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Grace Summit Community Church is a nondenominational church which focuses on authentically living out what the Bible teaches. It’s also a church with a big heart—toward its members, guests, and those in our community.
Grace Summit leadership and members desire to make a difference in our world by demonstrating through our lives that God is real, that He loves people and that He wants a relationship with each person. The mindset of “making room for more” underlies the plans and activities of Grace Summit as we strive to include and connect with more people in all we do. We’d love to have you be a part of what God is doing here at Grace Summit!
This Week's Message
Lord, help us to hear from You – give us wisdom and understanding, comfort, courage, and direction. We know You hear our prayers – In Jesus’ Name.
Today, we are going to look at two stories in the gospel – each of the people has significant issues. Their stories help us with our stories.
John 5: 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.
The overwhelming majority of this guy’s life – this condition has dominated his life. He is unable to work – unproductive – a burden, in some senses, to everyone else - limited by his physical limitations.
He waited by this pool – waiting for the opportunity, and at every opportunity, he failed. How much has this difficulty affected what he would do?
And we have our difficulties.
And Jesus asks this question – this question feels insensitive – “Do you want to get well?” – this is a great question. After 38 years, have you simply accepted your condition? Have you given up in your heart that things can be different for you? I think God is asking us the same question – in whatever you are dealing with – do you want to get well? Or have you just accepted the condition you find yourself in? Do you believe that change is actually possible? Do you believe it anymore that change can happen?
Do you really want to get in control of your eating, your anger, your lust? Of course I do, everyone would say.
From The Renovation of the Church: Our issues and conditions have a way of leaking into our identity and becoming a part of who we are. We forge a bond with our dark side. We hate/love our sins. We want freedom from our struggles, but we want to hold on to them. We don’t want to live another day with them, but we can’t imagine living without them. Fits of anger provide us with a few moments of freedom where we can finally be unedited without concern for what others think. When we blow up in anger we usually get what we want. Lust offers sexual satisfaction without intimacy/Worry/Lying … 38 years of living in one condition will be difficult to undo.”
Are we willing to do the hard work to give ourselves to do what is necessary to change?
John 5: 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.
This man, on his own, is unable to change. That is the reality for us. He lacked some basic skills in his life that were required to get ahead. How often do we find ourselves in that situation? We want to get ahead, but we each have some deficit that prevents us from doing so.
The man acknowledges his weakness and failure. And there was nothing he could do to be changed until he meets Jesus. Then when Jesus gets involved in his life, it is at that point that he is changed. Nothing will change in our lives until we engage with Jesus as the solution to our problem. The problem does not lie with someone else or the pool of water. There is nothing that has gone on so long in your life that it can’t change. There is nothing that you have struggled with so long that you can’t be transformed. That is the good news.
It was all of this man’s life – in those days, they didn’t live that long.
Before we go on, I’m going to give you a theological commercial break.
Water plays a symbolic and significant role in John’s gospel – it is a source of power, healing, cleansing, and spiritual transformation. IN the first 5 chapters here, we have 3 major stories that deal specifically with water – make that 4 – the baptism.
There was the miracle of transforming water into wine. It is not just any water – but there were these big vats of water that were used for purification. It was part of the Jewish ceremonies – they would wash their hands and feet and it made them cleansed before God. Jesus took the purification water and changed it into wine. This is foreshadowing of the last supper – no longer do you need this ceremony of washing – my blood will now cleanse you.
Then in John 4, there was the woman at the well – this people were connected to God, in relationship with God, through this well because Jacob their ancestor dug it. You drink that again, and you will get thirsty – drink from Me and you will never thirst again.
Now the family of God, through Me, is available to everybody. It doesn’t matter where you are from.
In this situation – He takes this pool – with its power to heal, and He says, you don’t need that any more – all you need is Me.
We think that our things will do it for us – because they don’t work. He is what works.
There is a prerequisite question to “do you want to get well?” and that is, “do you know you are sick?”
We have issues and we don’t know it. We might be unable to acknowledge our problems!
1 John 1:8-10 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
Dallas Willard: “One of the greatest obstacles to effective spiritual formation in Christ today is simple failure to understand and acknowledge the reality of the human situation as it affects Christians and non-Christians alike. We must start from where we really are.” We must start from where we really are. I like that.
– I NEED to get well. THIS is wrong with me. We need to be specific about it – to look at our lives and specifically acknowledge before God the areas that need to change. Then to confess to God – and to find another person - someone you trust – we are afraid to share what is really going on – like we will be judged.
SO it starts by admitting you have a problem. I hope we can all recognize that about ourselves – but where we are – you have problems before God – and any kind of change starts with – here it is – and it is important to be specific about what the problem is. Then tell somebody. Tell your spouse – tell a close friend – this is my problem – and this is where it begins. There are times we are afraid to do that because we are afraid of what someone might think – you know the reality – when someone shares honestly about their lives, it makes you appreciate that person even more – you feel like you can talk to that person. That person is like me!
Proverbs 28:13 He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
Confess and forsake.
If someone shares their struggle, it would be heartless to judge them.
Second story – this is two stories in one – we have a contrast between two women – one is a girl, the other a woman.
Mark 5: 22 One of the synagogue [g]officials named Jairus *came up, and on seeing Him, *fell at His feet 23 and *implored Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her, so that she will [h]get well and live.” 24 And He went off with him; and a large crowd was following Him and pressing in on Him.
Jesus, come and touch her.
Here is a synagogue official – an important man – considered close to God as a synagogue official – and you would think if anyone has a connection with God in this community, it is Jairus. So his daughter is a really important person and she has the connections. This is the way we think 0- if anyone deserves to be healed, it is her.
Mark 5: 25 A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, 26 and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse— 27 after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. 28 For she [j]thought, “If I just touch His garments, I will [k]get well.” 29 Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. 30 Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My garments?” 31 And His disciples said to Him, “You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” 32 And He looked around to see the woman who had done this. 33 But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has [l]made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.”
12 years is a long time to be sick. Instead of getting better, she grew worse. 12 years this woman was going to doctors – reading the websites, trying all the natural cures and the unnatural ones! And all of them failed. This condition had dominated her life. She was broke! She had lost everything trying to get better. More important than that, she was unclean in the Jewish tradition and in their community.
If there was any kind of blood coming from your body, you were basically quarantined!
Let me read from Leviticus
Lev. 15: 19 ‘When a woman has a discharge, if her discharge in her body is blood, she shall continue in her menstrual impurity for seven days; and whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening. 20 Everything also on which she lies during her menstrual impurity shall be unclean, and everything on which she sits shall be unclean.
She is unclean – all the days of discharge she is unclean. Anything she sits on has to be washed. Anyone who touches her is unclean – basically being held in quarantine from relationships.
Leviticus 15: 25 ‘Now if a woman has a discharge of her blood many days, not at the period of her menstrual impurity, or if she has a discharge beyond [f]that period, all the days of her impure discharge she shall continue as though [g]in her menstrual impurity; she is unclean. 26 Any bed on which she lies all the days of her discharge shall be to her like [h]her bed at menstruation; and every thing on which she sits shall be unclean, like her uncleanness at that time. 27 Likewise, whoever touches them shall be unclean and shall wash his clothes and bathe in water and be unclean until evening. 28 When she becomes clean from her discharge, she shall count off for herself seven days; and afterward she will be clean.
Pliny the Elder describes how this was thought of in that day: “Contact with the monthly flux of women turns new wine sour, makes crops wither, kills grafts, dries seeds in gardens, causes the fruit of trees to fall off, dims the bright surface of mirrors, dulls the edge of steel and the gleam of ivory, kills bees, rusts iron and bronze, and causes a horrible smell to fill the air. Dogs who taste the blood become mad, and their bite becomes poisonous as in rabies. The Dead Sea, thick with salt, cannot be drawn asunder except by a thread soaked in the poisonous fluid of the menstruous blood. A thread from an infected dress is sufficient. Linen, touched by the woman while boiling and washing it in water, turns black. So magical is the power of women during their monthly periods that they say that hailstorms and whirlwinds are driven away if menstrual fluid is exposed to the flashes of lightning.”
It sounds weird to us – but this is how people viewed this woman – an outcast of outcasts.
Mark 5: 27 after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. 28 For she [j]thought, “If I just touch His garments, I will [k]get well.”
Touch – Jairus – if Jesus just touched his daughter, she would be well.
This woman is unclean – and anything she touches would be unclean –
She understood – like the man – if she could just get to Jesus –
Everything else had failed. If everything has failed for you – you need Jesus.
The transformation began in her mind – she kept telling herself, if only I touch his clothes, I will be healed.
It starts in your mind – whatever the truth of God’s word that applies to your difficulty – tell yourself that truth over and over again. We are always hearing the lie, that God doesn’t love me. We need to tell ourselves the truth.
The woman connects truth with faith – and she sees Jesus, convinces herself, and believes – if I touch Him, I will be healed. Believing that truth results in the appropriate action to be changed.
For us to be transformed, we have to get to Jesus and tell ourselves the truth about Him, and that will lead to taking the appropriate action that leads to transformation.
Transformation is risky – to change something that you have not been able to change on your own.
The woman – with fear and trembling – it was almost criminal what she did – touching Him – in their culture – and she broke down and told him the truth.
Sometimes it takes that stepping out, that honesty, that brokenness – to step out and for God to work. Often, we don’t step out to that point – being as serious as God wants us to.
Get serious – share with a trusted individual - and the power is found in Jesus.
Mark 5: . 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has [l]made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.”
Daughter – there are now two daughters – the daughter of Jairus – honored by the community, and this outcast, and Jesus brings her into the same level with the daughter of Jairus. He raises her up.
This word healed here means – to be whole, to be restored – He is doing more than just healing the issue – He is going beyond that – He is restoring her identity/restoring her to the community/restoring her relationships.
The issue is not to just stop being angry – God is not transforming you just so you are no longer anxious – but He is transforming us so that we can be the kind of people who are so engaged with the work He is doing, that we are the kind of people who naturally no longer have struggles with lust – no longer get angry – it is an entire transformation that God is after. Trying to stop ‘the one bad thing’ never works – you can focus all your energy on stopping that and it will never stop until we give it all to Him.
In everything, we need to become the person Jesus wants us to become – so we can be restored wholly.