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Do the Impossible

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?” (John 5:5-6).

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 of Bethesda.

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 only man.

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” (John 6:44).

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. 37-38).

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.

God’s 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 can.

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 your life?

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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(c) 2006  Message by Wil Pounds. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

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