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The Plight of Man and the Power of God

by Brian Brodersen

“Jesus said to him, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk.’ And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.” John 5:8-9

Many of us were taught right from wrong at an early age. And we generally believed what we heard. But sometimes we look at the world and think, That looks so fun! I wish I could do that. But I’m a Christian, so I’m missing out. Don’t be deceived. Sin always produces unhappy results.

Jesus had ministered for a while in Galilee, but now He traveled once again to Jerusalem to attend a feast. As He walked near the temple one day, He passed a pool called Bethesda, around which were several other pools and five covered porches. In this beautiful place, multitudes of infirm people lay, hoping to be delivered of their maladies.

Why So Much Trouble?

Sin has brought a great deal of misery into the world. Blindness, lameness, paralysis, disaster—every harmful or hateful thing has its origin in sin. People often ask, “If God is love, why is there so much trouble in the world?” God created all things good, but man’s rebellion against God brought sin into the world, and painful things resulted—war, famine, disease, natural disaster. One day God will remove sin from the world. What a glorious day that will be!

Beside the pool Jesus saw a man who had an infirmity for thirty-eight years. When He saw that the man had been ill for so long, Jesus said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” (John 5:6).

This man had been forgotten and overlooked in the multitude of sick people. But Jesus noticed him. He saw his plight. Jesus said to the man, “Rise, take up your bed and walk” (John 5:8). Immediately the man was healed, and he picked up his bed and walked.

We Can Relate

Most of us can relate to this man’s situation. We may feel neglected or overlooked. But Jesus sees us. He knows the trouble we’re in. Jesus never sees one of His people in distress without feeling compassion and offering help.

But here’s the interesting thing. Later on Jesus found this man in the temple, and He said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you” (John 5:14). Every physical infirmity is related to sin, either directly or indirectly, because sickness was a result of sin entering the world. Jesus’ warning to this man tells us that his sickness was directly related to sin. In other words, it was sin that had gotten this man into trouble in the first place. For the majority of his life, he had been eaten up by sin.

Sometimes when it seems that God delays in helping us, it’s because of sin in our lives. Our trials are not always the direct result of our own sin, of course. But when they are, the only way to deal with the trouble is to deal with the sin—to repent.

Trust Jesus To Take Over

What about when our trouble isn’t caused directly by sin but simply because we live in a fallen world? Will Jesus deliver us? Jesus chose to heal the man by the pool, but God doesn’t heal every physical affliction. However, we can count on the fact that God will take care of us spiritually, which is better. When we are in a state of spiritual well-being, everything else will be put in right order. We can absolutely depend on God for that kind of health.

The plight of man is sin, and the power of God can make us whole. We don’t know whether or not God will take away our trials, but He promises us that things will be well with our souls. We can lay hold of that.

The same Jesus who saw that man in his desperate situation sees your need and wants to minister to you. Let Him bring health to your spirit. If you have sin in your life, turn away from it. Repent. It’s time to renounce it and say, “Lord, I want to follow You.” When Jesus Christ steps into your situation, you can trust Him to take over.

Brian Brodersen

Brian Brodersen is the senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, CA, president of Calvary Chapel Bible College and featured speaker on “Back to Basics” radio program.