Do You Want to be Well? – John 5:1-18
This message is a part of our series on the Gospel of John.
Find the rest of the messages in this series here.
Hey! Its so great to be back with you this morning. We had a wonderful trip to Camp Jacob and then the 8 hours from there to where my parents live in VA Beach. It was a joy to worship with our church plant in Portsmouth, VA last week.
Unfortunately, when I walked out of church there in VA and got in my car it synced up automatically with my phone and started playing Spotify, which was messing up the guys in the sound booth. I was 12 hours away but I was still messing things up! Sorry!
We are now in John 5, it feels like a good spot to remind you of why we are tracking through this book. Or rather, why John wrote it. John tells us in
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
While we were in VA, we got to go out on a friend’s boat, pass by the Portsmouth shipyard, cross the Chesapeake Bay, eat some seafood, ya’ll the fish tacos I had were amazing. I find myself thinking about them… and then we went past the Newport News Shipbuilding yard where my brother works on building Navy ships and submarines.
Haven and Lincoln really enjoyed the boat ride, especially when it went fast. Haven turned to me and said, “dad, this is the life.” I asked, Haven what do you mean? She said, this is great. This is fun. For most of us, we think about life in those terms. When we are on vacation or it’s a holiday or when we can enjoy our hobby or travel or whatever, that’s really living.
There’s definitely more to life than work. There’s definitely more to life than play. There’s more to life than this.
What we find in the book of John is the person who gives us life.
I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
What we have seen through the first 4 chapters is what we’ll see again in the remaining chapters, life is found in Jesus Christ.
GPS software and technology has really made some leaps forward in the past decade. I’m so thankful for it. I don’t know that it would be possible to find the camp I was at last week without GPS. It is really in the middle of nowhere. Beautiful. Maybe you’ve had this experience with GPS, it takes you through neighborhoods or through parts of town that you wouldn’t have gone through if you had known where you were going… When Jesus arrives in Jerusalem for yet another Jewish feast, he heads to the pool at Bethsaida. Not the place where you would go as a tourist attraction.
Jesus goes to the places others avoid and reaches the people others forget.
It had probably been really nice at one point, it was a pool with 5 porticos or gazebos around it. Someone had probably constructed it to be a nice place to gather around the pool. It had become a gathering place for all of the sick and disabled.
The KJV uses the term “impotent” in verse 3. Modern translations use our common term of “invalid.” People had come to believe that an angel would come and trouble the waters and whoever was first into the water would be healed. There’s no evidence that this actually happened. This wasn’t John’s point. John’s point was that this was a gathering place for sick people and that’s where Jesus went and found this man. Jesus went to a place that you wouldn’t plug into your GPS.
Jesus went to a place where the broken people gathered. Last week Pastor Eric did a fantastic job showing you how Jesus healed the son of an official who sought him out. We’ve seen Jesus demonstrate his power at a wedding and in the temple, we’ve seen Jesus converse with Jewish religious leaders, samaritans of bad reputation, Jewish government officials, and now we see him dealing with the people of skid row in Jerusalem.
What John is showing us through his retelling of Jesus’ life story is that there is no one that Jesus was unwilling to meet with. Jesus was wiling to help and serve anyone and everyone. No matter their station in life. No matter their background. No matter their power…
The word we have in the KJV is impotent – without power.
The common word today is invalid – in-valid – not valid.
Jesus reaches to the edges of society because he reaches everyone.
That means the addict on Riverside Drive.
The woman on Fares Ave.
The homeless man on the corner of Fulton Ave…
The men and women in Warrick County Jail
The immigrant and his daughter who drowned crossing the Rio Grande…
We often miss the people and the needs in front of us because we are so caught up with power and authority and politics… There’s an example of it here, the man takes up his bed and walks. He walks by the Temple and the religious leaders confront him. It is not lawful to carry your mat on the Sabbath Day.
Now, to us, this seems so silly. It seems crazy to us that they would be upset about the Sabbath day laws. That’s because we no longer worry about the Sabbath. The last of the Blue Laws was repealed here in Indiana and now even the liquor store can be open…
In our culture today, we don’t get bothered by Sabbath Day rules, but if anyone challenges our views on sex, gender, politics, then we are just like the religious leaders. Jesus’ views were considered liberal in his day, but they’re seen as old fashioned today.
Many conservative people like us still hold onto Jesus’ views on sexual ethics, but we’ve failed to uphold his value of human life- from womb to tomb. Before we scoff at the religious leaders who can’t celebrate the fact that the invalid is now walking because he’s carrying his bed on a Sunday, lets be careful that we aren’t also overlooking the opportunities we have to serve and celebrate the people created in God’s image all around us, because they’re broken differently than we are…
Jesus likes to challenge our infatuation with power and authority… He told this man to carry His bed. Jesus told this guy to do this.
Jesus was setting up the exchange he would have with the religious leaders later on…
There were times that Jesus healed people and told them not to say anything. There were times that he performed miracles that only his disciples knew about.
Then there were times that he told the healed person to go and show themselves to the priest, or he healed people right in the temple courtyard…
Every miracle was a sign showing the power and authority of Jesus.
This is especially clear in the answer he gives to the religious leaders.
But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.
Jesus will challenge your notions of control and power.
He does it through opportunities to serve the least among us…
He does it by defying your desires… He does it by convicting you of your sin…
If Jesus never challenges your thoughts, behavior, and beliefs, you’re not following Jesus. You’re following yourself- your conception of Jesus…
I love my wife, but she is not my conception.
She’s her own person. You know what that means?
We disagree sometimes…
I’ve got a 5 year old son. He’s adorable. He’s funny.
He’s also wrong about a lot.
If I just agreed with him on everything, not only would we never go to bed, we’d eat cookies for every meal, watch Pokemon 8 hours a day, and go swimming when it’s 40 degrees outside.
Some of you never disagree with your kid and your kid doesn’t have a parent!
When was the last time Jesus challenged you?
When was the last time God disagreed with you?
When was the last time the Holy Spirit convicted you?
If Jesus never challenges you, you don’t have a Savior.
You have superstition.
On our trip back from Virginia, Nicole and I switched back and forth on driving several times. I just can’t hang in there like I used to. I’m old, you guys.
You know what, that’s what we do with Jesus .Only, instead of getting tired of driving, we get tired of riding shotgun.
We say, Jesus I’m going to follow you. You drive.
Then we get our tax check and we say, ok Jesus I’m going to drive for a bit. Then we get tired of doing it our way and we let Jesus back into the drivers seat.
Then someone says something that sleights us, and we say ok Jesus get in the back and maybe cover your ears…
Then we realize we lost our cool and we let Jesus hop back in the drivers seat.
Then our spouse makes us a little crazy and we say, ok Jesus hop out, I’ll swing back by and pick you up in a minute…
Jesus should be in the drivers seat. When he’s driving, you’ll always be headed toward spiritual health.
Jesus demonstrates his power and authority, but what does he use his power and authority for? What does he use his power and authority to point people toward? Spiritual Health.
Did you notice what Jesus said to this man when he found him in the temple?
Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
If Jesus only wanted you to be healthy and wealthy, he’d be like a cancer doctor who gave out Tylenol and Candy.
Our time on earth is a small blip on the timeline of our existence.
Jesus had pity on this man who had been sick for 38 years, but Jesus tells him there’s something much worse than being sick for 38 years…
You’d be better off living a miserable life and making it to heaven than to have everything you ever wanted for 80 years and spend eternity separated from God in a place called hell.
Here’s what’s beautiful, what has been broken in your life for the past 38 years, Jesus can fix. He can redeem. He can restore.
All of this power and authority, all of this might, all of these miracles, they are pointing us toward belief in Jesus because in belief in Jesus there is life!
Jesus sought this man out at the pool of Bethsaida and he sought him out at the temple. He came looking for this broken man, not to merely give him physical healing, that was just a signpost on the path to the greater healing, the greater miracle of spiritual healing.
You might think you found Jesus, but He’s the one who has been seeking you out.
Many of you have to Jesus because there’s some place in your life where you felt powerless, and Jesus has helped you with that, but Jesus doesn’t want to stop there. He sought you out to help you with that place in your life where you were powerless, where you were invalid, but he will keep diving, keep pushing, keep reaching deeper into your life to heal the spiritual brokenness.
The brokenness Jesus came to heal is our spiritual brokenness: sin.
What is the spiritual brokenness?
Sin! He says go and sin no more.
How can Jesus say this to the man? How can he say go and sin more? Just as he can say take up your bed and walk!
23 Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?
24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, he said unto the sick of the palsy, I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.
Don’t settle for superstition, don’t settle for having some of the stuff of Jesus, the stories of Jesus, the quotes of Jesus, plunge yourself into a relationship with Jesus!
That’s where the life is!
I’m so troubled at the number of people who want to tell me about the cross they have on the wall, the scripture verse plaques, the keychains, and stickers….
Are you in Christ? Are you following Jesus!?
Nothing else matters.