BIBLE READING    John 5: 1-11

 

SERMON

Let’s go for a walk through Jerusalem.

Nestled now at the porch of the temple we find a man who has his mat on his back and a purpose in his heart. He is sitting there waiting for the temple to open so that he can go in and pray. Onlookers stare at him because they barely recognise him as being familiar, because he has been at the same place for so long that time has brought about some changes in him and time has changed the scenery. Things do not look the same. It’s been a very long time since he saw the outside world, for he had been sitting in the one place for thirty eight long years.

We greet him as we approach, “Good afternoon Sir” we say. “Good day” he replies. 
“We are here to ask you some questions on the miracles that you received in John chapter five, verses one to eleven. You are the one - the only person who can give a detailed report of what happened.” He says, “Why do you think I received more than one miracle?” We respond, “’Because although you were considered crippled in the text, there is also some things that are not mentioned in the text.” 

“For instance, you may have been crippled in your body – but that you had not moved for such a long time – suggests your perspective was crippled – you could not see past your predicament – you lacked real motivation – unable to visualise a better future.”

“Also its seem your personality was crippled - the psychological burden you endured damaged you sense of self- worth so that you felt worthless as a person. Your time waiting for the water to move – wore you out and burned your hopes up in the furnace of anxiety. "

“You sat there a long time waiting on someone else to help you. You were there looking for some traditional means to heal your hurts - year after empty year nothing happened. Deep down inside this damaged you more than your withered legs”

“So what happened to you and with you when Jesus talked with you? For there is no record of him touching you or you touching him. There is no record of a holy cloth or holy water he may have sprinkled on you, so what happened?”

The man stood up and stretched – his brow furrowed as he thought about what he might say. “My friend, I see that you have a creative imagination and you see things from a different perspective. I am impressed by your ideas and your thoughts about my disability, but allow me to suggest a few things that gives me a reason to rejoice.”

“In John 5, you missed a few things. Near the sheep gate, there is a mass of human flesh lying around the Bethesda pool. Bodies are laid there despairing and hopeless. The smell of human faeces and urine fill the air. The scene is unpleasant to describe and horrible to remember. No one ever comes there to help. Any new people we see are those who are in the same desperate situation that we find ourselves in. 

We all have one thing in common, in that we all have some broken places in our lives. So let me offer you some of my observations based on what happened to me”

Observation One: “Jesus will meet you at the lowest point in your life. He is so concerned for you that he will reach to where you are and enter into in your pain. Jesus cares for you. Jesus understands that life will cause you to be crippled and no matter where you are in this life, he comes to point you past your pains and brokenness. Being broken, ill, crippled is painful and perplexing - it is lonely and loathsome – it is chaotic and constraining. Jesus comes into your broken places and gives you hope.”

Observation Two: “Jesus wants to be at the centre of your life. He's concerned about where you are going and wants to bring order into the chaos of your life. Jesus knows that God has a purpose for your life. Where Jesus leads, God blesses and the child of God is enlarged. Jesus said in this same Gospel that he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the way in life and way through life as well and no-one comes to the Father except through him.”

Observation Three: “Jesus to be the loving centre of your life. He desires that you do all things with his love in mind. Your family, your friends, and your foes are to be loved with kind of love that does not hesitate to go where those who are broken hide away. His love is deeper than any ocean, wider than any sea, swifter than any river, calmer than any lake, more brisk than any stream, yet gentler than a drop of rain. Jesus’ love is eternal and it will last throughout the ages.”

“Because of this, I gladly, got up and rolled up my bed, and walked into a wonderful future. Because I had for the first time been loved by someone who did not look at me as a hopeless case, but rather he looked at me with love in his heart, compassion in his eyes, concern on his face and hope in his voice.”

“He talked with me and I felt something in my heart that was a blessing to my messy situation. Excuse me now, the temple gates are open and I want to worship God”....he then walked into the temple to worship, and praise the God of Hope purpose and love.

 

Acknowledgement Rev P L Smith