This morning I was reading John 5. I am pretty sure most of us are familiar with the story that lies in its pages. For multiple reasons. The first being it contains the story of Jesus performing one of His miracles on the Sabbath. A big ‘no-no’ for the Pharisees! The second, the miracle itself. Here is the story:
“After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda,having five porches.In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.”
What do you notice here?
A man, who has been sick for 38 years, is being asked by the One, who with a single word can heal him, if that is he desire. To be healed. And what does he say?
“Yes, Jesus! Heal Me!”
Nope. Instead, he starts to make excuses as to why he hasn’t been healed yet. Does that sound like any body you know? You see, this poor, sick man got so used to being within his sick body, that his will for life had been shattered. There seemed no hope left for him, except to get into the healing waters. To which, he hasn’t been able to get himself up fast enough to do. His will for life, his hope for healing, are gone.
Too often, I believe, we are just like this sick man. We get so used to the way we live our lives that we don’t change. We don’t want change, we don’t hope for it, and we certainly don’t expect it! The Healer stands in front of us, saying “Do you want to be made well?” And we start rambling off our excuses:
“My grandmother was stubborn too.”
“My Mother was an angry woman. I must get it from her.”
“I was just venting. Surely, that’s not gossip.”
“Steal? Me? I didn’t steal. I just forgot to give it back.”
“Sinner? Me? C’mon Jesus! I obey the law, drive the speed limit, I’m nice to others. I’m a good person. Surely that is enough to get me to heaven. If there is one.”
Our own wills to be someone better than what we are, have shattered. We have been a certain way for so long that we don’t believe we can be any different. We don’t want to change, that’s too hard. We have the excuses as to why we are the way we are. We have justified it for so long, that we believe it is okay to be ‘me’. And still, Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit to refine us and make us more in the image of Himself. When the prodding comes, what do you do? Do you make more excuses as to why you don’t need to change? Or do you expose yourself for the healing of the Savior?
I don’t know about you, but I would much rather go through the fire, be refined, and come out on the other side looking more like Jesus, than I would rather life be easy, and just be me.
How about you? Are you like me, and holding on to yourself so tightly, so afraid of change, that you’re not allowing God to move in your life? Why don’t we let go, and let God have His perfect way in us?
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