In John chapter five we can read about a man who was an invalid for thirty eight years. Now thirty eight years is a very long time to be suffering.  Over the years I’ve met many people who have been suffering from various infirmities, and there is one thing common among them: they all want to be well.  Now there are some who hold to the belief that they are suffering because God has given them a thorn in the flesh like the Apostle Paul dealt with.  Some actually believe they are sick because it gives glory to God, yet it is those who are constantly running to the doctor trying to get will.  But it seems rather strange to me that if sickness gives glory to God, why did the Lord Jesus go about HEALING the sick?  That would be a good one to explore today.

Joh 5:2  Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
Joh 5:3  In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
Joh 5:4  For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
Joh 5:5  And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
Joh 5:6  When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?

Joh 5:7  The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.
Joh 5:8  Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
Joh 5:9  And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
Joh 5:10  The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.

Joh 5:11  He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.
Joh 5:12  Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?
Joh 5:13  And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.
Joh 5:14  Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

After reading the above, stop and think about it for a while: what is God trying to show us here? This account isn’t in the Bible just to help fill the book, but rather to give us some insight into the mind of God and how He works, or rather, WANTS TO WORK in our lives.

The first thing I see here is that there were MANY sick there, wanting to be well, and they gathered there because that was where God was working.  It’s always best to find out where God is working and go there.  These sick weren’t at home waiting for God to show up and heal them, they had each heard of a location where healing was taking place, and they did what they had to do to get there and wait.  Jesus made a point of dealing with this one particular man who had an infirmity for thirty eight years.  We aren’t told what the sickness was, or how he got it.  But here’s where it gets interesting: the Lord Jesus simply asked him, Wilt thou be made whole?

Duhhhhh!  Now what kind of question is THAT?  Of course he wants to be made whole, why else would he be there?  So what should have been his answer?  YES!! But that wasn’t his answer.  I said, that wasn’t his answer.  He replied with an EXCUSE!   Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Well, that was pretty obvious to Jesus, else the man would have already been healed and gone home.  You see, there a lot of people who want to be healed, but they have an excuse.  Now those excuses can be as varied as you can imagine, but they all produce one thing: NO RESULTS!

When I was serving in the Army, when preparing for guard duty one day, we were at what they called “Guard Mount”.  The officer in charge would ask those assigned for guard duty various questions.  The one who answered all of them correctly would be excused from guard duty and have the day off.  It happened that day the officer asked me what the maximum effective range of a 7.62mm rifle cartridge was, and I told him. Then he asked me what the maximum effective range of an M-151 was. For those of you who don’t know, that is an Army Jeep.  I replied with the fuel capacity and the EXPECTED range, but added that the actual range is dependent upon terrain, driving speed, and the habits of the driver.  He seemed to like my reply, and his next question was “What is the maximum effective range of an EXCUSE?”  I replied, “Zero meters, SIR!”  That answer got me the day off.  And I’ve always remembered, the maximum effective range of an excuse is ZERO METERS!

I said all that to say this: no matter what kind of excuses we make to God, they don’t go anywhere with Him at all.  Now, getting back to the man with the thirty eight year infirmity, Jesus  listened to his excuse, then told him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately he was healed and took up his bed and walked.  In other words, “enough of your excuses, now go”.  And later the Lord Jesus found him in the temple and told him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. Don’t you wonder why Jesus told him that?  I certainly do.  Perhaps a lifetime of excuses why he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) work resulted in his infirmity, who knows?  But the “sin no more” part was a stern warning, nonetheless.

Fast forward the time a couple thousand years to today, and we have the written account of the Holy Bible that tells us several things: first, that God has no use for excuses.  We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God, and there is NONE of us with a valid excuse.  However, God in His mercy has provided us with a Redeemer, which is Christ Jesus of Nazareth.  Jesus not only paid in full for our sins, but He took all our infirmities and diseases upon Himself, healing all our diseases.  It is written in Psalm 103:2-3,
Psa 103:2  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
Psa 103:3  Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
Now, God has provided not only forgiveness of sins, but also HEALING.  How do we receive them?  By faith.  How do we receive faith?  It is written in Romans 10:17-18,
Rom 10:17  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Rom 10:18  But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.

So then, God having provided forgiveness of sins and healing of our infirmities, why are so many still in their sins and suffering from infirmities?  We each have a choice in the matter, whether to receive the gift of God, or not.  God will not force salvation or healing upon us.  BUT THEY ARE BOTH AVAILABLE FOR THE TAKING.  We can make our excuses why they are not ours, but what is done is done.  God has done HIS part, and there is no excuse that will fly before God when we appear before the Lord Jesus for not having received them.  You can be saved.  If you are not, why not?  What’s your excuse?  You can be healed.  If you are not, why not?

What’s your excuse?  Think hard about that one: maybe you can come up with one that God has not heard before, one that will cause Him to say, OK, you win, now THAT’S a valid excuse. But the truth is, God has provided everything you need to have your healing AND everlasting life. It is summed up very well in Deuteronomy 30:19-20:
Deu 30:19  I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
Deu 30:20  That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
Put an end to EXCUSES, and enter into the good life that God has prepared for you!