Kaleo San Diego Church
Do You Want to be Made Well?
Quit Your Whining!
Tonight we are going to be in John Chapter 5. We are going to look at a sad, sad man. There are two types of people that drive me nuts. Tonight we will look at both of them. As we discussed two great responses to Jesus in the last couple of studies (the Samaritan woman and the Nobleman), tonight we see a man who’s response is less than admirable and the religious leaders response that is pathetic. I want to focus on this mans response and ask you two questions this evening. The first question you have heard me ask before: Why are you here? Seriously, what are you doing here tonight? What’s the point of going through the trouble of coming to Church? The second question I will ask as we dive into the text.
Let’s turn to the Gospel of John chapter 5 verse 1.
Verses 1-4 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 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.
Scholars are not sure which feast this was, some have said it was the Passover feast, but that is pretty unlikely considering its importance. The Passover was always explicitly mentioned. Some say it was the feast of Purim, but that was a human invention, not a divine, so we can hardly see Christ going to Jerusalem to observe it. Others think it was the Pentecost, which I believe is most likely.
Pentecost occurred fifty days after the Passover, and the feast mentioned in John 4:1 follows the Passover mentioned in John 2:13. Pentecost is one of the three annual Feasts that the law required every male Israelite to observe in Jerusalem (Deut. 16), and here we see the Jesus honoring the Law by going up to Jerusalem to celebrate feast.
In Jerusalem there are 10 gates that we can read about it Nehemiah Chapter 3. The first is the sheep gate (verse 1) and the last is "The gate Miphkad" which means "judgment," and speaks, perhaps, of the judgment-seat of Christ.
The Sheep Gate the Christ enters is where the animals were brought to be sacrificed, mostly sheep, hence the name. This is a subtle reference to the cross, that Jesus would come and be the lamb to be slain.
The word Bethesda means “mercy” which is quite interesting that Christ would come through the Sheep Gate to the Mercy Pool.
The pool had 5 porches to keep you from scorching like an egg in the hot Middle east sun.
At this mercy pool are several people that are sick and crippled, that come here for healing. This must be a pretty sad place. These people are in the heat, without a way to move themselves and are sick and some can’t take care of the most basic bodily functions. This is not a pleasant place. Yet, our Savior goes to this place and begins this short dialogue with this man. As we will see, not everyone comes to be healed.
Verses 5-6 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 6 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?"
This does not indicate that the man sought after Christ but that Jesus saw him and approached him. This is also a picture of our salvation. That we did not seek God, yet God sent His spirit to draw us to Christ. Our carnal minds were “at enmity with God” yet God chose to come to us by His Spirit when we were blind and not looking, deaf and not hearing, and dead with no spiritual life, Christ comes to us in our stench to ask a question.
Jesus asks a very penetrating question to this man. “Do you want to be made well?” What a great question.
Why would Jesus ask this question? It seems as if everyone that was at this “mercy” pool would want to be made well. Is that true? Does everyone want to get better?
Often times, people have no interest in being changed. They come and want comfort, but no change. They want a symphony of sympathizers, but they don’t want to be really made well.
These people drive me crazy! These are the whiners that are always bringing up problems and complaints but have no interest in solutions to their woes.
This issue is so prevalent in the Church. People come to hang out, people come to have sympathy, people come for comfort, but they don’t want to be made well!
Although you may not be physically infirmed, you may be spiritually. You might be spiritually sick and paralyzed because you have not submitted to the authority of Jesus as your Lord. Christ has given you a spiritual pulse, yet you still want to stay in the sick ward. Why?
There are people that I meet that are as annoying as this pathetic man. Every time I see them something is wrong. There life is always a sad story. It’s the same thing every time. My husband is this, my wife is that. My job stinks, my finances are terrible, my kids are trying my last nerve, my parents don’t understand me. I have corns of my feet, Blah, blah, blah… Nothing but whining all the time. Nothing is ever good. It’s always bad.
Here is my second question tonight. Do you want to be made well?
Honestly, ask yourself that question. Do you want to be made well? Be honest about it. If you just want sympathizers, fess up to it. If you just want company, admit it. If you are nothing more than a complainer, confess it!
Jesus asks this man a question, and how does the man answer?
Verses 7-8 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." 8 Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk."
He doesn’t!! Jesus asks if he wants to get well and he complains! Amazing. This does not shock me.
This mans attitude is no different than you and I. Christ asks if you wan to be well and you whine about it!
If a man walked up to you to ask if you wanted $100,000.00, your answer should be yes or no! It’s that simple.
Not, “well my brother once had $100.00 but that was a long time ago. I’ve always wanted $100.00 but no one wants to help me. C’mon!
Jesus asks if you want to be made well. YES OR NO! But this man begins his whining by complaining about people that don’t help him.
If this was me, I would be happy to toss him in the pool. But not for the same reason he would want to go in.
You know why this man has no friends to help him. He is a whiner. No one wants to be around this guy. Would you? I wouldn’t
Yet Christ simply says to him, “take up your mat and walk.” You’re bed has been carrying you, now you carry your bed.
Get up! Get moving. Stop whining and be healed by the word of Christ. Pick up your junk and get going. You have been in this spot too long. You’re healed, go.
Verses 9-10 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. 10 The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, "It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed."
Here is the second group of people that drive me nuts. Hypocritical religious leaders.
Instead of glorifying God for the miracle that had occurred, they are more interested in their man made traditions. Their ticked because someone healed a man that was crippled for 38 years and all they care about is their stinking barren religiosity. They chastise the man for carrying his mat.
Can you imagine this? You become completely healed after almost 4 decades and the warm reception you get from the religious leaders is that you shouldn’t carry your bed because it was a great insult to God to do so.
What? If God healed him, do you think God would care if he carried His mat? God told him to. Yet the Jews were more interested in the traditions of men, than the commands of God.
Does this happen today? Absolutely. We see someone come to a saving faith in Jesus, and the first time they set foot in the Church they’re told to cut their hair and get a suit and make sure they are following all the rules, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!
This drives me crazy! Someone just became a Son of the Living God and all we can do is press our legalism on them.
They were just set free from sin, and instead of allowing God’s Holy Word to housebreak them, we give them our Church list of do’s and don’ts. Usually to include cutting off your friendship from everyone that is unsaved.
How about when they come in, we welcome them with open arms as brothers, and kindle the fire that is in them to win their lost friends and family?
Instead we stick them in a Bible study and tell them to calm down.
Verses 11-13 He answered them, "He who made me well said to me, 'Take up your bed and walk.'" 12 Then they asked him, "Who is the Man who said to you, 'Take up your bed and walk'?" 13 But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place.
This man is confronted for carrying his mat after being healed, and instead of sticking up for God, he shifts the blame.
What is even more pathetic, is the man didn’t ask for Jesus to heal him yet when he did, he didn’t even thank Jesus or ask him his name. He just left. So he doesn’t even know the name of the man that made him well.
How sad is it that instead of wanting to find Jesus to give glory to God for healing this man, they instead want to find Jesus to persecute Him for telling this man to take his mat and leave.
This is why I can’t stand hypocritical legalists. The stench they give off is worse than this mans.
Verse 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you."
This is classic. The man just shifts blame. And instead of trying to find Christ to thank Him, Jesus looks for him and finds him in the temple.
Why was he in the temple? Possibly to authenticate the miracle. The text doesn’t say exactly why.
After Jesus finds him He tells him to stop sinning! Why would Jesus need to tell him this?
It could be that the mans sin is what originally caused his infirmity. So Christ tells him to stop sinning or something worse is going to happen.
What could be worse than being a cripple for 38 years? Perhaps death?
As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool returns to his folly.
There is a good possibility this mans physical ailment was a result of his own sin. This is why I don’t have sympathy for him. It was his own doing. Sin destroys us. It is the cause of most of our problems. Even when Christ heals us, we head right back into it.
It’s like a man being blessed with a job that says “thank you Jesus” and he takes his paycheck to blow on drugs.
God heals and blesses and we use His blessings to blaspheme Him.
This is one of the reasons people can’t stand Christians. They look at us a say “you’re a born again Christian, how come you keep doing things you say are bad”? We know the answer, but the unbelievers don’t
Romans 2:24 says For "the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you," as it is written.
Although Paul was talking to the Jews, Chapter 2 of Romans could easily be applied to us.
The reason that Christianity has lost its credibility is because of the actions of its followers. People don’t see authentic worshippers that are wholly sold out to God.
They see a bunch of whiners that are hypocritical religious bullies with legalisms as their God.
You see people can usually be categorized by one of two individuals.
In John Chapter eight, there is a story of woman who is caught in adultery. After Christ tells the hypocrites to feel free to cast a stone if they are without sin, they leave.
Then Jesus asks her were are her accusers, has no one condemned you?
John 8:11 She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."
Now people usually hear one of two things in this verse. They either hear “neither do I condemn you” or they hear “go and sin no more”.
This is the problem, Christ has forgiven, but He commands us to sin no more. People are either liberal with Christ’s forgiveness or legalists with His command not to sin.
A healthy Christian hears both. They realize that Christ has forgiven them and they are free from condemnation, but they don’t use their freedom for an occasion of sin.
Most religious leaders get twisted because they don’t understand principles and methods.
They think that their methods are principles and so they try to insert their methods as if it were the commands of God.
We should have one hand closed with the things we will die for (which are the principles) and the other hand open with the things we should allow freedom (which are methods).
The problem is, we either think everything is in our closed hand, or we think everything is in our open hand. Either of these are sin.
This is why I am constantly teaching you about tension. How important it is that there is a tension between these issues. You need to study God’s Word to understand which is a principle and which is a method.
Verse 15-16 The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.
This guy has to be the biggest loser. He is not seeking Christ, yet Christ comes to him. Christ asks him if he wants to get well, he whines. Christ heals him and tells him to take his mat, he doesn’t even thank Jesus or ask His name. He gets caught by hypocrites for carrying his mat and shifts the blame. Christ looks for and finds this man in the temple and tells him the truth about the consequences of his sin, and instead of thanking Jesus and falling on his knees he departs and narks on him to the Jews.
How incredible. We start with this story with the man being pathetic and we end this story with the man being pathetic.
Let me ask you a question. Would you have picked this man to heal if you knew all things? I know I wouldn’t. If I had a miracle that I was going to perform that day, it would not have been on this guy.
Yet this is the nature of our God. He seeks those that were not looking, He heals those that did not desire to be made well, and He instructs those that rebel against His word.
This is why you should be glad that I am not God. My gifts are not mercy and grace. I would have tossed this guy into the pool and taken care of him another way.
Yet our great God and Savior doesn’t think the way we do. If He did, would he have chosen you?
I would have never wanted to approach me. I would have never wanted to talk to me. I would have never wanted to heal me. I would have walked as far away from me as possible. You know why? Because I am that guy! And so are you!
The reason this guy bothers me as much as he does is because he is just like me. He drives me crazy because I see so much of me in him and so little of Christ in me.
There is a reason you and I are not God. There is a reason you and I do not determine who will or will not be saved. Christ does what I would never do.
This is our God. Christ has done for this man what He has done for each of His children. He sought us out to give us life while we were dead in our sins.
There are times when I know that I am preaching to brothers and sisters that are sick. There are times when I am preaching to people that are dead spiritually and have no life.
Preaching in a sick ward is much different than preaching to a graveyard.
Yet God is able to raise that which was once dead. He is able to breathe life into a stinking carcass of a man. And He is able to spiritually birth an individual that was born stillborn to the things of God.
Are you sick, or are you dead? Only God knows. The remedy is the same. It is Christ.
So why are you here?
Do you want to be made well?
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