Jesus saw a thirty-eight year old man lying on his mat at the
pool of water at Bethesda and approached him asking, Do you wish to get well?
Christ told the man to do the impossible. Get up! Pick up your
mat and walk.
The apostle John tells us And immediately the man became well,
and took up his pallet and began to walk (v. 9).
This man could not help himself. Only the divine power of Jesus
Christ enabled the man to rise and walk. It was a miracle that Jesus performed at the pool
This miracle is a remarkable illustration of the spiritual condition
of every individual. You and I cannot help ourselves spiritually; our salvation depends
upon the grace of God alone. Just as this physically lame man could not help himself we
are utterly helpless in our sinful condition to influence our salvation in any way.
Those disabled individuals lying at the pool were without strength to
help themselves. John describes them as blind, lame and paralyzed. The poor man said to
Jesus, Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but
while I am coming, another steps down before me (v. 7). How sad is the man who knows
This is a vivid and valid description of our human depravity without
Jesus Christ. Spiritually, we are sick, blind, lame and withered.
Like the lame man we are weak, helpless, powerless as described in
Romans 5:6. While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the
ungodly. Helpless. The Greek lexicon says, infirm, feeble, unable
to achieve anything great, destitute of power among men, sluggish in doing right.
When Jesus arrived at the pool no one rose to greet Him because they
were powerless. No one reached out his hand to greet Jesus because they were paralyzed.
However, we do see Jesus moving among them and healing the most helpless and lame sinner.
The Bible makes it emphatically clear that God does not help those
who help themselves. He helps the helpless. He provides for the powerless.
We are powerless to stop sinning without the work of the Holy Spirit
indwelling us (2 Pet. 12-16). We are lame spiritually without the saving grace of God.
God demonstrated His love toward us at Calvary when we were
altogether unlovely. Christ died for us when we were utterly helpless. When it was
impossible for us to do anything for ourselves Christ came and died for us on the cross.
There is nothing we can do for ourselves to satisfy a righteous God.
In Mark 2:1-5 we have a helpless man who could not come on his own.
His friends tore open the roof and lowered him to the feet of Jesus. He needed for someone
to bring him to Jesus.
What a powerful commentary on our human depravity when Jesus
explained, No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him
Men and women without the illumination of the Holy Spirit cannot
understand the truth of God (1 Cor. 2:14). The word of God, and salvation by grace alone
by faith alone in the death of Christ, are foolishness to the spiritually blind. They are
spiritually blind to the truth of God in Christ.
Moreover, we are spiritually deaf until the Spirit of God enables us
to hear the truth of God. That is the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts (John 8:43).
Jesus told a great Jewish religious leader, Truly, truly, I say
to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). The
kingdom of God is a spiritual realm. It cannot be seen with the physical eyes. But to the
spiritually regenerated He gives sight.
On another occasion Jesus healed a man who had been born blind and
then explained to the hostile religious leaders that they were spiritually blind to
spiritual things as evidenced by their refusal to believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of
God (John 9:39-41). The healed blind man saw Jesus, believed and worshipped Him (vv.
How can we walk in the narrow spiritual path of righteousness if we
are blind? And if our friend is spiritually blind we both fall into the ditch. Spiritually
blind people are following every form of blind spiritual guides who disguise themselves
and angels of light.
Men are spiritually blind until the Holy Spirit opens their eyes. The
blind could not see Him moving among them until He touched them.
We are spiritually lame because we are spiritually blind.
Moreover, there is a spiritual paralysis that takes hold of a person
who has never come to Christ. We know to do right, but find ourselves feeling paralyzed,
and it impossible to do what we know to be the right thing to do (Rom. 7:18). We know to
be like Christ in our behavior, emotions and actions, but are powerless until Christ
releases us from our bondage. It is like someone or something has a strange hold over us.
What is the solution to such a terrible disease? Christ came to bring
healing to the blind, lame and paralyzed spiritually.
Gods sovereign saving grace saves sinners who are blind,
powerless and paralyzed. If our eternal salvation depended upon us who could ever be
saved? Surely not I. What I need is His saving grace. We do not have strength to pull
ourselves up. We cannot save ourselves. Instead of waiting for us to rise and come to Him
for salvation He comes to us, opens our eyes, releases us from the hold Satan has over us,
and raises us up together to be with Him (Eph. 2:5-7). The Son of Man came to seek
and save that which was lost (Lk. 19:10).
I thank God every day that Jesus came to seek me out because I was
blind, lame and paralyzed. It would be an insult to God for me now that His grace has
intervened in my life to stand and brag about what I have done. The spiritually sufficient
will never be saved. You and I can never change our spiritual condition, but God in Christ
My sins have been dealt with in the blood of Jesus Christ, and He has
graciously given me new life through faith in Him. Has Jesus Christ done the impossible in
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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