Sermon: Healing the paralytic at Bethesda


Although a thorough exegesis of this chapter can reveal many biblical truths, I want to pay attention to just one. This chapter reveals 3 reasons as for why some people are not healed?

Some time ago I was speaking to a lady over the phone and offered to pray for her defected leg. This was her response in brief.

I. I had this problem since I was a child. It’s my parents’ fault. They didn’t do anything about my leg

II. I lived with it for 50 years. Healing can’t make any difference now because now I can live with it for the rest of my life

III. Therefore don’t bother to pray for me

This lady has two things in parallel with the paralytic at the pool of Bethesda

Text: John 5:1-15

1. Resentment

A. Jesus asked the paralytic, “Do you want to be made well?” In other words he was asking the man, “Do you want me to heal you?”

B. To which the man replied, “There’s no one to put me into water when the pool is stirred. Some one else steps in while I am still coming”

C. This man after 38 years had the opportunity to be made well. Yet, blamed others instead of jumping aboard!

D. Many years of waiting had transformed him to a person full of bitterness, frustration and disappointment. They gave birth to resentment.

2. Lack of will power

A. The man’s response indicates it’s not just his body that was paralyzed. Long years of waiting had paralyzed his will power too

B. Jesus’ question if taken for granted seems naive. Who would not want to be healed from utter helplessness?

C. The truth is Jesus challenged the man’s will to be cured and provided the will power too.

3. Sin

A. The Bible says, “later Jesus found him at the temple and said, don’t sin anymore so that something worse may not befall you.”

B. The word “found” implies that Jesus searched for this out of a concern for his spiritual state

C. The command to “stop sinning” proposes the possibility that the man’s affliction was caused by his own sin

D. Sin is not the only culprit behind sickness. However sin is an occasional channel of sickness and hinders divine healing.

4. Application

A. Deal with resentment

I. Jesus question “Do you want to be made well?” (Greek: hugies = whole) has an implication. Inner spiritual healing!

II. Modern medical research has proved that unhealthy feelings and emotions contribute to physical ailments

III. Usually these are the emotional after effects of harmful experiences

IV. Resentment, anger, bitterness, frustration, disappointment, suppressed grief blocks the flow of God’s healing.

V. Such people blame the cause instead of believing in God. The lady in the story I shared with you in the beginning blamed her long dead parents

VI. You need to forgive and let go of past hurts and stop carrying the baggage with you and allow God to heal your inner being. Physical healing will flow immediately.

B. Don’t loose hope

I. Humans are adaptable. The dark side of adaptability is we learn to live with problems if God does nothing after years of waiting

II. Such people choose to survive instead of living authentically

IV. Jesus spoke the word, but God’s healing power could not be let loose until the man assumed the responsibility of choosing life and risking the possibility of transformation!

III. Don’t let your hope to succumb to present situations. Besides faith is being sure of what we hope for, (Hebrews 11:1)

C. Don’t continue yourself in sin

I. Since healing is a mercy, and since it is an expression of the Kingdom of God, it is unreasonable for a person to wilfully hold onto sin and expect to be healed by God’s power.

II. The Bible identifies Rebellion and encouraging others to rebel against God as well as spiritual leadership as sin that cause sickness (Isaiah 1:5)

III. If you are sick and God doesn’t seem answer your prayers it could be that you are living with an un-confessed sin though sin is not always the cause

IV. Search your heart, confess and repent. Remember, repentance means turning back from your sin. Not going back to it once your health is restored.

Image Credit: Oquendo
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