogers, The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament, 192] – they would not be able to walk at all

        • John has set the stage for the story he wants to share with his readers – Jesus is in Jerusalem at the Pool of Bethesda, surrounded by disabled people, but His attention is drawn to one man

    • Physical healing (vv. 5-9a)

        • The man

          • He was an invalid, which is not a term used to describe the disabled at the pool, but we know from verse 7 that he doesn’t have anyone to help him into the pool

          • So, we can discern that he is either lame or paralyzed

          • He has suffered with this condition for 38 years, so this is not some fake condition he has contrived just to meet Jesus

          • “He’s not faking it. ​​ Jesus is now in his early thirties – probably thirty-one or thirty-two. ​​ For this to have been fake, the man would have had to plan it six years before Jesus was born.” ​​ [Carter & Wredberg, Christ-Centered Exposition: ​​ Exalting Jesus in John, 116]

          • We’ll see in verses 12 and 13 that the man who was healed had no idea who healed him, when confronted by the Jews

        • The healing

          • Jesus saw this man

            • This is an important insight

            • This man most likely begged for alms in order to sustain himself

            • Potentially he was dirty and covered in his own filth

            • First century Jews probably made it a point to avoid the Pool of Bethesda, because of the clientele that hung out there – they didn’t want to become ceremonial unclean

            • Yet, Jesus sought this man out – he “saw” him

            • Bank teller story (Stuart)

              • I worked as a teller in a bank in Florida, right out of college

              • There were homeless people who lived in tents in the woods behind the bank

              • One man would sell newspapers each morning in the center of the road right outside the bank

              • After the morning rush, he would come into the bank with a wad of cash that he had been keeping in a nail apron around his waist

              • As you can imagine, the money was soaked and wet with his sweat

              • Most of the other tellers wouldn’t want to help him, because of the “laundered” cash (it was sweaty wet)

              • I would purposely help him to exchange his small bills for larger ones

              • That meant I had to lay all this cash out to dry before I put it in my drawer

              • I wanted this man to know that he was loved and that someone saw him

            • Do we see those in our community who are marginalized by the rest of the culture?

              • Perhaps they are homeless

              • Maybe they struggle with some kind of disability

              • The challenge this morning is to let them know that you see them, that they are loved

              • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Intentionally reach out to someone in my community or neighborhood who is struggling with physical, emotional, or financial issues.

              • Jesus intentionally sought this man out

                • He was following the divine sovereign will of His Father, God

                • We see this time and time again in the Gospels

                • He goes through Samaria, when every other Jew went around it, because He had an divine appointment with a Samaritan woman

                • He sought out Zacchaeus, even though, as a tax collector, he was hated and marginalized by those in his community

                • The list could go on and on

            • Jesus not only saw this man, but he took time to learn about him

          • Jesus learned about the length of his condition

            • The Greek word for “learned’ or “realized” can mean either through supernatural knowledge or from diligent inquiry or investigation [Carson, 243; Köstenberger, 180]

            • Perhaps God told Jesus how long this man had suffered as an invalid

            • Equally as possible, is that Jesus found out by talking with the man when he asked Him for alms

            • When Jesus realized the extent of this man’s condition, He asks him a question

          • “Do you want to get well?”

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – Jesus is able to heal anyone, regardless of how long they’ve suffered with their condition

            • We may look at that question as a silly question

              • If the man didn’t want to get well, then why was at the Pool of Bethesda in the first place

              • His purpose in being there was to experience healing – to be made whole

              • Jesus’ question wasn’t designed to be a silly question, but rather to reveal where this man was placing his hope and trust for healing

              • His hope was centered around two things

                • Human help

                  • He didn’t have the help of friends like the paralyzed man who was lowered through the roof that Matthew, Mark, and Luke tells us about (Matt. 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26)

                  • No one, means “no man,” to help him into the pool

                  • We can feel that way while we’re struggling with our own disabilities – “There’s no one to help!”

                  • Yet, Jesus is right there with us

                  • He sees us and knows all about our condition, our circumstances

                • A pool of water that was periodically stirred

                  • Some later manuscripts have John 5:3b-4, but most early manuscripts do not have this text

                  • Most scholars believe it came from a scribe’s notes written in the margin to help explain what this man says in verse 7

                  • And they waited for the moving of the waters. ​​ From time to time an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters. ​​ The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease he had.

                  • These two pools were probably fed by natural springs that bubbled up when an abundance of water came through the springs

                  • It would push the water up into the pools causing the water to “stir”

              • Obviously, it was fairly early in Jesus’ ministry and therefore, he was not yet recognized everywhere He went

                • This man did not recognize who Jesus was

                • He didn’t know Jesus was the Son of God and had the ability to heal him through God’s power

                • He told the Jews that he didn’t know who had healed him

                • Had he realized who was asking him if he wanted to get well, he would have said “Yes,” without hesitation

                • Individuals who sought Jesus out for healing

                  • The government official knew who Jesus was, which is why he sought Him out to heal his son (John 4:46-54)

                  • Blind Bartimaeus knew who Jesus was and begged Him to have mercy on him (Mark 10:46-52)

                  • Jairus, the synagogue leader, and the woman with the blood issue knew who Jesus was and His ability to heal them (Luke 8:40-56), which is why they sought Him out

                  • All of them knew what this man didn’t know

                  • PRINCIPLE #2 – Jesus is all we need, to experience healing!

                  • We don’t need a pool of water, the help of friends, anointing oil, or anything else to experience the healing power of Jesus

                  • We do need to believe that it’s God’s will for us to be healed

                  • We do need to make sure we’re not harboring unconfessed sin, wrong heart attitudes, or doubt

                  • We need to practice the prayer of faith that James tells us about

                  • Is any one of you sick? ​​ He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. ​​ And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. ​​ If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. ​​ (James 5:14-15)

            • Who or what are you relying on for your healing?

              • Perhaps you’re dealing with some kind of illness or disease

              • You’ve been praying and asking God to heal you, but His healing hasn’t manifested itself in your body yet

              • Perhaps you’re placing your hope and trust in something other than Jesus – maybe a human being or a “pool of water” (whatever form that may take in your life)

              • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Put my hope and trust in Jesus alone for healing.

                • The leadership is ready to pray a prayer of faith over you and anoint you with oil in the name of the Lord

                • You have to answer “Yes” to Jesus’ question today, “Do you want to get well?”

                • At the end of the message today, I’m going to give you an opportunity to come forward if you’re ready to say “Yes!”

            • Jesus knew the heart of this man, so He gave him a command

          • Jesus command

            • “Get up! ​​ Pick up your mat and walk.”

            • The man does not hesitate, but immediately obeys

            • His obedience showed that he put his hope and trust in Jesus alone to heal him

            • John tells us that he was cured immediately

            • His healing was a full healing

              • It wasn’t partial or gradual

              • PRINCIPLE #3 – Jesus’ healing is complete and thorough.

              • This man had not walked in 38 years

              • The muscles in his legs would have been atrophied, long ago – too weak to carry his body weight

              • But, we see that he picks up his mat and walks

        • While this man was probably rejoicing in his ability to walk after 38 years, his joy was cut short on his way home

    • People over policies (vv. 9b-13)

        • John gives us the side note that Jesus healed this man on the Sabbath

        • The Jews’ reprimand

          • We don’t know if the Jews were part of the crowd at the Pool of Bethesda or whether they just saw this man walking home from the pool with his mat under his arm (it’s probably the latter)

          • We don’t know if they knew him as one of the disabled people from the Pool of Bethesda

          • All we know is that they were on duty as the policy police

            • It was probably a self-appointed position

            • They were zealous for the law and the additional rules that the religious leaders had established to define and protect them from inadvertently breaking one of the laws

              • This is what the Lord says: ​​ Be careful not to carry a load on the Sabbath day or bring it through the gates of Jerusalem. ​​ Do not bring a load out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your forefathers. ​​ (Jeremiah 17:21-22)

              • “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” ​​ (Exodus 20:8) ​​ [the fourth commandment]

            • The man had not actually broken any of the biblical Sabbath regulations as outlined in Exod. 31:12-17, Jeremiah 17:21-27, and Nehemiah 13:15-19

              • He had violated one of the 39 codes that had been established to define the law about the Sabbath

              • “Whoever on the Sabbath brings anything in or takes anything out from a public place to a private one, if he has done this inadvertently, he shall sacrifice for his sins; but if willingly, he shall be cut off and shall be stoned.” ​​ (m. Šabb. 7.2) ​​ [quote from Gangel, Holman New Testament Commentary, John, 98; reference from Köstenberger, 181]

          • All the Jews saw was the man breaking the Sabbath code, but he had a defense for his actions

        • The man’s defense

          • If the Jews didn’t already recognize this man as one of the disabled people from the Pool of Bethesda, they now knew that he was once an invalid, unable to walk

          • The man tells them that the person who healed him told him to pick up his mat and walk

          • He obviously thought that Jesus had some authority to command him to do this

          • The man who was healed was also a Jew and probably knew the Sabbath codes, but the man who healed him perhaps had the authority to override the Sabbath code

          • So, that is the defense he uses when confronted by the Jews (religious leaders)

        • The Jews’ rebuttal

          • If these Jews were the religious leaders with religious authority, then they obviously wanted to know who healed this man and told him to break the Sabbath code

          • So, they ask him to give them the name of the fellow who told him to do this

        • The man’s response

          • The man who was healed had no idea who had healed him

          • Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there

        • What is our focus – people or policies, love or rules?

          • It’s easy for us to get caught up in black and white rules, and neglect loving people

            • I struggle with that when it comes to certain things

            • What I see so clearly as black and white, others see as gray

            • Sometimes in my own heart I judge and look down on those who don’t see it the same way I do

            • I have to ask the Lord to help me love them more than my black and white understanding of the issue

            • He has faithfully answered that prayer for me on multiple occasions

            • It helps in maintaining relationships instead of straining relationships

            • “The pharisaical legalism pictured in the parable of the good Samaritan is alive and well. As a result, a 15-year-old African-American boy in Chicago is not.

              On a warm spring evening in May 1998, Christopher Sercy was playing basketball with a few friends half a block from Ravenswood Hospital. Three teenage Latino gang members looking for a black target approached and shot young Sercy in the abdomen. His frantic friends carried him to within 30 feet of the hospital and ran inside for help. The emergency room personnel refused to go outside to assist the dying boy, citing a policy that only allows them to help those who are inside the hospital. The boys called for nearby police to attend their wounded friend. When the officers arrived on the scene they proceeded to call for an ambulance, but refused to carry the boy inside. While passersby pled with the officers to get the boy into the hospital, he lay in a pool of blood unconscious. When, after several minutes, the ambulance had not yet arrived, the police gave in and carried Sercy into the emergency room. By then, nothing could be done to save his life.

              As is often true, when we legalistically insist on the letter of the law, the needs of others are overlooked. By holding to standard operating procedures, the "royal law of love" was pinned to the mat. Initially, hospital administration vehemently defended their ER's lack of involvement. Only after a barrage of community outrage did Ravenswood Hospital reverse its policy of treating only those inside its doors.

              It was Jesus who observed "Woe to you teachers of the law, you hypocrites. You give a tenth ... but you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy, and faithfulness." (Matthew 23:23)”


              Greg Asimakoupoulos. From the files of Leadership.

              [
              https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/1998/august/5301.html]

          • It’s also easy for us to add rules and policies to God’s commands in an effort to protect ourselves from inadvertently breaking one of His commands

          • Many times those additional rules and policies cause us to judge instead of love those around us

          • It’s always best to stick with God’s commands found in His Word

          • PRINCIPLE #4 – God desires for His people to love others more than man made rules and policies.

        • John explains that Jesus sought this man out one more time – He took the initiative with this man’s spiritual state also

    • Spiritual healing (vv. 14-15)

        • The man’s spiritual state

          • With the government official from last week, we realize that Jesus’ healing power also brought about spiritual healing for he and his whole family (John 4:53b)

          • With the healing of the paralytic who had been let down through the roof, we see the combination of spiritual and physical healing at the same time – “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” (Matt. 9:2b). ​​ “Which is easier: ​​ to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? ​​ But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins … .” ​​ Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” ​​ (Matt. 9:5-6)

          • With this man, the physical healing happened, but the spiritual healing had not yet taken place

            • Jesus reminds the man that he had been made well through a supernatural healing from God

            • He then encourages him to stop sinning or something worse may happen to him

              • Most commentators agree that Jesus is not saying that if the man continues to sin that he will contract some physical disease or disability that is worse than what he had previously

              • “The man’s sin and his condition are linked. ​​ Scripture indicates that some tragedies may be the result of specific sins (1 Cor. 11:30), and this may be why Jesus has chosen the man for healing. ​​ There were two levels at which God needed to work in him (cf. Mark 2:1-12). ​​ But those with an infirmity have not necessarily sinned, and those who sin do not necessarily endure suffering as a consequence. ​​ Luke 13:1-5 and John 9:3 provide Jesus’ correction of that sort of thinking.” ​​ [Burge, The NIV Application Commentary, John, 175]

              • The something worse that will happen to him is not physical, but spiritual – Jesus is probably referring to judgement at the end of time

              • He would be eternally separated from Jesus, because of his sin

            • While Jesus doesn’t state the question again, it certainly could be inserted here – “Do you want to get well?” (spiritually)

          • That’s the same question Jesus is asking us today

            • “Do we want to get well, spiritually?”

            • Born with sin (Rom. 3:23)

            • Punishment for sin (Rom. 6:23)

            • God’s desire for us (Rom. 5:8)

            • God’s plan to redeem (1 Cor. 15:3b-4)

            • Our response, That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ​​ For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. ​​ (Rom. 10:9-10)

            • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Tell Jesus that I want to get well, spiritually.

          • We see the man’s response

        • The man’s response

          • Throughout this story the man does not express gratitude or thanks for Jesus healing him

          • He doesn’t express belief in Jesus

          • He doesn’t agree to stop sinning

          • All we know is that he went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him

          • Later in John’s Gospel we see Jews that had come to visit Mary and Martha after Lazarus passed away

            • They witnessed first-hand Jesus’ power in raising Lazarus from the dead

            • Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him. ​​ But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. ​​ (John 11:45-46)

            • “Those who were not believers became informants, and their information led to the Sanhedrin’s decision that Jesus must die (see (11:47-53).” ​​ [Michaels, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, The Gospel of John, 299]

          • It would appear as though this man became an informant instead of a believer in Jesus

 

  • YOU

    • Do you want to get well, physically?

    • Do you want to get well, spiritually?

 

  • WE

    •  

 

CONCLUSION

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