If you’ll notice in verse 3 we see that there are around this pool a “multitude of invalids, blind, lame, and paralyzed” people. Some of your Bibles may not have the last part of verse 3 on into verse 4 that explains what was happening here, so let me read the background text I have in my Bible in verses 3 and 4. “Within these lay a multitude of the sick-blind, lame, and paralyzed-waiting for the moving of the water because an angel would go down into the pool from time to time and stir up the water. Then the first one who got in after the water was stirred up recovered from whatever ailment he had.” So basically what was going on here, is you had a multitude of folks who had various diseases and afflictions and they were there just waiting for this angel to stir up the water so that they might be healed.
When reading this, I can’t help but be reminded of our world today. Today, just as in Biblical times, when people are sick, they are desperate for healing. Let’s just think about ourselves, how bad do we feel if we have a cold, or are sick? We feel absolutely miserable. I know myself I’ve been so sick that I would have done almost anything if it meant I would feel better or my sickness was taken away. These people here had some horrible things wrong, things that most of us can’t imagine. They were really desperate.
There are folks like that today. There are folks who are stricken with horrible diseases such as cancer and AIDS. We have people in the world today that have had accidents, and are paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. How many thousands of dollars do you think these folks pay in medical treatment, and physical therapy in the hopes of someday getting better? So there are people in our world who can understand how these people felt.
Let’s try and put ourselves in these folks position. What if we went to the Doctor and he told us that we had terminal cancer and had six months to live. How desperate would we be to find the best Doctors and how far would we be willing to travel to get the best treatment. How about if we were in a car accident, and were told that we would never walk again? What would we be willing to do to get better? I know myself and I would be willing to do almost anything.
Well, let’s take a look down at verse 14 and see what Jesus tells this man that He healed. “See, you are well. Do not sin any more, so that something worse doesn’t happen to you.” When reading this we might say, “Ok, what is Jesus saying? That sickness is a result of our sin?” Well sometimes it might be, but that isn’t what I think we really need to take from this. What I get, when I read this is that there is a sickness that is much worse, and has worse consequences than any physical ailment we might have. What does Jesus say that is? It is sin.
No matter what physical sickness or disease you might have the very worse thing that can happen to you is a physical death. And while some might think this is horrible, and the worse thing that can happen, those of us who are children of God know that it isn’t. The worse thing that can happen to anyone is a spiritual death, and that is what the disease of sin brings about. I know myself I would rather die physically and have an eternity with my Savior, than to be of perfect health here on earth, only to have an eternity separated from the love of God. But if anyone is afflicted with this disease of sin that is exactly what will happen to you. As Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death.” It isn’t talking about a physical death but a spiritual.
The good news is that there is a cure for this disease we call sin. It is Jesus. He is the only one that has the cure. What amazes me is that more people don’t seek Him for the cure for their disease.
Just think about something not even as serious. How about plastic surgery? What lengths will some people go just to keep from looking old? How many thousands of dollars do people spend on plastic surgery, and tummy tucks in order to keep their young attractive physical appearances? The sad thing is that no matter what happens. No matter what price they pay they are still going to die, at least physically. That is something that all of our modern medicine and “miracle” cures haven’t found an answer for. So while these things might make you feel better about yourself, is it really worth it? Well it might be to some. I don’t know, maybe I could use a tummy tuck myself, but I don’t have the money that would cost!
But the main point I want to make here is why are people so willing to go to such lengths to make themselves feel better about themselves, and so desperate to cure whatever physical ailments they might have, yet so unwilling to seek a cure for their spiritual sickness?
I don’t know, maybe they don’t know they are sick. Maybe the church hasn’t done a good enough job of letting folks know that they need healing. Although I think deep down people know they are in need of a savior. Maybe they know they need Jesus, but they are enjoying their lives too much, maybe they actually enjoy their life of sin. As John 3:19 says, “The light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil”.
This is a sick and dying world. That is plain to see by looking around. Just turn the television on sometime. It’s a pretty bad place. People are eat up with this disease we call sin. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there is a cure. The cure is faith in Jesus Christ. And better yet, it’s free. Like I said earlier though, perhaps there are people who don’t even know they are sick. Well, maybe those of us who once were sick need to let them know.
That takes me to my next point. Jesus asks this man if he wants to be healed, but what does the man tell him. Look at verse 7. “Sir,” the sick man answered,” I don’t have a man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I’m coming, someone goes down ahead of me.”
So obviously there are people being healed at this pool. My question is, if there are people getting healed. Why doesn’t someone who has experienced the healing power of this pool help this poor man down into the pool? But isn’t that like most Christians and people who profess to be Christians today? How many Christians today truly share their faith with others? How many people who have experienced the healing powers of Jesus truly help others experience the same thing? I don’t think many of us, if we are truly honest with ourselves share our faith, and minister to others as we should. Why not? Did Jesus not command us to do this? Look at Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” This wasn’t a suggestion. This was a command. Jesus told us that we must go out and teach others about Him. It is our duty, those of us who have been saved, to share our faith and to make disciples. Not only is it our duty, but honestly shouldn’t it be our joy? If you have been saved, and “cured” of sin, why would you not want to share that?
I think we have a false view of salvation being a one time experience. Just something you check off your list, and then you are done. Once we are healed of our own sickness, we just kind of skip off to do our own thing. We seem to forget where we once were, and how much we truly needed that healing. But that shouldn’t be the case. We need to share it with others. No we must share it with others, as Jesus commands us here in Matthew.
That takes us to our next point. Now I’m guessing that this man was a Jew. So I would assume that He had some knowledge of the Jewish Law. So he ought to have known that it would be illegal according to the Law for him to be carrying his bedroll. So why would this man deliberately disobey the Jewish Law? Well let’s take a look. Verse 10, “so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “This is the Sabbath! It’s illegal for you to pick up your bedroll.” He replied,” The man who made me well told me, ‘Pick up your bedroll and walk.’”
Why did this man decide to do this? It was because Jesus had told him to. Now at this point he had no idea who had healed him. Yet he did know that he had healed whatever was wrong with him. This is a wonderful example for us. If this man was willing to obey Jesus just because he had healed him of whatever ailment he had, even not knowing fully who He was, how much more should we who knows exactly who He is obey Him. All this man knew about Jesus is that He had healed him of his ailment. But we know Jesus as the Savior of the world. The one who has saved us personally from our own sins. The one who took our sins upon himself on a cross, and died the death that we all deserve. How much more ought we to be indebted to Him, and obey Him.
You know there are going to be times when obeying Jesus might not be popular, and might be politically incorrect. There might be times where we might have to go against the grain. There are many things in our society that are socially acceptable, yet are in direct violation of God’s law. Sexual promiscuity has now become the norm. It is okay to have half naked underwear models on television and on billboards. Abortion is viewed as no big deal, and is used by some as just another form of birth control. Heck, parents don’t even really have the right to discipline their children any more. These are all things that our society says are ok, they are the norm. Yet, we aren’t even allowed to display the Ten Commandments in the courtroom. What’s going on in our world?
I believe one of the big problems is that Christians have forgotten that it’s okay to take a stand for God. Either we’ve forgotten, or we’re just too scared. I think sometimes we think that it is unchristian to fight for what we believe. But maybe we need to take a look at Jesus. What did He do to the money changers in the temple? He fashioned a whip with His bare hands and cleaned house. These people were openly disobeying God’s Word and Jesus let them know. Jesus got things done. We need to learn from Him. Sometimes it’s okay to take a stand. Sometimes it is necessary. We all ought to know what God wants from us. After all we do have a guide book, it’s called the Bible. And I believe it is okay to tell someone when they are doing something opposed to God’s law. As a Christian, as a representative of Christ that’s what you ought to be doing. Not in a judgmental way, after all none of us are perfect. We have to remember where we once were, and even how we still mess up from time to time. There are times every day where I mess up. But perhaps people need a reminder. Perhaps they don’t even know what they are doing is wrong. Simply tell them from God’s perspective. They might listen to you, they might not. It might make you very unpopular. But remember what Jesus said, “So everyone who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before My Father who is in heaven.(Matthew 10:32-33) Those are pretty strong words, but I think words that we all need to think about.
My last point is this. Look at verses 16-17. Therefore, the Jews began persecuting Jesus because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus responded to them, “My Father is still working, and I also am working.”
God is still very active today. I think sometimes we get this mental picture of God as being this old man sitting on a throne up in heaven, just watching us to see what we are doing. Not really being active in our every day lives. We picture Jesus as this man who walked the earth 2,000 years ago, who did a lot of cool stuff but He doesn’t really do much today. Well that not at all what is going on.
God has been active since the dawn of creation, and He is still active today. If you ask any born again believer they will tell you that God is very active in their life. I know He is active in mine. Sometimes it seems like God isn’t near, and that the world is going to hell in a hand basket. But that isn’t because of God. It’s because of sinful man. It’s because man has turned away from God and has stopped living His life in obedience to Him. (For more on this read Romans Chapter 1)
God doesn’t take days off. He is always there waiting to hear from you. He is still actively seeking worshippers and He desires that you will seek Him. He wants you to come to Him with all of your burdens and problems. But first and foremost, we must allow Jesus to heal us of the worse disease of all. I’m talking about the biggest problem that has faced this planet since creation, sin. Jesus wants to help us with this. He wants to heal us. And the great thing about it is. It’s free!