38 Years of Impotence
The back of the temple swarmed with invalids:
John 5:3 In these lay a multitude of invalids — blind, lame, and paralyzed.
There were so many there under that five-roofed colonnade.
But what were they doing there? Why were they all waiting?
John 5:7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.”
They were waiting for an angel to stir the waters so they could be healed — so that they could be made whole.
What an irony.
They were right there, at the temple of the Living God — the place where God’s grace and goodness was supposed to flow out into the world changing misery to blessing. And yet all we have here is a picture of hopelessness.
What do you expect? The Pharisees, like Nicodemus, had turned religion into something where you had to perform based on your own skills and achievements, warping God’s generosity into a lifestyle of competition and self-achievement.
What hope did these impotents have in such an economy?
No wonder they had switched from waiting for the Messiah — longing for His wholeness — to hoping in myth, superstition and downright angelic worship. Their hope was no longer in God.
No wonder Jesus said to the man: “Do you want to be healed?”
Who knew if they’d still trust Him, the one who had come to bring light and life? The very Word of God the Father. The Son of God in whom was grace upon grace!
Jesus in a word restored the man to wholeness and he went away whole! Just one word and all his infirmity had been taken away.
But of course there was a new problem now — this man did not know it was Jesus who healed him! Would he really trust Jesus? Or once he had received his own ‘signs and wonders’ would he now go back to the life he used to live – a life of unbelief? Would he now join the religious economy of the Pharisees — the Jewish Rat Race?
John 5:14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.”
Jesus made sure He was known to the ex-invalid. Now you must trust me, now you must hope in me, now you must listen to me — that is what ‘sin no more’ has always meant.
Start listening to the Word of God — put all your hopes in him and not in legend, angelic-worship or in man-warped religion and your life will be well. You will indeed be whole.
If not — then those 38 years of impotence will be nothing compared to what happens next.
Life is in this one — in Jesus Christ — in His bare word. Trust Him! Listen to Him! Do what He says!
Pastor Dev Menon