“After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? ”
A mess is the perfect setting for a miracle. Our helplessness can be our most powerful offering ~ if we are willing to be honest and transparent; but sometimes it is a lot easier to just stay in the darkness than it is to struggle toward the light …..
Not everyone really wants to be healed or rescued. Why? Because their infirmity has become their identity or because their crisis now defines who they are and forms the familiar parameters of their life. Some people use their weaknesses to get the attention they crave or to keep from assuming any responsibility in their own lives ….
Take the man at the pool of Bethesda for example.
The pool of Bethesda was the gathering place for anyone in need of healing. Many people believed that the first person in the pool after the water moved would be healed from whatever disease or illness they had. Since the pool was fed by springs, it is safe to assume that the water was stirred fairly often. Jesus saw the man lying there and asked what some might consider an unusual question, “Do you want to get well?” The question was a valid one.
Was the man comfortable in his pain or was he willing to pay the price that healing requires? Was he ready and willing to obey? To do whatever Jesus asked him to do in order to be healed? Jesus wanted to know. He wanted to know if the man was helpless enough …. desperate enough even ….
The man had been an invalid, unable to walk or stand, for thirty-eight years. The pool of Bethesda may have been his last hope. Scripture doesn’t tell us exactly how long the man had been at the pool …. but it was long enough.
Although not completely the same, and certainly not even comparable to this man’s condition, I myself, have been disabled and hurting for 31 years since my injuries occurred in 1985; when as a result of domestic violence I was beaten within an inch of my life. My back and tailbone was broken in three places, my knee was crushed requiring pins to hold it in place, my skull was fractured requiring 13 sutures to close that, not to mention my face and body battered and bruised and both eyes swollen shut. I was told I might never walk well again. I spent many months in the hospital trying to recover. And here I am 31 years later, disabled and desperate for my healing. I identified with this passage when the Lord revealed this to me this morning.
The impotent man answered him, “Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.” (v.7)
That was all Jesus needed to hear. “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” Jesus said, and the man was immediately healed.
Notice that Jesus did not offer to carry the man to the pool. Jesus told the man to do what he had been unable to do for thirty-eight years ~ Rise up! Stand up and then walk. And the man had a choice to make. Every time we ask God for help, we have to make the same choice.
Are we helpless enough?
Are we ready to believe God and do what we have been unable to do on our own? More importantly, are we willing to obey Him?
The man at the pool of Bethesda was healed the moment he looked into the eyes of Jesus and chose to receive the healing he saw waiting there. There were many people at the pool that day; people who were paralyzed, people who were blind or sick or lame. But Jesus healed only one of them. He did not empty the five porches around the pool, healing everyone. He could have, but Jesus looked out over the crowd and chose to heal the most helpless man; the man who was honest about his pain, the man who was willing to believe God in the hard times. Can you see yourself in this man? Have you been paralyzed by the pain of loss or rejection? Have friends betrayed you and left you lying by a pool of crushed hopes and dreams? Are you disabled in spirit, mind, or body; or crippled by emotions even?
Jesus sees your pain, your sorrow, and your helplessness. He knows your heart and hears your desperate cry. Today is the day. Do you want to be healed?
“But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.” (Psalm 86:15)
In closing; I don’t know why certain things happen. I don’t even understand why some are healed immediately, as was this man; and why others are not. Does that mean that I, or any are any less desperate? Any less obedient or deserving?
No, I don’t believe that. I pray daily for healing, and God knows that obedience is my favorite word and I am obedient in all things. But as His Word says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
We cannot question God or understand His ways, or His timing. I know that He has a perfect plan and purpose for my life, and for all of yours. He has not left me comfortless, and daily by the power of the Holy Ghost, He empowers me, He strengthens me, and whispers in my ear every time I feel weak, “Rise up and walk …. I am with you.”
He reminds me “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” And as the Apostle Paul said, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
(2 Corinthians 12:9).
I am daily affirming my spirit with God’s Word “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Phillipians 4:13), and I pour His promises into my heart and mind every day. I am believing for my miracle and walking by faith daily and regardless, healing or not, I am always thanking Him everyday that I can walk, however feeble, and that I am strengthened to do whatever task He places before me because He is alive in me and abiding in me. Therefore, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say Rejoice!” (Phillipians 4:4).
Your name is written down in the book and when He finally calls us home we shall be renewed as He promises us: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”(Revelation 21:4). Praise God! Glory to Your name!
What is the first step of faith you need to take today? Are you willing to take that step right now? An unshakable faith is the foundation for the abundant life Jesus came to provide for each one of us. Rise up today and stand on His Word, claim those promises and know that He is ever with you!
Let us pray ~
Father, I come to You today with a faith that seems so small. I want to believe You, Lord. I want to walk by faith, knowing that You will keep every promise You have ever made. Help my unbelief, Lord. I thank You Heavenly Father for sustaining us throughout the night. It is indeed a miracle to have woken up from our helpless state while others have left in death due to your will or their own carelessness with the life you gave them, simply because they failed to choose You while they were able to.
I ask You to be with us today and forever more as we join the rest of your creation. May we see Your eye upon us as we see the light of the day. Bless us all both physically as we labour in Your vineyard. Help us to recognize Your voice even as we mix with our friends and workmates. We pray for love and unity. We pray for wisdom to know You better.
Holy Lord, we ask You to give us the strength to be Your representatives on earth! Give us the power and means to feed our hungry, heal our sick, and clothe our needy! Let us show the world that Christians are not the way that the media portrays us and that we are here to bring love to the world!
I thank you for listening to my prayer in the Mighty name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen….
God is with us …..