We are on a journey of discovery. Our goal is to understand the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
In the first leg of our journey, we are visiting the seven signs performed by Christ that are recorded in the Gospel of John. These signs reveal the Glory of Jesus.
Our first was when Jesus turned the water into wine. This sign revealed Jesus’ love and mercy toward people. It demonstrated a truth about God – that God blesses both the righteous and the unrighteous. And it also revealed His power over the physical universe.
The second sign we studied was the healing of the nobleman’s son. Again Jesus demonstrated His love and mercy for mankind. It also revealed that God the Son is not hindered by distance, nor is he hindered by a lack of faith.
Today, in this episode, we go the Pool of Bethesda where Jesus heals a paralyzed man. Open your Bible to John chapter 5. In a minute we will read verses 1-6. But before we do that I want you to look at verses 16-23.
In verses 16-23 we discover the primary reason Jesus heals this man. Of course, Jesus heals the man because he is merciful and because He loves people and because He has pity on this man. But the ultimate reason Jesus heals this man is to declare His deity.
Please read John 5:16-18
We need to understand this fact. Jesus healed the man at the Pool of Bethesda for this moment. He healed the man to force this debate. This debate gave Jesus the opportunity to declare His deity.
Now read John 5:1-6
Jesus goes to Jerusalem because of the Feast Holiday, probably Passover. He makes His way over to the Sheep Gate Pool, called Bethesda. This pool had become a place of healing. John writes that there was a great multitude of sick at the pool hoping to get healed.
The end of verse 3 and all of verse 4 tell a story of the waters and how an angel brought healing. The Scripture relays this story but does not comment on it. In other words, is this the reality or does it represent the myth of the pool? Regardless, if you look at verse 7 you will see that the man expected to be healed if he could only get there first. So the man believed this story.
Now back to verses 5 and 6. Jesus looks across the multitude and picks one man. How did Jesus choose? Here are some choices. You can pick only one.
- The man had been there the longest.
- The man was nicer than everyone else.
- Jesus loved this man more than the others.
- We do not know how Jesus chose.
The fourth answer is the correct answer. We do not know how Jesus chose.
There are two distinct forms of God’s will.
- God’s moral will – Which is recorded in full in God’s Bible.
- God’s sovereign will – Which in large part is unknown to us.
How He chose we can only guess. But we know this, Jesus was exercising His sovereign will. God has a plan and He does not often share His plan with us. We only understand His will after the fact.
From a human point of view, the choice Jesus makes might seem random or worse yet, unfair. But remember, Jesus is God. And He is Lord and God over all of the creation. As God, He will make choices that seem to go against our idea of fairness.
When I say, “God is Sovereign”, what does that mean?
Christianity.com has an answer. The answer contains 6 bullet statements. I suggest you click the link listed below and read the entire article. Here is the one bullet statement from that article.
- “God can do all things and accomplish all things. Nothing is too difficult for Him, and He orchestrates and determines everything that is going to happen in your life, in my life, in America, and throughout the world. Whatever He wants to do in the universe, He does, for nothing is impossible with Him (Jeremiah 32:17).”
God the Son looks at the hundreds, maybe thousands at the pool. All needed healing. And Jesus picks just one man.
And that man is healed. Jesus heals this man with His word. Jesus says in verse 8, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.”
Take a moment and read Psalm 33:6-9.
As you read, note how God speaks and things happen. Jesus spoke and the man was healed. You see when God speaks stuff happens. And when God speaks to men, men need to obey. In Psalm 33:9 it says, “He commanded, and it stood fast.” When God speaks we need to obey. The man in our story does just that. He picks up his bed and walks.
All miracles are unexplainable events. And this healing is just that – without explanation. If you were paralyzed for 38 years and I gave you a shot that cured the paralysis, it would take weeks and weeks of therapy before you could walk. Why? Because your unused legs would be weak and because you would’ve forgotten the basics of walking. But not this man. This man is up and walking instantly. What a miracle! What a sign that reveals the Glory of Christ!
Jesus is God
Take a minute and read John 5:9-13. As you read, notice that the healed man did not know who Jesus was. Remember this – God is not hindered by your lack of faith or your unbelief. God is all powerful, He is sovereign. God will do what God is going to do.
In verse 15 the man pointed out Jesus as the healer. This got Jesus in trouble with the Jews because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath. And now we come to the primary reason Jesus healed this man. Jesus loves the man. Jesus had pity and mercy on the man. But the primary reason Jesus healed the man was to declare His deity. Jesus healed this man to declare that He is God.
Read again John 5:15-18
In verse 17, when Jesus stated, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” He declared His deity. He does it in two ways.
1. Jesus says, like the Father, He, Jesus is Lord over the Sabbath.
God in Genesis sets the pattern. God works for six days and then rests from His work. But God does not truly stop working – ever! The sun rises and sets on the Sabbath. The planets orbit on the Sabbath. Wildlife is fed, the weather is directed, people are saved, and sadly people are condemned; all on the Sabbath. God the Father does not stop working, nor does God the Son.
2. Jesus calls the heavenly Father “My Father.” To declare God the Father as His Father, Jesus has made himself equal to God.
And of course as we read in verse 18, this declaration enraged the Jews and they sought all the more to kill Jesus.
We will stop here. Next week we will pick up with John 5:19. Verses 19 through the end of the chapter is a long important monolog. So we want to give it its own lesson.
Today, we saw Jesus make a decisive sovereign act. Jesus looked across the multitude and selected one man to heal. He healed this man to declare His deity.
Think about this. Although there seem to be times when God is asleep or disengaged, the truth is God never stops working. God is always at work. And to personalize this idea, God never stops caring for you. In your darkest moments, God is there at work. In your greatest triumphs, God is there at work. When you sense His presence, God is there and when you can’t sense His presence, God is there. God is never absent; God is never asleep; God is always there.
For the believer, God is there because He has a personal relationship with you. He is answering your prayers, He is receiving your worship, He is enjoying you. But for the unbeliever, I think God is there as well. But God is not there because He has a personal relationship with you. God is there because He wants a personal relationship with you. God is not necessarily answering your prayers, He is not receiving your worship, and I do not think that God is enjoying you because much of your life is centered around your sin.
You can change this. You can have that personal relationship with God. Turn from your sinful ways and turn to Jesus Christ. Admit that you are a sinner. Believe the Jesus died for your sin. And call on Him to save you.
Thank you for listening to Faith in the Valley. If you live in or near Carroll County Maryland, come by this Sunday and worship with us. If you already have a church home, then we want you to faithfully worship and serve there. But if you do not, then please consider making Wakefield your church family. You can find out more about Wakefield Valley Bible Church at wakefieldbible.org.
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