Let’s pick up on Part 2 of Weaknesses…
Today I’d like to take a look at the same passage that Pastor did Sunday morning. It’s the story of Christ healing the paralytic man. It is one of the healings performed by Jesus that wasn’t initiated by the recipient. Jesus initiated it. Why this guy? God only knows and is not for us to try to figure out. It was Jesus’ sovereign initiative and we don’t need a reason.
John 5:1 After these things there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
John 5:2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes.
John 5:3 In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, [waiting for the moving of the waters;
John 5:4 for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.]
Now I’m not sure about the whole angel stirring the pool of water. But what I am sure of is that those laying around the pool were sick and weak. They had legitimate needs and were seeking to have those needs met by the water in this pool. It’s interesting to me that the Bible is rich with imagery of how water symbolizes new life and that this man, unbeknownst to him, is about to receive a new life.
John 5:5 A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
John points out a detail that is important for us to catch. This isn’t something that has recently afflicted the man. He’s been this way for 38 years. Think with me for a moment. Worldwide, the average life expectancy is around 71 years of age. That figure is with the advances in modern medicine and improved living conditions. Think about the medicine and living conditions when this man was in Bethesda? I don’t know what the life expectancy was then, but I think it can be safely assumed that it wasn’t what it is today. I say all this to make one point – this guy has more than likely been this way most of his life. Circumstances, from his perspective, were hopeless and he felt trapped by his weakness.
The devil would have you stay trapped in your weakness. He is well aware of what will happen when you take them to God. God may not deliver you from a weakness (see 2 Corinthians 12), but the very act of taking it to God continuously keeps you plugged into Him. The more honest we are with God regarding our weaknesses, the more God’s power and presence shines through us as we see more clearly His grace shining through! Paul spoke about this to the Corinthians
2 Corinthians 12:9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me
Context of Paul’s words revolve around the idea of the weakness sent (the thorn in the flesh) to keep him from exalting himself. But the idea behind his words in verse 9 remains the same. God’s grace is sufficient. The present tense of the word “is” gives us a clue to God’s grace. It is constantly available for us to draw from! It isn’t just a one time event, but rather one that we are intended to continuously return to and draw from. It’s a never-ending supply of exactly what we need! Paul boasted in his weakness as it put Christ on display for the world to see.
Funny thing about becoming aware of things we need that we can’t get for ourselves – the more aware we are of them, the closer we are to realizing what we need the most – God! We depend on Him to provide that which we cannot provide for ourselves!
Tomorrow we will return back to the passage and finish with part 3.