Today we are diving into part two in a series on a story in John 5
Jesus is in Jerusalem and ends up by a pool near the sheep gate. It was believed that when the waters were stirred (perhaps a spring occasionally bubbled up there) that the first person in the water would be healed. Because of this there were many lame, blind, and otherwise ill people laying there. One such man was paralyzed and had been in that condition for 38 years.
Jesus approaches the man and asks him, “Do you want to get well?” Last time we looked at some probable reason why Jesus asks this question. Today I want to look at this man’s response, and ours, to that question.
The man says this, “Sir, I have no one to put me in the pool when it is stirred up. I start to go there but because of my condition someone gets there before me.”
Here is what is interesting about this answer. This man has a plan to get well. He is counting on this plan. He might need a little help to get there but he doesn’t need a new or different plan. His plan is the only one that can work. He’s had 38 years to think about this obviously. It’s not his first rodeo and I’m sure it’s not his first plan.
Now in reading this it’s obvious to us that a better plan has come along. Jesus is far better than the pool. He has a better track record of healing. He doesn’t even need the pool. In a sense Jesus is the pool. But this man doesn’t see that. He doesn’t see Jesus for who He is. At best perhaps he sees Him as someone who would stick around and help him into the pool if it is stirred. He seems to see Jesus as someone who could help him with his plan.
This is not however the offer from Jesus.
Many of us have a plan to get well. We have a plan to succeed. We have an idea of what will make us well. What will make us whole. What will make us happy or satisfied. What will heal our wounds or help us change our behavior. We have our pool that we are counting on. We have our if’s.
If I can just get this next job. If I can just find a spouse. If I can just start a family. If I can just make this amount of money. If I can just get this person’s approval. If can just get better at this or that skill. If I can just stop doing this or start doing that. If I can just . . .
That thing that we are counting on, that’s our pool.
Jesus shows up and asks if we want to get well and we tell him yes. If he could help us get this or that or do this or that, or achieve this or that, then everything would be ok. This is how we pray. “God help me do this, get this, become this, achieve this . . . ” Jesus help our plan work.
But that’s not the offer of Jesus. Jesus is not a means to our ends. He’s not our helper. He’s not interested in helping us get in our pool.
Jesus says things like, “I am The Way. No one gets there except through me” “I am the bread of life, only those who eat of me can have life.” He says that He has come that we can have life to the full. But He Himself is life to the full. He is the pool. He is the end, not the means.
The question is do we want that? Do we want Him? Are we willing to abandon our plan for His? Are we willing to submit our desires and plans to Him?
Picture this. You’re on the road of life. Your car is your life. But your car has some issues and frankly your map is a bit shaky. You sort of know this, but you just keep driving. All of a sudden there is someone in the middle of the road. It’s Jesus. You pull over for an encounter with Him.
Now Jesus offers you a much better map. He informs you that He actually created the roads, every destination and in fact even manufactured your vehicle. Here’s what we typically do. We think, “Fantastic! Jesus jump in. I’d love to have some help here. Maybe some advice or some direction.” We want Jesus in the passenger seat. He can navigate, maybe even pick the music. We’re willing to offer Him the position of co-pilot (enter really bad bumper sticker here).
But Jesus is not offering to ride along with us. He wants the keys and the driver’s seat. Are we willing to turn it over to Him? That’s the question.
Next time we’ll look at what happens next in the story but today I want to ask you again, Do you want to get well? Are you willing to give up hope in the pool for hope in Jesus? Are you willing to let Him drive?