From Emptiness to Fullness



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Listen to the teaching of Jesus from a short but impactful little story in John chapter 5: 1-14
Jesus was "wandering" through the city of Jerusalem and went into the area of the Sheep Pool which is called Bethesda. It had 5 porticoes with a pool in the middle.

- Around the pool, every day of the week there were scores of blind people, lame, deaf, paralyzed and many others afflicted by various sicknesses: people wanting their illnesses healed by being the first to jump into the pool when the waters were stirred. They believed this ...that's why they were there!

- The moment at which the waters would be stirred, nobody knew ... but they all hoped and expected ...on and on and on!
- Every single person around this pool was characterized by both sickness of one kind or another and also characterized by one common "hope" in expectation ...for days, weeks, months and even years!
Amazing! Who would be the "blessed" person to get into the pool first and get healed? Nobody knew but they waited and waited and waited.

One person in this whole crowd was about to be impacted by Jesus Christ ...but not in the way anyone expected!
- This one ...in the midst of this crowd had been an "invalid" for 38 years.
- Crippled as he was, he knew he did not have the capacity in himself to reach the water, so was convinced he needed someone to help him into the water to get the healing for which he so longed!
- He had nobody who evidently would be a friend to him ...rushing him to what he thoroughly believed would be the only answer to his dilemma of physical immobility! This was his testimony.

He stubbornly stayed there day after day, week after week and even year after year!
- He kept hoping and hoping that maybe one day he would somehow be the first into the water!
- But his testimony in this short story was that he had given up and resorted to "blame".
Along came Jesus Christ walking in this area of the sick and longing; the hopeful yet painfully suffering people!
- Walking amongst the many in dire need, Jesus stopped at this one certain man ...38 years in his plight and in answer to Jesus' very simple question: "Do you want to be made whole?" ...the man had a string of answers but only complaints as to why he was NOT healed!
He never did give Jesus a straight answer regarding his dilemma!
* He simply "blamed"!

Jesus didn't ask him why he was not already healed. He only asked him if he wanted to be made well!

The man was just like many of us! If something is wrong and we feel "stuck in life" we are full of blame.

We blame siblings, a spouse or perhaps a coworker, the employer or no employer; the government; the administration and administrators; the Board of the church or the members!, the weather... or we sometimes even blame God Himself! Many finally just blame themselves!

No answer or solution comes from any amount of the blaming... only a fleshly, transient or pseudo satisfaction ...no healing, nor any true satisfaction.

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In Genesis 3, Satan himself blamed God as having false motives for His instruction to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden as to "why" God would have given them the instruction to not "eat" of a certain tree.
In doing so he planted doubt in the heart of man.
Jesus Christ Himself bore the "blame" and "became sin Who knew no sin"! So entrust to Him the unknown. Blaming won't solve anything!

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Jesus ...in the story in John 5; 1-14 doesn't argue.
He doesn't discuss the issue nor the problem.
He doesn't even explain it!
He doesn't correct ...well ...not immediately, anyway.
He doesn't put a "bandaid fix on the poor, disappointed man who hopes against all odds that some day there would be "help" from his plight!
But this was his day!
Unexpected ... unplanned... God's gift to him ...a total surprise!
Jesus gives him very simple and very clear instructions.
"Get up. Pick up your sleeping mat and walk"! The man was immediately healed and up he got with his sleeping mat and walked throughout the temple!
Yes, an amazing story but the lesson in the story is not necessarily so much about the man in his 38 years of immobility as it is about what Jesus points out to him about his future and how to avoid what could be even worse!
The man's unbelief before the healing was as dangerous as the unbelief after the healing ...so Jesus met him in the temple afterwards and solemnly warned him to go forward in life now; stop sinning... just in case a worse thing happened!

What is it that He tells us to watch for; to refrain from; to reject and to be warned seriously to not meddle with?
There could be worse consequences.

Listen. Hear. Wait.
He is speaking ... Obey His voice.
He's with you to deliver you...to make you productively "mobile"...also filling your heart and life too ...with amazement and joy!
In that sense, you too can "walk" and "run" again!
The Word STILL Speaks.

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The Word Still Speaks!

Charlie Fordham


cfordham@capernwray.ca
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