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John 5





This is really an incredible chapter.  It begins with an incredible story.  It moves to an incredible indictment against humanity. (The religious leaders were angry that Jesus healed a man who had been handicapped for 38 years.  Their anger was primarily because Jesus had the audacity to heal this man on the Sabbath.)  And then the chapter moves to some incredible words that Jesus speaks about His Father and Himself.

As a result there is much we could and should delve into in this chapter.  But I want to focus on the story in the first nine verses.  There is much here we can learn here about Jesus, about us, and even about the church. 

The story unfolds at the Pool of Bethseda.  It seems an angel periodically visited that place.  He would stir up the water in that pool and the first one in the pool at that point was miraculously healed of his illness/handicap.

That should bring up an important question.  If the angel stirring up the water was sufficient to heal one person, why didn’t the angel continue stirring up the water until everyone there was healed?  There was, after all, a multitude there.  Now let me take that question to another level.

In our story, Jesus appears on the scene. Of all the people there that desperately needed healing, Jesus picked out one man.  You can almost imagine Jesus walking around others who were in desperate need to get to this one man.  Why didn’t Jesus just heal them all?

In part, I think this story gives us a pattern of ministry for the church.  In our “democratic” society, the American church has historically taken a position of “if we can’t do something for everybody, we won’t do anything for anybody”.  We have convinced ourselves it isn’t fair to everybody else if we do something extravagant for one person.  The ultimate and ironic effect of this has been the American church has basically tied her own hands and done nothing for anybody.

I believe Jesus is demonstrating a different ministry model.  I think that model is we should be willing to do for one what we would love to do for all if we had all the resources in the world.  This is difficult for us because we have some notion that we have to treat everyone equally. 

I struggle with that as well but our church is actually moving in the direction of this ministry model.  We decided to build a house and give it away.  That was quite an undertaking that effectively benefited only one person (and her family).  OK.  Our church benefited from that effort as well but you get what I mean.  

I am not suggesting that we ignore the needs of the masses.  But I would encourage you to think carefully about what it might look like to do for one what you would like to do for all.

Let me quickly point your attention to verses 6-7.  Jesus asked the man what appears to be an unnecessary question.  “Do you want to be healed?”  Instead of a quick “Yes” the man went into a long description of why he was still the way he was.  He was actually taking the blame for his not being healed and refusing the gift of healing from the Healer standing next to Him.  

I leave you with this.  We should always be ready to receive the gift of grace that Jesus offers regardless of what form that comes in: healing, salvation, calling to ministry, restoration, etc.  We should never let our failures stand in the way of His future for us.  We should never let our excuses exempt us from the Lord’s grace.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

John 4





This is a rather long chapter that is just full of important stuff.  Time and space does not permit me to get into much detail in this chapter.  But there are a few things I want to point out.

The chapter begins with Jesus and His disciples leaving Judea and heading north to Galilee.  Verse 4 says He had to pass through Samaria.  That is an interesting statement.  There were actually three different routes from Judea to Galilee only one of which went through Samaria.  So, Jesus didn’t have to pass through Samaria because that was the only route.

The reason this is important is that Orthodox Jews would have gone miles out of their way not to go through Samaria.  In fact, the Jewish people had a long standing and deep hatred of the Samaritan.  There are actually records of Pharisees (Jewish religious leaders) praying that no Samaritan would be raised in the resurrection.

Remember Jesus had to go through Samaria.  He didn’t have to geographically but He needed to spiritually.  God had orchestrated a divine appointment for a Samaritan woman who would had have been hated by the Jewish people and scorned by her own Samaritan community.  

After she met the Savior, she went to town and told the people there about Jesus.  They met Jesus and many of them were saved.  Although the Gospel was originally sent to the Jewish people, it was always meant for people of every nation and ethnicity.

When you get to verse 46, the story changes to a man who held an important position in Capernaum which is in Galilee.  We don’t know much about this man other than he was an “official” or “nobleman” and his son who was horribly sick.  Jesus healed the man’s son even though He was physically separated from the boy.  

As verse 54 says, this was the second miracle Jesus had performed in Cana.  The first one was when He turned the water into wine.  I want us to spend the remainder of our time today thinking about this.  This healing of the boy is one of several miracles that Jesus performed from a distance.  I think I may be rambling a bit here so try to stay with my random thoughts.

Jesus’ miracle of turning the water into wine demonstrated His power over time.  In a very real way all wine is made from water in that it takes water to the make the grape vines grow and to fill the grapes with juice.  Given the right circumstances that juice will eventually become wine.  Jesus did instantaneously what the Father had always been doing over time.

But in the healing of the nobleman’s son, time was not the issue.  Space was.  Jesus’ power was not limited by the distance between Him and the boy.  He healed the boy with His powerful Words that traveled across the space between them.

Here’s what I want to leave you with.  God is always at work.  He is working across time and space to create divine appointments for people to encounter Jesus.  The incredible miracles that Jesus performed were not done to shock and awe but to point to the Miracle Worker.  

I am grateful today that Jesus is not limited by the things that so limit me.  I am grateful that He walked out of eternity to walk on this earth so that the likes of me could one day be saved.  What a Savior!  What a glorious Savior!


Posted by Joe Ligon with

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