A study in salvation

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John 5

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.

Let’s analyze this event in light of God’s power to save.  Let’s do so by putting ourselves in the sandals of the paralytic man.  His condition was bleak. He had been lame for thirty-eight years. At some point he came to the place of greatest human hope to find healing.  This place, the pools of Bethesda was said to have supernatural powers.  Once a year an angel stirred the waters and the first person in was said to be healed. People with no hope put their hope in an unrealistic expectation because it was the best they had.

How much like us was this paralytic man?  We too are spiritually lame.  We cannot heal ourselves.  We go to the wrong source for help when we go to religion or to more work or to hopes for success and a better life.  We read about others who made it past our condition and so we hope that there is something out there for us.  But as years pass by nothing changes and we don’t get any better.

The key to this man’s change of life was that Jesus showed up.  Jesus asked the man if he wanted to be healed.  A strange question but some people like their misery.  When confronted with the gospel they don’t run to Christ but seem to run away from Him or at best hold Him at arm’s length.  They want to see if any of their other options are going to work.  Do they really want to be spiritually healed?

The man then tells Jesus his plight.  Let’s be honest, all of us have had a plight.  We have all struggled with life before Jesus came.  Nothing seemed to work and every time we tried to do something different it failed.  Even if it worked for someone else, it never worked for us.  Like the paralytic man, we tried and tried but could not get the salvation we needed.

When Jesus picked this man He did not make an arbitrary choice.  Jesus knew before He came to earth that on this day He would choose this man.  Jesus picked him out and Jesus offered him words of hope and healing.  When Jesus called you and called me it was not an arbitrary call.  He specifically called us out of our sin unto Himself.  He specifically set His love upon us.  We did not deserve His attention but He gave it to us.

The man then stood up.  He did not have to but by faith he stood up.  He had nothing to do with His healing; Jesus chose Him and Jesus told him to stand up.  He obeyed and stood up.  When Jesus calls us to salvation He does all the work.  We just believe and surrender.  He calls us and we obey.  He loves us and we receive His gift.  What rejoicing that man must have had; what rejoicing we enjoy when Christ saves us from our sin and sets us on a rock and establishes our goings and puts a new song in our mouths, even praise to our God.

Thank you for your prayers yesterday.  It was a full day but a good day.  The ministry as Sunrise went well. My voice is weak but they sang with me and heard me speak from Isaiah 55.  The time with my pastor-friend went well.  It is sad when church leadership stops leading from hearts yielded to the Word and the Spirit.  Churches and pastors can suffer. 

Tonight we have our full program of Kids4Truth, youth group with Cola Clash, and our adult prayer time and Bible study.  Pray for our teens as they invite friends to the outreach; pray that they will come and that hearing the gospel they will come to Christ. 

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

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