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Sunday, July 15, 2018

posted Jul 15, 2018, 11:36 PM by Site Administrator



John 5:1-15

Key Verse 5:6


When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"


First, "Do you want to get well?" (1-9a).Look at verses 1-3. Sometime later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. As we learned in scripture there were seven official feasts which the Jews kept according to Gods command. Later, a few more were added such as the Feast of Dedication and Purim. We dont know exactly which feast it was. Nonetheless, every feast is to be a time filled with great joy. Wouldnt you agree? For example, weddings, theyre filled with all types of delicious food and entertainment. They bring great joy to everyone. Even though we may mess up by, Gods Grace, everyone gets a laugh out of it. Well that is how Jerusalem was as Jesus arrived for the feast. It was a festive environment. People came from around the world just to be a part of the celebration. They were filled with excitement as they experienced all of the amazing attractions; from the vivid decorations and live music, to the Food Trucks and the highly anticipated Mexican Dance. Jesus shouldve been enjoying himself like the rest of the people, but instead, he came to a remote place with a not so pleasant aroma called Bethesda. This may seem so insignificant at first glance but actually, this reminds us of Jesus’ incarnation; how instead of Him enjoying all His Freedom, Glory, and Power as God in the Kingdom of Heaven, He came down to us in the form of a tiny baby, dwelled among us, and was crucified on the cross for our sins. Through this we see Jesus’ deep concern for the lonely and disabled people. Thanks to this Amazing Grace of Jesus, salvation has come into the world and we have all received one blessing after another.


Actually in Aramaic, Bethesda means, "House of Mercy". Here, there laid a great number of disabled people; some were blind, some lame, and others paralyzed. Rumor has it that from time to time an angel would come and stir up the waters. When this happened, whoever got into the water first would be healed of whatever they were suffering from. Whether this rumor was true or not, no one really knows, but because of this slim chance of being healed, these disabled people gathered here everyday. They waited all day long with a hope to be the first one in as soon as the water began to stir. Now as Jesus stood there among them, he learned of one man who had been an invalid for 38 years. He was describe as an invalid. Due to his disability, he could not live as a valid member of the society. How long? 38 years! This man mustve been super musty all the time since he couldnt bathe as easily as we can. Also, its safe to say that because of this condition he was malnourished. This man looked wretched. As we know people prefer to be around those who look so fresh and clean. This man certainly was not that. As a result, his condition caused many to be burdened. When they saw him they said, ah man, not that guy’ and quickly hid. As a result he was an outcast but, one thing we can see from this is that Jesus is different.


Verse 6 reads, "When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"" Among so many disabled people, Jesus saw him. This man looked so pitiful, so much that it caused a deep pain in Jesus’ heart. As he watched this man He deeply understood how much he had been suffering. Especially, because this mans life had been wasted all along. He had spent most of his life just lying there doing nothing. No ones life should be wasted away like this. That is why, out of His compassionate heart, Jesus would try to heal him. In this way, he would no longer suffer from living a miserable life; wasting it away. Jesus asked him, do you want to get well?


The truth is that this world is like Bethesda; in the sense that there are so many spiritually disabled people who cannot function properly due to their sin. For example, inmates who are locked up for life due to the merciless crimes they committed as they were under the rule of sin. Think about it. They were once someones little baby. How happy were the parents when their baby was born. What a great joy they mustve brought their families as they watched them grow. How sad is it that later, due to their sin, they couldnt function as normal human beings. Rather they became a great burden, even to the society. This is the case for so many young students as well. Their hearts and minds are polluted with hate, lust, pride, and greed, so much that they cannot live up to their true potential. Instead of them doing exceedingly well in school and life, they become sexually immoral, party animals, and drug addicts. Young men especially, should be a source of hope and joy to the world but, when they live in sin, they become disabled and a burden like this man. They become so perverted, vulgar, and violent. Its so bad that everyone avoids them due to that bad odor they send forth. God did not intend this for man. He made man in His image and likeness, to be great. He made them to be rulers over all creation. The Psalmist praises God about this saying, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." (Ps139:14)


How heartbreaking it is, especially to God, when people become disabled this way. Being ineffective and unproductive because of sin. Its painful for Him, when peoples' lives are crippled due to their sorrowful bad memories or how some due to anger have a sense of betrayal and their hearts are twisted,causing them to be dysfunctional in their families, households, and society. This invalid man is the official representative of all the physically, mentally, and spiritually disabled; of all unproductive peoples. Even in our present society, we see how people are despised, isolated, and abandoned. As a result, even they even give up on themselves and accept their miserable conditions as their terrible fate but, praise be to the Lord Jesus. He pays attention to even the most insignificant looking person. He understands how much and how long they have suffered from the sorrows and agony of life. He is not indifferent with them but, personally asks each one, Do you want to get well?’ For the invalid man, however, this was a challenging question. This man had been in that condition for 38 years. This way of being was very natural and comfortable to him. So much that even his mattress was perfectly shaped for his body. The fact that he had survived this way for 38 years proves it. In his eyes, he was ok even if he did nothing with his life but, just laid there all day because at the end of each day all his necessities had successfully been provided for.


He wasnt like others who struggle hard in college, competing with others, hoping to land a high salary job. In his eyes he didnt even need to work because so far his life of just chilling on his mat brought him great benefits. He solved his housing problem with Section 8, his food problem with Welfare, and his clothing problem with his older brothers hand me downs. He was successfully provided for just fine by lying on his mat. Basically, getting well meant losing all his benefits. Hed give up living such an easy and comfortable life and instead would have to struggle hard, but as we all know, the one thing all humans are allergic to is suffering. No one loves suffering. This is why we always find ourselves trying our best to find the easy way out. When Jesus asked him "do you want to get well?’ the invalid man typed it in on Google Translate and it read "Are you willing to give up the benefits of your easy-going sinful life?" This makes it clear to us that in order to get well before God, we must be willing to lose all the benefits of our sinful lifestyles. Maybe, this man had no sense of problem about his own life. He just accepted such a terrible fate and gave up hope for his life.


Though he might have accepted his condition, Jesus didn't. By asking him, "Do you want to get well?" Jesus desired to plant hope in him for a new, sound, valid, and effective life. With this simple question, Jesus tried to ignite a fire in his heart; for him to desire and pursue a meaningful and fulfilling life. This actually is why we must develop Holy anger towards our sin instead of enjoying such sinful pleasures. For this, Jesus asks us today, "Do you want to get well?" What is your response? Amen! "Yes, Lord. Please have mercy on me. Make me well! I want to be a powerful spiritual leader for this generation."


Second, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk" (7-15).When Jesus asked this man, "Do you want to get well?" what should he have said? Amen! ("Yes Lord!")But what was his response? Lets look at verse 7. "Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me."


He complained that no one helped him for the past 38 years. Here we see his problem was his dependency on others and his conditional thinking. Jesus asked him, "Do you want to get well?"Because something was wrong with him and so he needed to get well but, the invalid thought ’I dont know whatsis wrong with these people..To him they were the problem because they didnt help him, but as long as he blamed others for the problems in his life, he could not get well. Nothing good could ever come out of his life. This is actually why his heart was full of complaints, bitterness, and anger towards everyoneIts why he was miserable and even the cause of his broken relationships with others.


If he truly wanted to get well, he couldve located himself right beside the pool so that as soon as the water was stirred, he could simply roll into the water and be healed. Or instead of lying there complaining all the time, He couldve meditated on Gods Word, lived as a Bible Teacher for all the disabled people there, and as a result the spiritual environment would be filled with great thanks and praise to God, but since he relied on others, he became filled with complaints that no one served him. He wasted 38 years of his life in misery because of this. He lost his entire life. He could not see the Preciousness of his time and life so he didnt do anything but, just laid there. This was a great sin.


What was Jesus’ response to this? Look at verse 8. Lets read this verse together:


8Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk."


Jesus did not sympathize with him but, cut through the man's fatalism, self-pity, and dependency on others bycommanding him to"Get up! Pick up your mat and walk!" The invalid man might have thought that he had many good reasons to lie down and to depend on others but, Jesus’ direction for him was utmost clear. "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." It was time for him to stop lying there, to stop depending on others, and take responsibility for himself; making progress with his life. He must get up from his laziness, his dependency on othersand his bad habit of complaining all the time. By picking up his mat, he would now take care of himself. No longer living as a beggar and a burden to others but, becoming productive and effective with his life.


"Get up! Pick up your mat and walk!"This direction of Jesus shows us what God wants for us. Wtoo may come up with so many excuses for why we cannot do things right. Maybe, we have some weaknesses or terrible scars frombetrayals and mistreatment but, no matter what, it is sinful that you waste your precious life because of these. Jesus’ direction to us is very clear. "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk!" Today we must listen to Jesus direction, get up from our comfortable and compromising mat and walk away from our complaints and dependency of others. We must get up from the life of sin and start a new life in Christ Jesus as real children of God. So no more excuses or complaining. Jesus says, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk."


When this man heard Jesus’ voice, he got up. Through His obedience hwas made well. Jesus healed the man of his paralysis and gave him a new life. By his own strength or will power, he couldndo itAll he could do was complain and complain but when he finally heard the voice of the Son of God, suddenly, he gained strength. He powered up like Goku from DBZ. All his muscles were fully empowered as if he had been training under 100x Earths gravity the 38 yearsThman stood up firm, picked up his mat, and began to walk. In our lives, there are so many fatalistic elements, which make us invalid, dysfunctional, and ineffective. How can we overcome that sense of failure? How can we overcome the power of sin and death? How can we overcome depression and defeatism? With our own will power and strengths, we will only continue to fail but, when we truly hear the voice of the Son of God, suddenly our mortal bodies gain strength and power. His words heal our body and soul. Even the dead, when they hear Jesus’ voice, cross over from death to life. This is the reason why we must study the Word of God diligently. The same reason why we must teach the Word of God to many suffering and dying students on our campuses because, true healing comes only through hearing Jesus' words.


As we look at Verses 9b-15 we see what happened to this man after Jesus healed him. The day in which this all took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jews threatened the man who had been healed. They tried charging him with breaking the Sabbath Law as he carried his mat. The healed man was scared by the Jews’ intimidation and just dumped all the blame on Jesus, saying, "The man who made me well said to me, Pick up your mat and walk."It was the time for him to testify, "I was an invalid man for 38 years, but Jesus of Nazareth healed me!"Instead the man forgot all about Jesus’ Grace poured out onhim. But why did he blame Jesus? He did it to secure his newly found dreams and desires in the world.


When he was laying there helplessly, he could not have any dream or desire for his own life. This, being the reason he was hopeless but, when Jesus made him well, he came to develop a dream for his future - maybe, he thought about getting a career job, marrying, and having his own family. Such dreams were so precious to him now and he didn't want to lose them at any cost. Thats why when the authorities charged him with violation of the Sabbath Law, he was scared at the thought of losing his newly found dreams. So in order to secure them, he betrayed Jesus' Grace by dumping all the blame on HimThrough this we see that though the man was healed physically, he was still spiritually a paralyzed man. Yet, the Jews did not catch Jesus, because the man had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there (13).


Look at verse 14. Let's read this verse together:


Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning, or something worse may happen to you."


Now that he was healed by Jesus’ Grace, he was no longer wearing filthy rags, but fancy designer clothes and shoes by Tommy Hilfiger, hfinally took a shower, and got a fresh haircut with ashaveat Leos BarbershopHe was now even attending the Temple worship service - singing hymn 96 and praying2 by 2 with other worshipers. Outwardly, it seemed that he was doing well but Jesus told him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning, or something worse may happen to you." Surely, in Jesus’ eyes, this man was not okay. Rather, he was sinning, even though he was attending the Temple worship service. But why? Its simple. Betraying one's grace that way is something wicked in God's eyes - it was sin. As a result, God does not accept this kind of person as one of his worshipers even though they may attend the Temple worship service. This man was now pursuing his own desires in the society, expecting that everything would go well with him. But Jesus warned him, "Stop sinning, or something worse may happen to you."


By Jesus' Grace, we too have been made well nowbecoming sound in mind, heart, and spirit. We are actually all beautiful - those with purified hearts, struggling to love Jesus more and more. No longer living as those terrible and smelly sinners, but as precious children of God and it is all because of Jesus' Grace upon our life. Jesus found us, healed us, and established us as beautiful children of God. We must neverforget this but hold on toall that Jesus has done for us; by living our life in a manner worthy of His Grace. Remembering that it is not good in God's eyes if anyone, after experiencing Jesus' Grace, just selfishly pursues his or her newly found dreams for an easgoing or a happy family life, forgetting about God's will. As children of God, we must not sin this way. Rather, we must thank God and serve God all the more. Living our life according to His will because that is the true purpose of God's Grace upon our life. As weve learned, those who love God obey his command, but those who love something else cannot.


Finally, Look at verse 15. At Jesus' rebuke and warning, he should have repented but instead, he went away and told the religious police that it was Jesus who had made him well (15). As long as this man held on to his own desires in the world, he was lost. He should have repented, turning to and pursuing God wholeheartedly, remembering Jesus' grace upon his life but, unfortunately this man is never heard of again.


As I thought about Jesus' deep concern for someone whom all his life felt so lonely and disabled. I was able to see once again how much He loves me and all of His Sheep. I thank and praise God from the depth of my heart for His Amazing Grace poured out on me because if He didnt come as the Atoning Sacrifice for our sin I wouldve remained living in misery all the days of my life. Instead, now, only because of Him, do I undeservingly live my life receiving one blessing after another.


My whole life I felt so lonely and disabled. It began when my father left when I was a kid. Not just that but, I was the last born child of 6. I knew my Mama loved me but she was always working so I sought friendships and relationships to not be alone, but no matter how hard I tried I could never find satisfaction. Eventually because of this I grew up not caring about my future and I threw off all responsibilities. Entering high school I began to smoke weed, drink, party, and wassexually immoral. I didnt know it but, I had become a slave to sins of lust, anger, and pride to name a few. Though outwardly I seemed ok, I was miserable inside. I became like the invalid man. I was vulgar and cursed at everyone even at my Mama. As a result, I was insupportable. As I look back even the place where I got high revealed the true condition of my life. Interestingly enough it was at a dead end. This was like Bethesda, my friends and I gathered almost everyday only to waste our lives away smoking weed in hopes that it would help us forget our meaningless lives and bring us peace. What made matters worse was when I lost my job, car, and girlfriend whom I had been with for a couple years. I felt like dying. Now I really lost all hope and accepted this miserable fate for my life so I just smoke weed all day, played video games all night, and slept in late. I was really depressed. I didnt even care about getting a job but, simply collected unemployment and EBT. With it I bought drugs make profit. I had become a great burden to my Mama, my family, and the society.

Then Jesus noticed me and learned that I had been in this condition for a long time. I wasnt even a College student yet. He could have chose someone else, anybody! Someone who was educated, moral, and reliable but, He sent His servant to me all the way to the ghetto streets of South Central to deliver His Word. I didnt understand why. I just wasted my life away doing nothing but, as I studied the Book of John I began to see who Jesus was. The light shinned in my darkness filled heart. As I studied each week I saw how He had great hope for even someone like me. Even His Will and Purpose for my life were revealed to me. It was great until I realized that it was becoming a challenge. Jesus asked me Do you want to get well. I wanted to yell yes Lord! So I can get up from my mat and walk. 


Still, I struggled to hold to my life Key Verse. Jesus’ words of promise given to me in John 5:24 "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my Word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned, he has crossed over from death to life. My eyes were open to see my spiritual condition that the whole time I was actually dead, but Jesus was the only hope I had. I held on to this because I had hope that only he could give me Zoe. That in was Jesus I truly could be alive. The whole time my life was being wasted but, Jesus’ desire was to heal me. He understood my suffering and it caused deep pain to His heart. Actually, I should have been dead or in jail from the time I got shot at or for the time I got caught selling drugs.


I deserved to pay for my sins but, because of His Grace, instead, He drew me nearer to himself. I finally understood what it meant that He was always with me. It wasnt just a religious concept anymore but, it was real to me. He led and protected me all my life so that in His perfect time I could come to Him and have life to the full. My life of misery, of meaninglessness, would have true meaning, purpose, and fulfillment.


The problem was that Id become so comfortable with my sinful life so much that It had become natural to me to not do anything with my life. I was content with just getting by because at the end of the day I did what I wanted and all my necessities were provided for. This is why it was challenging for me to accept Jesus. I knew it meant that I give up my comfortable life, to instead work hard on the mission and suffer, even for the sake of others.


I thought I dont want to do all that. I just wanted to get well and live a blessed life telling others, Jesus, hooked it up. My response to Jesus Grace was not good. I shouldve been willing to be healed and to testify what Jesus did but, my heart was full of complaints because it seemed too hard. Plus no one ever wanted to help me so why should I do this for them? I had become so dependent on others. I thought what is wrong with people? Why dont they help me? I only wanted to do what benefited me. Gods servant would encourage me to return to school and serve God but, I just blamed others by using the excuse that I was not smart enough because of the corruption in the government, that it was their fault I didnt get better education because of their greed for money and power.


Honestly, I just wanted to do even less than the bare minimum. But Jesus had other plans for my life. He commanded me Get Up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ Jesus didnt sympathize with me but, continued to work on my heart through each Bible Study until I finally heard Jesus’ voice. Jesus led me to see my sinful nature and that I must not depend on others, but Him alone. I had to repent and get up from my life of casualness, complaints, and fatalism. I must make the decision to give it all up so that I may be healed. So I struggled sincerely to turn away from my sinful lifestyleNo longer would I live as a beggar and a burden. Always making excuses as to why I couldnt do something due to my fatalism. Instead, I would start a new life in Christ, as a man of God. As I did, the Holy Spirit enabled me to pick up strength and zeal for the Lord. I could now stand up, pick up my mat, and walk. I couldnt have done it without Jesus. His’ Grace surely was sufficient for me.


Gods work went on powerfully. I was being transformed from living as a selfish sinful man to a selfless shepherd for Gods flock. I not only began to attend El Camino but, soon went out fishing with Gods servants at El Camino. I wouldve never done this because I disliked meeting new people, but I had crossed over from death to life. As I struggled to live by faith I was still being cleansed from smoking weed, drinking, and living sexually immoral. Meanwhile Jesus’ was blessing with understanding and was able to bear fruit inwardly.God even blessed me with a good job and so I was busy all day working and serving God. So much that I was persecuted by friends and family. They couldnt understand what God was doing in my life. To them I was too religious now because I didnt want to do what I used to do with them.


It hurt a lot because they were my loved ones but, I did not want Jesus’ Grace for me to be in vain so I continued holding on to Him. Everything in my life was good. I was forgiven of my sins and so nothing else mattered for I had Jesus. Fast forward seven years later and I was blessed by God to marry by faith. God knew the desires of my heart and gave me something even greater than what I desired. I thank God for His blessing in giving me an amazing suitable helper whom sincerely struggles to serve me even when its difficult due to the reality of life. How she rebukes, encourages, and inspires me through her struggles before God in taking care of Jesus’ flock. Also, for our firstborn son whom, as I prayed for, surely has the Spirit of the General Joshua.


My life surely had been delightful as Ive struggled to remain in God. Everything had been going well, but then I was fired from my job at FedEx where I had worked for almost 5 years. I was let go due to my casualness of being lateAgain, I was unemployed for a while. Causing me to lose Jesus’ hope and vision for my life. Even my identity as His servant. I reverted back to my invalid way of thinking. I was depressed and fatalistic. I went to sleep late and slept in until noon. It got so bad that I just found any excuse to stay home rather than going to serve God. I even gained weight. Outwardly it seemed I was ok, still going to church and all, but I knew I was taking Jesus’ Grace in vain. I didnt know what to do. All I knew was that I could not rely on myself or anyone else but, Jesus. I did not want to become a burden to my wife, to cause her to doubt Gods will for her life, for our marriage, because of my sin. So I tried looking for a job and to my surprise I was called in for an interview for an Electrical Services Company. It went well but unfortunately they wanted someone experienced. They assured me they would keep me in mind. I didnt want to get worse from my condition so this time instead of losing all hope, I began to pray to God about it. Until, after a month' struggle I finally got the call. I would start right away. Since then I have been taken under the wings of a few foreman whom have been teaching me the ropes. 


This experience rebuked me for not trusting in His sovereignty over my life. I was reminded to not let these circumstances cause me to lose faith in Jesus. This is His way of saying to me, "stop sinning, or something worse may happen". Now I am back on the mission field; struggling to find and feed Jesus’ sheep. I am no longer wasting my life doing nothing, but living as a Shepherd. Even this job opportunity has been a blessing, because it reveals Jesus’ abundant Grace for me. Actually, I will even begin attending school for it in August the week after the conference in order to learn more about the trade. Ive never been one to enjoy studying but, I know that I can do it because I have Jesus. Surely Im a blessed man. 


I praise the Jesus for revealing Himself to me, an unworthy sinner. I pray that I no longer live as a selfish man as I did most of my life but, that I continue to walk in the Son of God. In a manner worthy of all that Jesus has done for me. Growing sound in heart, mind and spirit. That I may love Jesus more than my own life, even His blessings. May we all grow continuously as those who truly love God, living according to His will and purpose by obeying His commands. Indeed, this is the true purpose of God's Grace for our lives.


One Word: Do You Want To Get Well?