Richard RobertsFirst of two parts

Some people say that God helps those who help themselves. But as I read my Bible, I find that God also helps those who cannot help themselves. John 5 NKJV tells of a man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. He lay helpless by the pool of Bethesda. Now, it was believed that periodically an angel would come and stir up the waters, and whoever stepped into the water first would be healed. This pool was like an inner-city nursing home, a center for suffering, dying humanity. Then one day, Jesus arrived!

It is just like Jesus to show up where helplessness and hopelessness abound. He asked the man, “Do you want to be made well” (v. 6)? Instead of answering, the man made three excuses. First he said, “I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up” (v.7). His second excuse was that he was waiting for an angel to come and sit and stir the waters. His hopes were set on the wrong source. The third excuse he gave was, “While I am coming, another steps down before me” (v. 7). He blamed his failure on somebody else.

The man gave three excuses, but Jesus issued three challenges for him to be made whole. Challenges are different from excuses because they bring you to action. The first thing Jesus told the man was, “Rise” (v.8). He was talking to the man’s spirit―his inner man that had given up in defeat. He was saying, “Get up. Change your attitude. Change your way of thinking and believing.” If life has knocked you down, the first step to your being made whole is to rise and stand up on the inside.