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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

4/13/10- Do You Want to Get Well? John 5:1-9

 1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda  and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3-4 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.  5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 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?" 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." 8 Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

(Pool at Bethesda today- rediscovered c. 1997)

There was a man who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years.  There was no social security, and begging was usually the way of life for the disabled.  Doubtless, he was used to begging for help.  If Jesus made him well, his whole life would change.  So Jesus asked him what appears to be a silly question- "Do you want to get well?"  The man had been by this healing pool for so long, and had little hope to be healed because he couldn't get to the water quick enough (the legend was that the first in the water after it has been stirred, would be healed).  The man appeared to be looking for a miracle, but in some ways he had given up hope.  Jesus came to this hopeless man and helped him.  Jesus comes to us and asks, "Do you want to get well?"  Many of us make up excuses for not being better people. Many of us are so used to coping with our problems, that we really don't want to get well.  Almost like a fish who has gotten so used to the darkness that it has lost its ability to see light- and doesn't want the light.  Self-help books tell us how to cope, but Jesus enables us to go forward- and be well.  We do not need to know how to be more comfortable on our mat of suffering as much as we need to know how to be forgiven and how to have hope. Jesus tells us to rise up and go forward.  The world needs us to want to be changed by Jesus, and the world needs us to rise up.   More importantly, God needs us to be new creatures and to follow Him.  Perry Tuttle gave us a challenge from this passage last night.

Prayer: Lord, help me to always want you to come into my life, make me well, and give me the grace to rise up.

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