“Do You Want to Get Well?
Sermon: ?Do You Want to Get Well?? John 5:1-15? Lake Murray Presbyterian Dr. Sloan
Last November a 43 year old man tried to rob a convenience store- but he wanted to get caught.? Roy Murphy told the judge he didn?t know how to make it out of prison.? He liked the steady cot, the steady meals, the security of it?all- and what to expect? He tried to plead guilty to second degree robbery.? But in the end, to his consternation, he was convicted of a lesser charge and sentenced to four years.
There are some people who like prison. I am not just talking about criminals.? Some people like the prisons of their sickness. Some think it is more comfortable to stay in their malaise than to make the huge effort it takes to get out of it.? In this passage Jesus asks this man a question that is good for all of us to hear, ?Do you want to get well??? The man had been sick for 38 years.? We may have assumed it was a ?stupid? question- but it is a truly wise question.? Let?s explore what this question means for us- for it is a question Jesus also asks you and me.
1) “Do you believe you are sick”- In some ways, this is what Jesus is asking. ?Without recognition of our problem we see no need to get well.? The person who does not believe they are sick will not take medicine.?? The alcoholic has to say, ?I am an alcoholic? before they can get well.? People may not believe they are really sick- or they may believe that their cure is worse than their sickness.
You have to believe you are sick enough to go to a doctor.
Some people live in denial.? This man did not live in denial that he was sick.? He may have lived in denial that he could get any real help.
I know some churches tried to help the people of the Amazon by building wells to drink.? The people really knew that drinking the untreated water out of the river made them sick.? But even after the wells were dug, many continued to drink out of the river.? When asked “Why?” they said, Because they “liked the taste.?? So now we do things like the water filtration pots that take the river water’s taste and filters the bad stuff? out.
I knew a lady who had lung cancer in one of my previous churches.? She had three operations.? I went to see her in the hospital.? I didn?t see her in the bed, so I called her name- ?Carol!? Carol!?? I heard her voice coming out of the bathroom- ?Be right there.?? But I also noticed cigarette smoke coming from underneath the door.? She opened the door and it was like a blast of smoke- and she was dragging her oxygen machine- which was highly flammable behind her.? I caught her doing this three times.? Once I went to her house and found her literally taking the oxygen out of her mouth and putting a cigarette in- puffing, exhaling, then putting the oxygen back in again.? I do not think she wanted to get well.? It is human nature to want our comfortable sin more than we want our sometimes uncomfortable cure.? God is the cure that gives life- and the question before us is, “Do we want Him more than we want our sin?”?
2) Do you believe you need help- The man knew he needed help to get well.? He knew he couldn?t get well in and of himself.? ?What he didn?t know was that He needed Jesus to help him.? It is the right kind of help that we should want.? Not the help of a witch doctor or drug pusher to ease our pain- but the one who can cure us.
I have seen the person who is learning their limits and boundaries in life.? I have seen the two year old saying they can cook all by themselves, they can dress themselves, cut up their food, carry the 50 pound toy. My granddaughter says every night, ?I can brush my teeth myself.?? But the dentist says we have to help.? But when we try to brush her teeth her lips are sealed! ?I have seen the teen who thinks they can run away from home and have a healthy life.? But I have seen even some of the best people who help others refuse to receive help.?? Everyone needs help at some time.? We are not independent, we are inter-dependent.? Our theme this year is fellowship- and one of the purposes of fellowship is to help.? Ecclesiastes says, ?Two are better than one for if they fall down they have someone to help them up.?? Jesus often provides help through each other- in the church.? The paralytic man had no one to help him- he had no church member, or relative.? Perhaps he scared them off.? But he was isolated.? Do not shrink back from help but embrace it with thanks.? The help of another could be the hand of Jesus lifting you up- or encouraging to pick up your mat and go on.?
3) “Do you want to leave your? sickness”- Some recognize they are sick, but just do not want to get well.? It is easier to get pity than to move forward.? There are lots of people who love their sin more than they love Jesus.? So many rationalize their sins.? There is always some expert around who will testify that you could not help your sin- whatever it is.? Some will say to blame your parents- they made you do it- either through their DNA or your upbringing.? But Jesus did not ask the paralytic what his excuses were.? He asked him if he really wanted to get well.?? That is the ultimate question.
4) Look to Jesus-? Jesus inspires us to get up and get going.? The man was in a state of utter helplessness.
Who do you go to for ultimate help- eternal help.? Our parents cannot help us forever.? At some point in our lives even the best of doctors cannot help us.? This man had reached a point where everyone thought he was helpless.
The atheists put a billboard up in Times Sqaure saying that we don?t need Jesus to have a Merry Christmas.? There are lots of people who will tell you?not to?look to Jesus for help.? The Pharisees got mad at Jesus for healing this man.? It was a threat to their status quo.? Jesus is a threat to your status quo.? John said it like this- the people who live in darkness have seen a great light- but people loved darkness rather than light.? Light hurts our eyes when we are used to darkness.? Jesus wants to change us for the better but we do not want to be changed.? I remember once going to the hospital to see a young boy with a huge splinter in his chest.? It was horrible to see.? The doctor said we need to get it out.? The boy said, ?Don?t touch it.?? The doctor gently numbed the area, and yanked it out and the boy cried.? But it was the only way to be healed.? Jesus wants to remove the stake of sin from us.? It hurts for him to do so.? We may actually believe it is not helpful for him to do this.? But in the end, the question for each of us is, do you want to stay sick- do you want to stay in your prison- or ??Do you want to get well? ??
John 5:1-15 1Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals.?2Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesdaa?and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades.?3Here a great number of disabled people used to lie?the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.?b?5One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.?6When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him,??Do you want to get well??7?Sir,? the invalid replied, ?I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.?8Then Jesus said to him,??Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.??9At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.The day on which this took place was a Sabbath,?10and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, ?It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.?11But he replied, ?The man who made me well said to me,??Pick up your mat and walk.???12So they asked him, ?Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?? 13The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. 14Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him,??See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.??15The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.