- Sermon Notes
Get Up and Walk
Aug 7, 2022
We have just finished with the wonderful book of Ephesians where we have learned about who God is, the unfathomable riches He has for us, who we are in Christ, how we should walk in our Christian walk, and the authority and protection we have in Jesus Christ.
Still, many people struggle to break free from their past and walk in this new freedom Jesus has prepared for them. Many do not know what freedom looks like. Many are stuck in patterns, addictions, things that medicate the soul and do not know if they will be able to cope without it.
The Israelites coming out of Egypt is a great example of this. They did not know how to not be slaves. They did not know how not to be poor. They did not know how not to live under the oppression of someone else. As you have heard many times, they were taken out of Egypt, but Egypt had to be taken out of them.
A very simple but deep truth is this: You do not know what you do not know. This can create fear; even fear of freedom.
In John 5 we read about this wonderful encounter that Jesus has with a man that has a very real need and is in a dire situation. Jesus was visiting Jerusalem for a Jewish feast which most scholars suggest was the Passover.
At the sheep gate there was a pool called Bethesda which means “house of mercy”. This is where Jesus sees the man. This man would have an encounter with Jesus that would radically change His life.
There are many beautiful types and pictures in this text. Presumably Jesus entered Jerusalem through the sheep gate, He who would become the Lamb slain for the sins of all. Here He engages with the man who is looking for hope, mercy, and healing but has been waiting for 38 years with no success.
What follows will show us the heart of Jesus. His heart is for us to be healed and to break free from our past. We will see that He is the answer and is willing and able to heal us. Not only that, but He is calling us to trust Him and let go of the past and walk into a new future.
I. Jesus Sees You
The history surrounding the pool of Bethesda is very interesting. For a long time, people did not know where this pool was and as such thought this was a story that John put in as an example of the power of Jesus without it necessarily being grounded in facts. This made many scholars doubt that the book of John was actually accurate.
John was vindicated in the early 1900s when they excavated around Jerusalem and found the pool of Bethesda with five porticoes exactly as John has described, thus vindicating his testimony. This also brought substantive proof to the authenticity of the Bible.
There are also some interesting speculations concerning the baths of Bethesda. The Bible doesn’t give us enough information but gives us a clue as to what was happening there in verse four. Some manuscripts do not include verse four, but it might have been put in to show a common belief that they had in that time.
In those times the Hellenistic Jews, in other words those who incorporated some Greek beliefs and mythology into their religion, built some ‘healing baths’ dedicated to the Greek pagan god of healing Asclepius. The ill and disabled would come to these baths and drink of the water and bathe in it to hope for healing. They would also sleep within the temple walls.
This seems to align with what verse 4 tells us about people sleeping and waiting at the pool.
Other commentaries concerning these pools say that people might have been asked to pay to be able to lay at these pools and that there would be an elaborate scheme of valves being opened and water flowing to create a moving or stirring effect which people would run to to be healed.
They might’ve also planted people pretending to be sick and who then got into the water and were ‘healed’, thus encouraging others who were fooled by this illusion to pay more for the privilege to be near the pool.
Whatever the situation surrounding this pool, we see that Jesus shows up as the real Lamb of God with the real power of God and stepped into the story. The bible tells us that Jesus sees Him.
A. Jesus knows your condition
- Verse 5- Jesus saw the man lying there and the Bible says He knew his condition. Many people think that God does not see them and feel that they are just part of the faceless multitude. The truth is that God sees you, and not only that, He knows your condition.
- We read that this man has been ill for 38 years. Can you remember where you were 38 years ago? Many people here haven’t even been born yet 38 years ago! Imagine being in this condition for 38 years and not getting the help you need.
- This has become his life story.
- Many today are also feeling sick and broken in the soul. They have been ‘stuck’ in their situations for so long that it feels hopeless. They might’ve tried everything. All the self-help books, seven steps to this and 12 steps to that. Maybe even trying the ‘pagan cults’ of the modern age, which most of the time looks eerily a lot like the ancient cults. We see it all the more with all the New Age philosophies blooming in this modern era.
- Many may try to fill their aching souls with the things of this world. The medication of entertainment, addictions, the deceitfulness of wealth, or many other things. In the end, deep down, if they have to be brutally honest with themselves, they are still broken and hurting.
B. Do you wish to get well?
- This is the scenario that Jesus stepped into. Seeing this man in his condition, Jesus asks a very strange question. Do you wish to get well?
- To the outside observer this might be a pointless question. Of course this man would want to be well. He has been waiting for 38 years!
- But Jesus looks deeper into the soul. Jesus is touching the conflict in his soul. ‘I do, but I don’t.’
- People still have this conflict today. I do want to be free from greed, but I don’t. I do want to be free from pornography, but I don’t, I do want to be free from alcoholism, but I don’t. How will I cope? What will my life look like?
- He knows this man has given up. Not only this, but he has moved into a place of having a victim mentality. We deduce this from his answer.
- Verse 7 – he does not answer with a simple and resounding ‘Yes!’, But rather his answer shows his conflict. “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I’m coming another steps down before me.”
- We can sense in this man that all hope was gone. I imagine over the first few years he had tried everything. I can imagine him coming to the pool the first day; energized, full of hope that the answer was on the way. I imagine for the first few days or even months he might’ve even had people there trying to help him. But every time someone quicker than him got into the pool before him.
- As the days became weeks, and the weeks became months, and the months became years hope started to wane and drained away. Until he just became known as the lame man by the pool. It became his identity and his story.
- The irony is that this negative story can become the story that defines you. An illusion which leads to death of the soul.
- Many people today are in the same situation. They have struggled for so long with whatever the problem is that they have given up and learned to live with their story. It has become their identity.
- Many people have learned to live with the problem, having clever coping mechanisms to medicate the problem.
Illus. There once was a missionary with a broken car….
- You need to let Jesus fix it!
- They may have even turned to other people for help, but sometimes people cannot help you get unstuck from your situation. They cannot climb into your mind to rewire you. Some situations ask for a personal journey of soul.
- Jesus has to fix it!
- This is exactly what Jesus confronted. He was challenging this man’s heart and mind-set. He was actually asking him if he was willing to let go of the situation that had become his identity and story.
- But even in this, we once again see the wonderful love and grace of Jesus. Jesus never drilled this man with the same question over and over until he eventually said “Yes, Jesus!”
- Jesus also didn’t say, ‘You are not showing enough faith. You are not worthy to be healed.’ This is how many see Christ.
- Jesus loved him and had compassion on him.
II. Pick Up Your Pallet and Walk
- Verse 8 – Jesus said to him, ‘Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.’ It is important to see what Jesus did not do here. He did not take the man and help him into the pool.
- This is a very important point. This man was hoping for an illusion. The pool could not heal him. Only Jesus could heal him. Jesus does not change your circumstances, He changes you. He heals the problem on the inside.
- Many people have stirred up illusions and crutches in their soul and in their mind that they think would make their lives better. ‘Jesus, if I can just have a bit more money’, or ‘Jesus, if I can just have a popular boyfriend or girlfriend,’ or “ Jesus, if I can just be more popular, or connected, or thinner, or prettier, or more clever, or more knowledgeable, or….’
- The illusions that people can rely on our countless. All of these make us dependent on outside things to try and solve an inside
- Maybe sometimes this is why God doesn’t give you what you want, because He knows it is not what you need.
A. Act on God’s Word
- Jesus challenges Him at the core of His being. Will you trust Me? Will you trust My word?
- Verse 9 – the Bible says that the man immediately became well, but he still had a choice if he wanted to act on God’s word or stay stuck in a situation.
- In 38 years, he could’ve grown so accustomed to his surroundings that he could have been tempted to stay there. Where would he go? Where would he live? Maybe he was used to begging for alms and people helping to feed him. He could be wondering, ‘If this was not my story anymore, what would define me?’
- This is a very real problem people have today as well. Jesus offers healing, truth, a new future with endless possibilities. But many people are afraid to step out and stand on God’s word and His truth.
Joh 8:32, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
- Even if Jesus has healed you, brought you to life, and restored your relationship with God, you can choose to stay in the situation you are.
- Verse 9 – Then something beautiful happens. This man is not only made well, but he chooses to pick up his pallet and begin to walk. He chose to act on the word of Jesus.
- You need to pick up your pallet and walk. This signifies never going back again. You have to learn how to live the new life God has for you. You need to learn to live in the grace, forgiveness, peace, love and acceptance of God.
- Sometimes, like Abraham, we cannot yet see the beautiful things God has for us. We do not know what we do not yet know. For this we have to trust God and surrender to the journey He leads us on.
- That is God’s heart and plan for us. His heart towards us is that we would mature into this beautiful life that He has planned for us.
1 Corinthians 2:9, things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.
Jeremiah 29:11-13, For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
- It would have been a tragedy for this man to, after he had been healed, go back to the same place and situation he was in before.
- Do not fall back into the old things. Get up, pick up your pallet and walk away!
B. Your Healing is your testimony
- As soon as this man took up his pallet and started walking, he was confronted by the Jews who said that he was not allowed to carry his pallet on the Sabbath. This was not how it was done.
- Many people today have the same problem. They come to Christ and their friends and family tell them that this is not normal. ‘Are you really going to believe this Christianity thing?’ or ‘You are over spiritualizing your life. Use some common sense.’
- Even though many may argue against you, no one can deny it when Jesus has done a beautiful work in your life.
Illus. I have a friend with a wonderful testimony that I love to use as an example. He was a successful businessman who has reached high height in his career. From the outside he looked like a made man, but on the inside things were falling apart. His marriage was strained, his kids was rebellious, and he was growing all the more depressed, disillusioned by life. One day, everything had just gone too far, and he decided that he wanted to end it all. He drove up to mountainous area with his pistol set on ending his life. On that mountaintop, he had a powerful experience with Jesus. God started speaking to his heart. He broke down and cried and surrendered everything to Jesus. Immediately God flooded him with his overwhelming love, grace, peace and joy…
- Verse 11 – But he answered them, “He who made me well was the one who said to me, ‘Pick up your pallet and walk.’”
- This man who was healed by Jesus did not go into a religious debate with all the Jews around him. He did not try and convince them that he was doing the right thing.
- His encounter with Jesus became his testimony. As he was carrying his pallet, the people recognized him. That which used to be his comfort and his crutch became part of his testimony. No one could deny that a miracle happened.
- You might be ashamed of your past, things you’ve done, believed and that which used to define you. But Jesus takes the grave and turns it into a garden. Jesus takes the brokenness and makes a beautiful.
- This is our testimony. I once was lost, but now I’m found. I once was blind, but now I see.
- Jesus is calling you. Do you want to get well? The Lamb that was slain brings death to death and life for you. Death and your past no longer define you. He is calling you to a beautiful life.
- He is speaking His truth into Your life. His Word is the truth on which we can build our lives. He loves you; He is for you. He is now calling you to rise and walk.
John 5: 1-11 NASB
1 After these things there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in [a]Hebrew [b]Bethesda, having five porticoes. 3 In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, [[c]waiting for the moving of the waters; 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.] 5 A man was there who had been [d]ill for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He *said to him, “Do you wish to get well?” 7 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.” 8 Jesus *said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” 9 Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk.
Now it was the Sabbath on that day. 10 So the Jews were saying to the man who was cured, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet.” 11 But he answered them, “He who made me well was the one who said to me, ‘Pick up your pallet and walk.’”