The Lord Jesus Christ put this question (or its exact equivalent) to a very needy man whom He encountered at the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem (John 5:6). In that case, the issue was one of physical healing, but the same question comes to all of us regarding our spiritual condition. 00 we want to experience the miracle of God's salvation?
The marvel of the Christian Gospel is that it offers free and full salvation to all men. Because of the death and resurrection of Christ, our sins can be forgiven (Acts 13:38); ourhear1s can be cleansed (1 John 1 :9); and we can receive, within ourselves, the inestimable gift of everlasting life (John 3:16). In other words, we can be saved; -recovered into a condition of full spiritual "healthiness' in the sight of God. The question that remains is, however.. "Do we want it?"
We believe that the incident at the Pool of Bethesda has very much to teach us regarding this whole matter, and we would set it out as follows:
I.THE TREMENDOUS NEED OF THIS SALVATION
We are told that, at the Pool of Bethesda, there was "a great multitude of impotent folk" (John 5:3). We would suggest that that is a perfect description of present-day humanity as God sees it. We may make our proud claims of scientific knowledge and cultural advancement, but God looks behind all this; and judges everything on a spiritual and oral basis. In His eyes, we are, Indeed, "a great multitude of important folk", and even a casual reading of our newspapers proves that He is right!
The verse that we have mentioned (John 5:3), goes on to specify some of the particular needs that were represented at the Pool. Some, we are told, were "blind", remanding us immediately of Paul's word to the Corinthians about Satan "blinding the minds of them that believe hot, lest the light of the glorious gospel of 'Christ...should shine into them" (2 Cor .4:4; -see also john 12:40; 2 Cor.3: 14).
Others at the Pool were "lame", and we have to admit that our present humanity is a very "lame" humanity when it comes to spiritual and moral issues. Even the best of us can scarcely hobble, and we find that life is, indeed an "up and down existence". This, too, is borne out in Scripture (see Eph. 2:2 etc.). Yes we are a lame humanity.
Most significant of all, we read that others at the Pool were "withered", or "shrunken", and this reminds us of how very "small" men have became through Adam's fall. When we could have known the largeness of a true friendship" with God (see Exo.33: 11; 2 Chrorl. 20:7; James 2:23 etc.), and a positive partnership with Him in the executing of His great eternal purposes (see Eph. 1: 9, 10; 3:10,11; Heb.3: 1,14; also Lam. 5:16), we find ourselves taken up with what Paul calls "the weak and beggarly elements" of this poor passing world (Gal.4:9).
Yes, indeed, the scene at that Pool, clearly depicts our present humanity. And yet it is to that humanity that the word of Christ goes faith, "wilt thou be made whole?" We now consider
II. THE ESTABLISHED GROUND (BASIS) OF THIS SALVATION
This is beautifully represented for us in the name of the place where the
miracle was performed; -"The "Pool of BETHESDA". The word "Bethesda" means "House of Mercy", and we should ever be thankful that the Great God Who stands behind everything is a God of Mercy .The Bible tells us that He is "rich in mercy" (Eph.2: 4), and that His "mercy endureth for ever" (Psalm 136). We are told, too, that His mercy is, in fact, His glory (See Exo.33: 18 and 34:6)!
That mercy is what we all need, and many are those who have come to sing with the great John Wesley
"TIS MERCY ALL, IMMENSE and FREE, FOR O MY GOD, IT FOUND OUT ME"
We are told, too, that there were 5 porches at Bethesda (v .2). Five, in Scripture, always stands for "grace", - and it is by grace alone that sinners favor", and that is what we all need, for we can contribute nothing to our soul's salvation. It is all a totally undeserved gift from the hands of a "gracious" God. And that, we believe, is why proud men are so slow to embrace God's offer: -it is far too humbling for them. But, sooner or later, if we want salvation, we all have to say,
"NOTHING IN MY HAND I BRING SIMPLY TO THY CROSS I CLING"
And we have to say it from the heart! The glorious fact is that CHRIST HAS DONE EVERYTHING FOR US. At Calvary, He cried, "It is finished" (John 19:30). That is the ground that we all must take; the pure Grace of God, and the finished work of Christ at Calvary. It is "Not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us" (Titus 3:5). That is the "ground" of salvation, -Christ's finished work.
In conclusion, we shall see what our story has to teach us concerning
III. THE SIMPLE CONDITION ON WHICH GOD SAVES US
Here we shall be considering what it is that God requires from our side if we are to personally experience His salvation. The answer, in a word, is FAITH; -pure simple
We note that the man had already given a very positive and convincing answer to the question about wanting to be healed (see v. 7). He certainly wanted it, but could not find anyone who would help him. It is at that point, that he was confronted with what was in its essence, a clear and powerful word of promise, "Rise, take up thy bed
and walk", To us it reads like a command, and, in one sense, it is that, but in its inmost essence, it is, as we said, a glorious word of promise, "Rise and walk".
Those words would have brought anew " hope into a hitherto hopeless heart, and quickly that hope turned to TRUST. The Savior saw that trust, and so we read, in the very next verse, "immediately the man was made whole" (v.9). What a glorious transformation, what unimaginable newness, and all in a moment of simple trust. God's saving and renewing power surged into the heart and body of this hitherto helpless man. God had worked, and now the man could, as it says, "take up his bed and walk", -something he had not done, probably, for 38 years! Glory be to God!
We pause here to note that, while faith is God's invariable condition for saving us, there is absolutely no merit in the faith itself, -all the merit is in the One believed. In that way, God's plan of salvation is a perfect plan, and no ground at all is left for any "flesh" to glory in His presence (1 Cor .1: 29). "FOR BY GRACE ARE YE SA VED THROUGH FAITH; AND THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES: IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD; NOT OF WORKS, LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST" (Eph.2: 8,9), and that salvation is for us today. Hallelujah!
PUT AWAY THE STRANGE GODS - BAKHT SINGH
God had called Jacob Israel, a prince, after twenty years, judging by his behavior he had been only a beggar. So God was speaking to him once again asking him to live like a prince and not as a beggar any longer. By this time he was ready to learn to walk like a prince. This is evident by the way he put away the strange gods in his household and journeyed towards Bethel. Therefore, God was saying to him, "You are a prince and I will bring kings out of your loins" (Gen.35: 11,12). Front that time Jacob entered into the experience of being God's prince, prophet and friend. That is why before he died he called all his sons and blessed them with the blessings of God.
The Lord said to Jacob, "I am God Almighty be fruitful and multiply". When you also become prince you will know God's power in your life. You will not be a coward any more.
We read in Deut.32: 9, "Jacob is the is His inheritance". In other words, God was say "Jacob, you belong to Me forever. You are more precious to Me than the whole world." God never called the sun, moon or stars His inheritance. The privilege given by God to Jacob was great indeed. Praise God, the same privilege is given to us as well. We are called od's inheritance. "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in saints" (Eph.1: 18).
Then we read, "He...led him about instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye” (Deut.32:10). This also will happen to you provided you are willing to put away all your strange gods "For thus saith the LORD of hosts; after the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple his eye"(Zech.2:8).
In Deut.32: 11 we read, "As an eagle stir up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them her wings:" The mother eagle usually builds nest on a high place, such as the side of a high When her young ones are grown she break up her nest so that they may learn to fly. As the little ones fall from the nest they might think that mother is very cruel. But as they fall, the mo eagle comes underneath them and bears them on her wings, and then drops them again. In this way she teaches them to fly. Similarly, the Lord may stir you out of your nest also, because He wants you to learn to fly Of) high places.
While I was in Yugoslavia I found that grapes were served for breakfast, lunch and tea. They were large, luscious grapes too, and big bunches of them were on the table in abundance. That reminded me how God wants to give us everything in abundance provided we put away all our strange gods and return to Bethel. That is the only way to receive God's blessings fully. Do not let your wife, or husband, or friends, relations or your business or your pleasures keep you away from Bethel, God says, "I am the Almighty God", He is mighty to save you, to keep you, to lead you and bless you. Make Deut.32: 7 to 14 your personal experience. Ask the Lord to give you His best and show you your full portion in Bethel, the House of God.