Last week we started a Sunday Series that allowed us to search for the real Jesus and why it matters what we believe about Him. If you missed last week, you might want to read it first.
The world has adopted a “tell people what they want to hear, or what sells” mentality, which undermines truth. The truth will ultimately triumph.
Ravi Zacharias in his book, “Why Jesus”, says, “To sound grand and magnanimous by saying, “I accept all religions” is actually to either violate them all or violate reason, or both. We all have the right to proclaim what we believe about ultimate things. But that does not mean that everything we believe is right. “
Today we take a look at Jesus Christ as the gift, as the one that we ultimately seek as the true answer to all that we need. Gifts we understand because we give and receive them. We get excited about them, like my son did when he got his bionicle and told everyone about it. But, when Jesus Christ is the gift, our perspective changes.
Jesus as the one who makes us well
There is something about Jesus that draws us and calls us to know more of Him.
In John 5 we have a picture of a pool where people have gathered to get well. The water does something and people run in order to be the first one in the pool. This is a scene of sickness, sadness and despair.
“Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.” – John 5:3
In the midst of this scene, one man is singled out. We find out that this man has been there a long time and has been looking to the pool in order to find healing. He is likely lonely, bored and hopeless.
One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” – John 5:5-6
The appeal is to be well, physically, emotionally well because there is no shortage of pain. Now look at this in today’s world. This is what guys like Deepak Chopra play on. If you can find hope in living forever and can control your own healing by how you think, then people want to do it The approach is to buy this book, try this oil and meditate. Ultimately the problem remains, maybe find some relief temporarily, but it does not last
This man has his complaint that he voices to Jesus.
“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” – John 5:7
Can you imagine the scene when the water stirs and people push, shove and do whatever they can to get into the pool?
Notice, Jesus’ question, though, was somewhat missed. “Do you want to get well?” This appeals to the need at a deeper level.
Jesus deals with this in two different levels.
Physical – “Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”- John 5:8
Spiritual – “Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” John 5:14
Here’s the spiritual need and the bigger need because eternal consequence of sin is far greater than 38 years being an invalid.
So, the probing question for all of us – Do you want to get well?
The perils of the human heart
You see, then, that there is a greater need because the greatest disease is the human heart. Without an understanding of truth and namely who Jesus Christ is, people will find something else to solve their pain.
We all have pain, struggles, hardship and need some relief from that, but where do we look for relief?
It comes from Jesus Christ ultimately. He is the one who has healing, eternal life and hope. The longing in our hearts needs not be for the gifts, but rather for the person. In other words, the gifts come as a result of the relationship, not separate of that.
A.B. Simpson, found of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, wrote a hymn titled, “Himself.” This hymn expresses the need to look to Jesus Christ for the remedy, not as the remedy giver.
Once it was the blessing, Now it is the Lord;
Once it was the feeling, Now it is His Word.
Once His gifts I wanted, Now the Giver own;
Once I sought for healing, Now Himself alone.
Once ’twas painful trying, Now ’tis perfect trust;
Once a half salvation, Now the uttermost.
Once ’twas ceaseless holding, Now He holds me fast;
Once ’twas constant drifting, Now my anchor’s cast.
Once ’twas busy planning, Now ’tis trustful prayer;
Once ’twas anxious caring, Now He has the care.
Once ’twas what I wanted, Now what Jesus says;
Once ’twas constant asking, Now ’tis ceaseless praise.
Once it was my working, His it hence shall be;
Once I tried to use Him, Now He uses me.
Once the power I wanted, Now the Mighty One;
Once for self I labored, Now for Him alone.
Once I hoped in Jesus, Now I know He’s mine;
Once my lamps were dying, Now they brightly shine.
Once for death I waited, Now His coming hail;
And my hopes are anchored, Safe within the vail.