Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 5:7 AThe impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool; but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.@
For 38 years this man had tried unsuccessfully to find help. AI have no man@ is one of Scripture=s saddest cries. It still breaks the heart.
Many are lost because they have no one who will take time to help them. If we ask unbelievers to come to Jesus, some will. If we don=t ask, none will.
This lame man wanted health, but didn=t know how to find it. No one had ever been willing to help him into the pool. Jesus, though, was always a friend of the friendless. His heart yearns for those who have no earthly help.
AGod sets the solitary in families@ (PS 58:6). Widows, orphans, aliens, and the poor are under His special protection. For those having no other place to flee, Jesus provides refuge.
When the arm of flesh failed this lame man, Jesus healed him. Having been disappointed often, this man had begun to despair, but Christ came to the rescue. The Lord delights in desperate cases.
Many have tried in vain to find a solution to emptiness they feel inside. You may feel you have tried everything and failed. Never downgrade yourself for making attempts to find spiritual health. Forget what lies behind. Failure is no reason not to try again. Next time, try Jesus. You will not be disappointed.
Much of a seeker=s failure to find relief apart from God is caused by God Himself. He makes sure all other cures fail, so we will finally come to Him. Our restless search for peace is actually a stirring from God who seeks us. In reconciliation, Jesus always takes the initiative.
He sought out this lame man, and still seeks hurting people. Christ does not wait for us to approach Him. Humans do not initiate the search for God. They are all turned to their own way (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus has to call us to Himself.
If looking and longing for something that has eluded our grasp, hear the call of Jesus. Reach unto Him. He never fails or disappoints.
John 5:8-9a AJesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made well, and took up his bed, and walked.@
The cure was accomplished immediately. He who could not turn himself on the bed was instantly able to carry the bed.
This is how conversion is accomplished B in a second, in a moment of time. The process bringing us to a moment of decision may be long, but the choice itself is instantaneous.
Regeneration must be the work of a moment. A person cannot be somewhere between dead and alive. There must be a line between life and death. One instant there is death; another, life.
We cannot evolve into Christianity, grow into it, earn it, absorb it by osmosis, or inherit it. We enter it by making a definite decision to repent of sin, forsake evil, and unite with God through a relationship with Jesus.
After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, it did not take six months for them to enter a state of condemnation. They immediately knew they were naked and tried to hide from God.
The Devil was able to destroy our race in a moment. Jesus can save us in a moment. It doesn=t take Christ longer to do His work than it took Satan to do his.
Noah was not saved after he was in the ark a week or two. He was safe the instant God shut the door. At Passover a family was safe the moment they applied blood to the doorposts.
The brazen serpent immediately healed all who looked at it. The dying thief, 3000 at Pentecost, and the Philippian jailer were saved instantly.
When a Judge announces acquittal, the defendant is released immediately. Likewise, when God says AI forgive you@ it does not take a year to realize it.
We wonder, why did Jesus focus on this particular individual? What in this lame man attracted the attention of Jesus?
Many others were also sick. Why heal this one? We cannot know for sure, but the purpose of Jesus= question in verse six seems to have been to gauge the man=s desire.
Jesus was testing the intensity of his desire. The first essential for receiving God=s blessing is to have an intense desire for it. This man=s answer to Jesus showed his problem was a shortage of good friends, not a lack of desire.
If we are content to stay where we are, as we are, change will not happen in us. A desire for better things must always pulsate within us.
Christ was not able to change apathetic people. The Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes, Lawyers, and Priests felt they had all of God they needed. Being completely smug, they were by-passed by Jesus= helping hands.
Desire always captured the Lord=s attention. Blind Bartimaus screamed. The bleeding woman fought a crowd to touch the hem of His garment. Zaccheus climbed a tree to see Jesus. The Nobleman traveled 20 miles in behalf of his son.
This is not to say desire of itself is enough. It must be coupled with resolve to obey Christ at any cost. We overcome when the intensity of our desire is coupled with a determination to obey God fully.
Some have desire, but not enough to pay the needed cost in obedience. Others obey, but being legalists they don=t desire more of God. Desire and obedience are both needed to release the power of God within us.
The healing of God was dispensed to this lame man due to his total submission. The power to heal is of God, but there must exist a yielded, obedient vessel through which His energy can flow.
We cannot do nothing, sit back, relax, and expect the miraculous. Blessings descend when our will humbly unites with God=s power to make them happen.
The man in our text had to be willing to trust God for the impossible. For 38 years his bed had carried him.
It was humanly impossible for him to carry the bed, but this was what he had to do. As he made the effort based on Christ=s power, the deed was done.
When Jesus commanded, confidence moved this man=s heart. In trying to obey, power came to him.
This still describes our reality. Christ=s commandments are gifts. By saying ADo this!@ He pledges Himself to give whatever power we need to obey it.
God binds Himself by His own commandments. Every time He says AYou shall@ He actually means AI will.@ We can do Christs= bidding.
None of His orders is impossible, including love your enemies; husbands, love your wives; forgive one another; go preach the Gospel to every creature; take no thought for tomorrow.
Our power to accomplish will be equal to our desire and our willingness to obey. There is always enough anointing available for us to do our duty.
Augustine prayed, AGive what You command, and command what You will.@ Our duty is to obey. Christ has responsibility to provide the power.
What happened in this lame man=s heart depicts the kind of response that has to occur in an unbeliever=s heart at the moment of salvation. Jesus distracted the man from his despondency and from all other sources of cure. Having no confidence in himself or others, the man was totally dependent on Jesus and willing to obey Him explicitly.
All else had previously failed, but through his desire and willingness to obey, he found immediately in Jesus what he had vainly sought 38 years. Maybe the time has arrived for you to try Jesus.