Jesus Encounter: Sick & Crippled (John 4-5)

 

MOTIVATE            

So, we continue in John’s Gospel where Jesus pursues this redemption. So far, He has given the gospel to a religious Jew (ch.3), a Samaritan woman (ch.4) and now to a Roman official’s son (4:46-54) and a cripple (5:1-17). Essentially, John is saying the gospel is going out to everyone! You are included and invited to eternal life with Jesus by grace through faith.

John is also showing with each Encounter that humanity is in great need of Jesus.

–          We are religious in need of Divine relationship.

–          We are immoral in need of a Savior.

–          We are sick and blind in need of a Healer.

EXAMINE             Our response to Jesus from this great need is in 3 actions:             Roman Official’s Son

Pray Big (John 4:46-49).

A Roman official’s son was sick at the point of death. Jesus’ reputation as a Divine miracle worker  was spreading, of which the official heard about. He approached Jesus and asked for Him to heal his son. He was desperate for Jesus to come and out of all the things he could have requested of Jesus it was for what meant the greatest to him, his son.

This past week my children have experienced sickness (strep). As any parent of a sick child, your heart is moved with compassion and you find yourself in perpetual motion to bring about healing. You prepare appropriate foods and drinks, gather expert doctor advice at any travel distance, purchase and provide medicine, not to mention the amounts of personal time with a child in affection. The point is, when your child is sick you will go to great lengths to find a healer.

Likewise, this father. He made a big request of Jesus. And we should too. We must realize that our need before Jesus is great. We need spiritual healing – healing of our hearts. Doctors and modern medicine can fix our bodies and prolong life but there is no answer for a failed heart.

Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

Ecclesiastes 9:3b “Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.”

Psalm 51:5-6, 10 “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart…Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

Ezekiel 36:26 “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

ð       If you could ask God one thing, what would you ask? Is it as BIG as a New Heart?

  • Even Christians should pray for BIG Kingdom, God-sized requests. Quit piddling, Start praying!
  • 

Interesting in the official’s request is for Jesus to come to his son and yet Jesus never goes. During the time people were familiar with “doctors”, “miracle workers” and “prophets” whom could sometimes provide healing. Yet, Jesus does so long-distance. This shows Jesus’ power is unmatched.

 

Persevere in Faith (John 4:50).

Jesus granted the request saying, “Go your son will live.” Immediately, the official believed the word that Jesus spoke and he went on his way. This official was not a Jew, having knowledge of God’s miraculous powers in the OT Scriptures; nor do we necessarily know he had a religious upbringing to have blind faith in deities. He simply trusted Jesus and acted on Jesus’ promise that his son would live.

The point of this is that faith is a verb. It is action not stagnation. When we place our faith and trust in Jesus we persevere and live that out in every expression of life. It means every day we put one foot in front of the other and trust God is working all things together (Romans 8:28).

The Great Blondin[1]

In 1859 the Great Blondin, a man many consider to be one of the greatest tightrope walkers of all time, announced to the world that he intended to cross Niagara Falls on a rope. The rope was nearly a quarter of a mile long and suspended 160 feet above the water. On June 30, 1859, in front of thousands of spectators, the great Blondin successfully crossed the falls. To make the crossing more spectacular he effortlessly completed a back flip as he crossed the halfway point.

During the next year, Blondin crossed the falls 16 more times. Each time he set out to try even more daring feats. He crossed the rope blindfolded. Once he cooked breakfast on a stove in the middle of the rope. Blondin crossed in chains, on stilts, and once peddling a bicycle. On July 16, 1859, Blondin set out to push a wheelbarrow over the rope. Before he began, he turned to the crowd and shouted “who believes that I can cross pushing this wheelbarrow.” The crowd erupted in a massive cheer, and everyone agreed that he would be successful again that day.

When he made it to the other side, he turned the wheelbarrow around and shouted to the people on that side, “Do you believe that I can push this wheelbarrow across with someone in it,” and again the people shouted, “We believe Blondin, we believe.” So Blondin looked at the crowd and said, “Ok who is going to get in the wheelbarrow and let me push them across.” The crowd drew deafly silent. There were no volunteers to be found.

It was one thing to know that Blondin could do what they had all seen him do, and another to put their life in his hands by letting him carry them across the falls on the high wire. True faith leads to action; belief begets behavior!

ð       Is your faith persevering or perspiring?

Proclaim to Others (John 4:51-54).

As the Roman official related to others he not only believed himself, but he proclaimed faith in Jesus to his entire household; likely to include not just immediate family but upwards of dozens of individuals and of multiple generations.

One of our core values and purposes as a church is to Lead Generations. We are not satisfied with individuals coming to saving faith in Christ but encourage individuals to be catalysts within their families. Is this for selfish reasons? No and Yes. No, because it’s not solely about building numbers for our church. Yes, because numbers reflect lives being touched by God’s love and impacted for good and God.

ð       Is your faith silent or spoken? Who do you need to tell of God’s spiritual healing in your life? How can your Small Group help? Pray!

Crippled Man [These same points Pray Big (5:1-8). Persevere in Faith (5:9). Proclaim to Others (5:10-15) relate.]

APPLY/THINK

µ       Key Question in 5:6 “Do you want to get healed?”
This is the question we must all ask, in fact Jesus asks it of you today. People’s responses:

  • No, I don’t need healing. I’m just fine, I can manage on my own without God.
    • Leads to hardening of heart and isolation from everyone.
  • No, I don’t want healing from God. I will seek healing elsewhere.
    • Leads to hopelessness and self-destruction. Addiction, Sex, etc…
  • Yes, I wish for healing from God but I’m never going to really act on it (faith as noun rather than verb).
    • Leads to hellish religion and uncertain foundations (how much works are enough?)
  • Yes, I receive healing from God and I will trust and tell.
    • Leads to relationships and generational blessing from God.    
    • 

 

*God is always working “My Father is working and I am working”


[1] I’ve heard this various places but found text on web search here: http://www.cftministry.org/resources/articles/article_belief.html

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