Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 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?”
In the last 10 months, I have lost forty pounds. I don’t say this to glorify myself or get you to tell me, “Good job!” Yes, there’s a point. Last December I looked in the mirror and I didn’t like what I saw. I saw a girl who had lost respect for her body and had “gone off the deep-end” in regards to eating–too much and all the wrong things. I let having a baby be my excuse to eat everything I wanted. Only problem: at that point, my “baby” was 13 months old. So, I decided to make a change. I decided to turn myself around, change my ways, and lose weight! I joined weightwatchers.com, a gym and got motivated. It’s been a long road and not always easy but, I’ve done it, and I’m proud of myself.
I could never have lost the weight without changing my MIND about food. I had to then, take my changed mind and take action. In this excerpt from John 5, this man was an invalid who had sat at the pool at Bethesda for 38 years and his excuse for never making it into the pool is that he had no one to put him in. Some months ago, my husband gave an amazing sermon on this very passage. He insightfully noted that Jesus asked this man, “Do you want to get well?” What? Of course he did. Why would he sit there for 38 years if he didn’t? But wait, what did he do for 38 years…he sat and waited for someone else to help him. Too often, we meet someone who realizes their life “has to change.” That “I can’t go on like this.” They feel conviction and say they need to get their life straight with God but, THEY SIT BY THE POOL FOR 38 YEARS! They do nothing with the salvation God has graced them with.
Yes, in Romans 10:9 it says, “If you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, you will be saved.” But the truth is, Jesus didn’t come JUST so we’d have eternal life. He tells us in John 10:10, “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. But I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (emphasis mine) Jesus desires each of us to have a full life, enriched by his grace and mercy that are daily renewed. This is why “scare tactic salvations” don’t take. No one can have a true conversion experience if they do it simply because they are scared to go to Hell.
I’ve been the person sitting by the pool. I’ve sat in my own sin hoping someone, anyone but myself, will walk by to pull me up out. I’ve even held on to the person who reached out so hard they fell in the pool with me. But the amazing thing about Jesus is he loves us so much, he’ll do anything to pull us up out of that pit, if we only ask him and take those first steps.