“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.’ ” John 5:7
The apostle John tells us that it was at the time of another “feast of the Jews” that Jesus went back down to Jerusalem. Given that just a few chapters before John records thatJesus was in Jerusalem at the time of the Passover it’s logical to assume that this was the Feast of Week’s, also called Pentecost.
At this time Jesus went down to the pool of Bethesda. From time to time this pool would be unaccountably stirred, or agitated, and the people believed that an angel had come and that whoever was first to enter the water would be healed. Jesus wasn’t so much interested in the pool as he was the multitudes of people that had gathered around it seeking healing.
There was a paralytic among the crowds surrounding the pool that had been attempting for years to gain healing from the waters but his condition was such that he was always too late.
When Jesus saw him lying there and understood that he had been in his condition for a long time, verse five says he’d been crippled for thirty eight years, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”
In answer the man said, “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.”
So often our answers to Jesus’ introductory overtures of help are just like this sick man’s. Jesus won’t impose his will or desires upon us so he comes to us with the words, “Do you want…?” And our answer is to give him all the reasons why we don’t think it can happen.
The crippled man at least had the excuse that he didn’t know who Jesus was but we can’t offer this plea of ignorance. The only explanation for our self pity filled answers is a pathological absence of faith.
Friends, Jesus stands before us ready, willing, and offering to help us in our time of desperate need. We’re all helpless to effect our own solution; we need his intervention, and Jesus is prepared to help us all. It won’t be a first come first only served situation. Jesus is ready to help all who believe.
To the man lying by the pool Jesus said, “Rise, take up your bed and walk,” and immediately that man was healed and he did as he was commanded.
We want our churches to grow. We want our communities to hear the everlasting
Gospel. We want our family, friends, and loved ones to believe in Jesus and receive eternal life. We want Jesus to come again. For years we’ve been trying things our own way. Today in answer to our excuses Jesus gives us a command, “Go and preach!” He’ll do the rest.
Will we do what Jesus commands, or will we, faithlessly, keep making excuses?