sermon can be viewed by clicking on the video link at the following site:http://sermon.net/graceistheplace/sermonid/2581214
Jesus walked up to the Pool of Bethesda where "multitudes" of sick and paralzyed were gathered waiting for the miracle in the waters of the pool.
In the mulititude, He saw "one." That should be comforting to all of us. In the millions, He can still focus on just one. You.
"Get up, take up your bed and walk," came the command from Jesus. And the man did!
Some of the Jewish heirarchy saw him carrying his bed, and it happened to be on the Sabbath. Carrying any kind of load on the Sabbath was strictly prohibited by their heritage. They confronted the man for carrying his bed.
"All I know is that the man who healed me told me to, so I did."
"Who told you to?" the Jews demanded.
"I don't know."
The Jews were irate. This man was violating their heritage on the word of some stranger who had healed him. Are you kidding me? Did you notice that no one said, "Oh my, I know you. You're the guy who has been paralyzed for 38 years. And look at you! You're walking!"
They completely ignored his miraculous healing. Thirty-eight years he had hoped for a miracle at the pool, and now it comes. But It told him to carry his bed, and it was on the Sabbath. And that's all the religious folk could see. He was breaking a religious rule. Who cares about the healing!
It would be great if this dynamic was only a part of history and could never happen again. But it goes on every week. Churches all over the country refuse to acknowledge that God could be blessing anyone or doing anything great in a church down the street, because that church doesn't practice the same rules, rituals, and heritage that our church practices. Our heritage blinds us to the Healer's marvelous works.
Many of us probably grew up in churches that would not accept God's work if it took place in a "competitor church." If our church is the "right one," why would God bless the one down the street?
So our heritage prevented us from seeing the Healer.
But when John recorded this story in the 5th chapter of his book, he didn't want to focus on the danger of heritage. He wanted to focus on something unique about Jesus. Remember, Clement of Alexandria said John's purpose in writing the 4th gospel was to present a "more spiritual" account of Jesus. John the beloved wanted us to know his Jesus!
So this is what he wanted us to marvel at:
1. Even though a "multitude" of sick were at the pool, Jesus could see "one" in the crowd. When you present your cares to God in prayer, it is easy to wonder if He is listening. There must be so many other people praying. But He can hear one in the many.
2. This man did not ask for healing. He didn't use the "key words." He didn't name it, and claim it. Yet he was healed.
3. This man didn't even know who Jesus was. He didn't know His name. And yet... he was healed. Doesn't this scream to us that God is sovereign, and He can bless whom He chooses to bless? We can't lock Him up in our little boxes of denomination or ideology.
4. This man didn't even have faith. Since he didn't know who Jesus was, he couldn't very well have faith, could he? The only thing you can say is that Christ proved that He doesn't have to be begged, He doesn't sit on His hands until you speak the right words, He isn't holding back because your faith is not yet big enough. He doesn't need great faith. He just needs to see your need.
He is a God of love and mercy.
And I'd rather see the Healer than be blinded by heritage.