The majority of people who live today show no signs of obedience, trust, faith, appreciation, nor thankfulness to God
By Donald Whitchard
John 5:1-17,Matthew 4:24,Matthew 8:16,James 5:15,Genesis 20:18
Summary: The miracle of the healing of the lame man in John 5:1-17 was a demonstration not only of the power of the Lord Jesus but was also an example of the grace of God that too many people take for granted.
The Scriptures contain numerous accounts of the healing power of God. He has the power, grace, and mercy that is His Holy character. He has the authority to grant the restoration of health to anyone He sovereignly chooses. Scripture tells of health being restored to people through intercession (Numbers 12:10-15), repentance (1 Kings 13:1-6), prayer (Numbers 21:8-9; James 5:14-15) and faith in God (Numbers 21:8-9; Psalm 107:20; John 4:56-53). The New Testament describes the healings performed by the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:24, 8:16), the apostles (Matthew 10:1-8; 1 Corinthians 12:9) and the promise of permanent healing of all diseases in the new heaven and the new earth (Revelation 22:2). There is no doubt that the LORD is able to give the blessing of healing to His people today, but those who have gone about the country and around the world claiming to have the “gift of healing” have cheapened this blessing by offering it for “a seed faith gift” or that the sick individual has to come to one of their scheduled “meetings” and “get in line”, or some other such nonsense that only brings shame and contempt to the Holy character of Almighty God. I do not want to waste words on these charlatans as the LORD will deal with them in a way that should make them cower in terror at the fate which awaits many of them (Matthew 7:21-23).
I want to focus on an individual who was the recipient of a healing from the Lord Jesus who did not react in many of the ways others had when He graciously took away their sicknesses and infirmities. There have been numerous sermons and expositions given by preachers and scholars concerning the events John writes of in his Gospel, and the healing of the man at the pool of Bethsaida is one of them. I do not want to rehash what better men have written as far as examining what Jesus did here in the opening verse of Chapter 5, but instead to look at the thinking and attitude of the man himself as to what made him act the way he did. I have to admit that this man is a puzzlement to me.
This man had been crippled longer than the Lord Jesus had been alive while on earth (John 5:5). He was one of several who suffered from blindness, withered limbs, crippled limbs, and other tragic circumstances. Besides the physical suffering, this man, no doubt, was also suffering emotionally as he watched the people go by, seemingly indifferent or unsympathetic to his condition. He probably wondered why no one took pity on him and help him into the waters which were stirred by the angel of the LORD (5:4). He wondered why he was in the condition in which he found himself and it saddened him. Any kind of sickness or immobility can bring about not just physical pain or discomfort, but it wrecks the soul as well, and he was at the tipping point of his misery. It was just another day to him when Jesus showed up and asks him a question that should have been a “yes” or “no” answer. His response shows desperation and also hope that Jesus would pick him up and place him in the waters that were so near to him. He was so used to waiting for them to be stirred that it was seen as the only means of receiving a healing. Then Jesus gave him a command that he did not expect.
He was told by Jesus to get up, roll up his pallet and walk. So simple, yet so profound. That’s the way it is with the Lord Jesus. His commands and authority are not complicated. His explanations and teachings are not long theological discourses. He doesn’t give anyone a long explanation as to why they should follow Him. His love and mercy are shown plainly and without any detailed demands on what and what not to do. Read the Scriptures and you will see that He is not like the other religious teachers of history, who demand that you take upon yourself some kind of works or task in order to placate or please Him. He told the disciples simply, “Follow Me.” He told the sick, “Be healed.” He cast out the demons with a single word (Mark 5:1-20). Peter, when sinking in the Sea of Galilee after briefly walking on the water towards Jesus, uttered no long prayer or reasons as to why Jesus should do something. He cried out, Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:28-33). That’s a cry for salvation as plain as anyone can make, and Jesus is always gracious enough to honor that request, no matter the depth of sin in which one might find themselves.
The man heard and obeyed the simple command of Jesus, and here is where I have problems with the man’s apparent lack of gratefulness and thanksgiving from being freed from a lifetime of sickness. This healing was cause for him to give glory to God, and to openly praise and give testimony to what had been done for him that had started out as another day of pain and misery. I see none of this, but later Jesus gives him a warning to not sin lest something else befall him. Why? I really cannot be certain of it, but I have reason to believe that He knew what this man represented and warned of how both he and generations to come would react to the work of Jesus to change lives and destinies. Even though He has shown love, mercy, and grace to us by His sacrifice for our sins upon the cross in order that we have peace with God and eternal life (John 3:16, 14:6), the majority of people who have lived and live today show no signs of obedience, trust, faith, appreciation, nor thankfulness for the common grace He bestows to the just and the unjust. While He gives us time to repent and has been far more patient than I would expect with us (2 Peter 3:9), He has also warned that His offer of spiritual healing and salvation will come to an end (2 Thessalonians 2:1-11). Something far worse will happen to those who reject Him, and it does not end well for them in terms of eternity (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:11-15).
Instead of giving what should have been thanks to Jesus, the man instead tells the Pharisees about what had happened, and on a Sabbath no less (5:15-16). The Pharisees got upset over Jesus’ apparent violation of their interpretations and rituals over what could and could not be done on the Sabbath, and apparently the healing grace of Almighty God was not one of them. This is so sad, yet so predictable of Jesus to upset our theological apple carts and demonstrate righteousness instead of religion. These hypocritical legalists (Matthew 23) will hound the Lord Jesus for the remainder of His time among the people. The hard fact is that not everyone is appreciative for what Jesus offers, and it will grow worse as the days approach for His return. What position do you find yourself right now? Are you ready to ask Him to save you and receive the ultimate healing? Or will you simply roll up your mat, walk away, and face a warning from Him? Please don’t make that mistake. Come to Christ today.
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Donald was born and reared in the authentic Cajun country of south Louisiana. He is a 1978 graduate of LaGrange High School in Lake Charles. He is also a graduate of Louisiana College (B.A. in History Education, 1984), New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div., 1994) and Andersonville Theological Seminary (Doctor of Ministry, 2000). He is an ACPE Certified Chaplain with training in Trauma/ER, NICU, and Psychiatric Pastoral Care from the McFarland Institute in New Orleans (2003). He has over thirty years of ministry service, which concluded when he was called to serve as pastor of Meadowbrook Baptist Church in Muskogee, Oklahoma from 2017-2018. Due to health concerns, he retired from public ministry in 2020 and now devotes his time to internet evangelism through the writing of Bible studies, sermons, and articles on current issues for varied Christian webpages and ministries. He is a regular contributor to sites such as Rapture Ready and Sermon Central as well as Inspirational Christian Blogs. He and his wife Cathy are both active members of Eastern Heights Baptist Church in Muskogee. Don will often serve as a panel member of the Gospel Rescue Mission Pastor’s Round Table Broadcast, shown monthly on the mission’s Facebook page as his health allows. He has a personal evangelistic blog as well and can be contacted at his Email address.