Jesus at the Pool of Bethesda

Sermon by Billy Dempsey on August 2, 2020

John 5:1-18

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I want us to give our attention to the first eighteen verses of John chapter 5 this evening – Jesus at the pool of Bethesda. As we go there, before I read, before I pray and read, let’s just kind of, since we’re plopping down in the middle of – not the middle but at least in the course of events – let’s talk about the events that have already transpired in the life and ministry of Jesus, at least in John’s gospel. We’ve got, of course, John the Baptist’s stupendous announcement of Jesus there in chapter 1 – “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” – and Jesus beginning to gather disciples. John chapter 2 we’ve got the wedding at Cana; the first miracle of Jesus, the wedding at Cana of Galilee. That first temple cleansing, that first Passover after Jesus initiated His public ministry there in John chapter 2. At that same time period, you’ve got Nicodemus coming in the middle of the night. “What must I do?” And Jesus said, “You must be born again.” John chapter 4, His return to Galilee. We’ve got the narrative of the woman at the well and the days that He spent there in Sychar and Samaria after her conversion.

So that brings us up to John chapter 5 where John begins this chapter, “After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.” So that catches us up to where we want to spend a little time looking at the particular ministry of Jesus at the pool of Bethesda and among the religious leadership. Before we do, before we look into God’s Word, let’s pray.

Father, this is Your Word. We are Your people. We are hungry and thirsty to hear Your voice, Your Spirit speaking through Your Word. And so feed us; feed us now. We’ve asked for You to draw near to us. The great benefit of Your drawing near is that we may know You. So Father, teach us who You are in these moments. Would thoughts begin tonight that carry us through the week as we pursue You and walk with You this night and this week. Hear us, as we make our prayer in Jesus’ name, amen.

Now from God’s Word, John chapter 5. We’ll read to verse 18:

“After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids – blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be healed?’ The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Get up, take up your bed, and walk.’ And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.

Now that day was the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, ‘It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.’ But he answered them, ‘The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’’ They asked him, ‘Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?’ Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, ‘See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.’ The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father is working until now, and I am working.’

This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.”

The grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever.

Bethesda. Bethesda means “the house of mercy.” Certainly those that were gathered there were gathered there for mercy, seeking the mercy of God. As John tells us, they were the blind, they were the lame, they were the paralyzed, and they were gathered there for mercy. Verse 4 is a phantom verse. It doesn’t appear in the most reliable early manuscripts. Your Bible may have included it in brackets, your Bible may not have included it, but it tells us the explanation for why these folks are gathered at the pool, because as verse 4 says, “There is an angel of the Lord who went down at certain times into the pool and stirred the water. Whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was healed of whatever disease he had.” Now if John wrote those words – we don’t know if he did; evidence is that he didn’t. If John wrote those words, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he believed those words but certainly everybody who was gathered around that pool believed in that myth or legend or story. I don’t know how to, you know, God does amazing things and I think I’d rather believe an angel did that than it was some gas burp from a thermal pool, but I’m not saying that God would have done that. Believing an angel is more appealing than believing a gas burp from a thermal pool, but that’s just me! I’m not saying you have to believe that! Whatever is going on, they believe there is an angel that stirs that water, whether it’s a thermal pool bubbling or not. It’s interesting that Jesus doesn’t give much attention to the pool or the water or anybody else but this man.

Before we get to that though, let’s think about this – Jerusalem is the largest city Jesus ever went to. There were sights, there were sounds, there were smells, there were foods, there were goods, there were things He would never see or taste or find in Capernaum or Nazareth or anywhere else in Galilee. We know that Jesus was back and forth from Jerusalem a fair amount in His years of ministry. But why is He going to a miserable place like Bethesda? Why a miserable place? It’s full of the groaning and the stench of suffering people. Why would He go there? It’s analogous of you and me going to New York City – a place full of sights and sounds and food and places and things to see and things to do. Going to New York City and hanging out in the emergency room or the nursing home. Why did Jesus do that? Well, because He’s Jesus, because He’s Jesus; because He came to seek and to save the lost. Because He came to bind up the broken hearted and to proclaim liberty to the captives. Because He came to give the mourning in Zion beauty instead of ashes and a garment of praise instead of a fainting spirit. That’s what Jesus does, and Jesus goes places that allow Him that opportunity.

I guess my question is, as I think about that – first of all, has He found you? And second of all, would you go with Him? Would you go with Him to those places? Would you go with Him if He called you to go to those places? As we find Jesus dealing with people, He’s dealing with people that are hard people to deal with. Throughout His ministry, He’s dealing with all kinds of people but He’s dealing with all kinds of people who, at the same time, nobody else wants to touch. Has Jesus found us? Has He found you? Would you go with Him to the Bethesda, the places of misery, to find miserable people?

It’s easy – I ask that question because it’s so easy for us to look past those places. It’s so easy for us to look past those people. And it’s so striking as we read Jesus in the gospels seeking them, searching for them, giving time to them, touching them. I think it says something about His call to us and we dare not miss it or we dare not overlook it; we dare not turn away if He’s found us, because He will take us to places of that nature. He’ll take us to places we’d rather not go if we really will follow Him, and He’ll bless us in incredible ways and use us as a blessing in incredible ways as we do.

Well Jesus enters the colonnade, that colonnaded area, that pool of Bethesda. He’s searching for someone. He’s searching for, and it seems to be that He’s searching for the most pitiable person there, in this most pitiable gathering of broken bodies. It seems that He’s searching for someone in particular. Verses 5 and 6, “One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.” It doesn’t mean that that was his entire life; maybe he was older than that, we don’t know. John doesn’t tell us. But his illness had lasted, his paralysis had lasted certainly longer than Jesus had been alive. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time – a long time waiting to get into that water, a long time waiting for that angel to stir that pool, and a long time dragging himself to the point of getting into the water – He said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”

Do you notice that Jesus is always asking questions He already knows the answer to? He’s always doing that. He’s always asking questions He already knows the answer to! Why does He do that? I think in this case, and maybe this would be something of a general rule, Jesus is inviting this man to engage with Him. He’s inviting this man to talk to Him. He’s inviting him to show Him something of His heart. He’s inviting him into a heart conversation about his longing. He could have asked a million questions – “What’s your name? Where are you from? Who is your family?” He could have played the little game that we play here in Mississippi, “Who are you connected to and who do you know that I know?” You know, Judea is not very big. It’s only about 90 miles from Galilee to Jerusalem. No, He goes right to the heart question – “Do you want to be healed? Do you want to be well?” He’s inviting this man into a heart conversation about his longing.

Seeing that kind of makes me think about how we pray. How do we pray? I’ve asked myself, “How do I pray?” Do we simply tick through a list of things that we want God to do for us and for those that we are praying for? – “Please do this. Please do that. Please help this person. Please bless that person.” Are we willing to take the time in prayer, as we pray, to talk with Him about longings, longings, longings that drive us and draw us to ask Him to do things? That’s a heart longing there. That’s a heart longing. Even if it’s a simple thing, there’s a longing there. Sometimes I feel like I rush through my prayer time so I can get about the real business of the day. And if I’m praying about something in the midst of the day, I rush through that so I can get to the real business of the moment. And yet Jesus is drawing this man, and I think would draw us, into a heart conversation about longing – longing for ourselves, longing for other people, longings for the people that we are praying for, longings for those that we love, longings and concerns for those that are on our radar. We’re maybe not that close to them but we know there’s need that they have. But we still have longings for those situations. Jesus is pulling this guy to talk to Him about his longings.

Do we take time, even in prayer, to reflect on our longings for ourselves, for other people, and reflecting on what we are asking God to do especially in the light of His promises? It seems like a prayer is a longer conversation than working our way through ticking off a list, working our way through a list. We’ve got time to make a longer conversation of it, a longer moment, and to think in terms of, “What has God promised that matches or that says something to my longings for my family or says something for my longings for my neighbor, or says something about my longings for my coworker, my longings for our nation in these days not only of COVID but of so much unrest? Do I have longings for my culture? Do I have longings for this city?” It seems that Jesus is asking the man, “Do you want to be well?” He’s calling for the man’s heart to be on display and it seems that there is a beautiful moment for us as we pray – to kind of think of prayer as moment for our heart to be engaged with Jesus and to talk about longings and to compare our longings with what God has promised and maybe have what God has already promised give shape and give some transformation to longings and make those longings really more reflective of what God has always promised to do.

Now we’re getting to effective prayer because we’re beginning to find our longings maybe shaped and conformed to God’s promises somehow and we begin to pray God’s Word back to Him in some form or another. It sounds like I’m saying, “Well then you’ve just got to pray all day.” I don’t think it’s that long a process once we begin the pathway of thinking in terms of prayer not so much a ticking through a list but a bringing of our longings. I think the hardest part of that is simply to begin to think in terms of, “What are our longings for our loved ones, ourselves, the situations we find ourselves in?” because Jesus is not, as you see Him in the gospels, you don’t see Him seeming to be happy with working through a list. He’s happiest as our hearts engage with Him. That’s what He’s always doing. That’s why He’s always asking these questions that He already knows the answers to – because He’s wanting to open the door for heart engagement between us and between Him.

The paralyzed man doesn’t answer Jesus’ questions. Do you notice that? He never answers the question about his longing to be healed. The sick man, verse 7, the sick man said, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Matthew Henry says in his commentary on these verses, “The paralyzed man explains it’s not want of will but it’s the want of a good friend that leaves him in the state that he’s in.” Perhaps the man believes Jesus’ question is a veiled criticism – “What’s wrong with you? How come you can’t get your act together?” and he wants to explain himself. Well I want him to answer like blind Bartimaeus on the way to Jericho. What I want to see – that’s clear and unambiguous; there’s no doubt about that. I want him to answer that way. What Jesus gets and what we read is a miserable reply from a miserable, broken man. I suppose if I were in his shoes I would be miserable too and Jesus would get much the same reply from me. I confessed to David Strain earlier in the week I don’t much like this guy. I don’t much like him. I like Bartimaeus. I like the guy at the foot of the mount of transfiguration. “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” I get that. I get that. I get that. And maybe I should be more patient and more kind; if I were in his shoes, I would perhaps be offering a miserable reply as well.

There’s some rich irony here, though, if you think about it. You and I know what’s about to happen. We’ve read the Gospel stories. We know what’s about to happen. The paralyzed man doesn’t because he is still kind of thinking about, “Is this guy going to offer to stay around here and help me get into the pool?” The multitude of the lame and the blind and the paralyzed in that colonnade are not looking at Jesus; they’re looking at the pool. They’re watching for that next stir of the water. And perhaps even, I don’t think it takes much imagination, if you put yourself in the paralyzed man’s shoes there on the floor of the colonnaded area, Jesus is in front of you – perhaps He’s kneeling, perhaps He’s squatting so He can get down close to you to talk to you – and maybe as you’re talking with Jesus you’re giving it this. You’re looking around Jesus so you can see, “Okay, is that water moving yet?” You’re glad to talk to this man but it’s the water. “There’s the angel in the water! That’s what’s going to get me what I need!” Every eye in that place is overlooking, overlooking the Son of God, the mender of broken bodies, the healer of broken hearts. Every eye in that area is fastened on the water and they let Jesus walk right by.

How many times do we look past Jesus, right past Jesus, or try to look around Him? I’m speculating about this man. He’ll tell me in heaven. He’ll tell me I gave him a hard time unnecessarily. How many times do we look past Jesus or try to look around Him to get to our real solution, “This is what’s really going to help me,” when our healer is standing right there in front of us? What’s our angel that’s going to trouble our water and make us okay? Is it body image? Is it boyfriend or girlfriend? Is it a spouse? Is it children who do just right? Is it a promotion? “Everything will be alright if ‘blank’ happens.”

What fills in that “blank” for you? We all have those things and it’s not bad to need things. I’m not saying you’re wrong to feel the need of something. But I think we just have to watch our tendencies. Our tendencies are to put everything in whatever fills in that “blank” and that’s going to make everything okay, and look past the One, try to look around the One who’s offering us more than we could ever ask or think. You recognize that? This guy is thinking, “Maybe He’s going to be here to help me get into the water.” Jesus is going to offer him something more than he could ever ask or think. Do you see that tendency? We just need to recognize it. We need to own it because it’s veiled, it’s hidden, it can be invisible; it can be a little bit like fog and change our vision, redirect our vision, redirect our hopes and redirect our expectations before we even know it. We just need to be aware that that dynamic takes place and it’s sort of our tendency to find our solution, our help, our aide, almost our salvation in what we can see. We’re always looking for a messiah when God has brought the Messiah to us. It’s an important thing for us to recognize.

Well Jesus does what we expect Him to do, what we know that He is inclined to do. He says in verses 8 and 9, “‘Get up. Take up your bed and walk.’ And at once the man was healed and he took up his bed and walked.” This may be one of Jesus’ more unusual healings as the man tells the teachers of the law later in their exchange with him. He doesn’t even know who Jesus is. He doesn’t know who healed him. So it’s not as though he’s recognizing, “I’m talking with Jesus of Nazareth. I know He’s done great things. Maybe it’s about to be my turn for Him to do something great.” He had no clue of any of that. That’s why I think this is early in Jesus’ ministry. He’s not known in Jerusalem the way He’s known in Galilee. He will be soon, but at this point in His ministry He’s not known as well. This man does not know who He is and can’t describe Him to the religious leaders. So there’s no moment of recognition – “This is Jesus. I’ve heard about Him. I’ve heard what He did for other people.” There’s none of that going on here. He’s talking – this man, I think, really believes, “You’re going to help me get in the water.” What actually happened was what he would never guess.

Later, Jesus tells His disciples about him. This was in the last weeks of His ministry. He tells His disciples about faith as insignificant as a grain of mustard seed and how that faith can move mountains. If there was ever an example of mustard seed faith, and that may be generous, this has to be it. This man has no clue who’s talking with him. He could just as easily have laughed at Jesus’ call to get up and walk and say, “Yeah right, I’ve tried that before!” but he doesn’t. That’s an important thing to see. He doesn’t. He acts. And why? Because in some weak, teeny tiny wispy way, he believes without even knowing who he’s believing in.

We struggle with faith, and I appreciated so much David’s remarks about faith this morning in the morning sermon. And none of us would say our faith is particularly strong. And sometimes when I’ve been able to say, “I’ve got strong faith!” you know, my faith is most likely in the wrong thing. It’s in the thing I want God to do for me and not in God Himself and His sovereign dealings and disposing of all events, including me. So often when I’ve been in a spot to say, “My faith is strong!” it’s misplaced and I go back to, “Oh, I’m supposed to believe in You and trust You and put my hopes in Your hands,” and then my faith becomes all weak again. But it gives us hope. It gives us hope that maybe even our little faith, insignificant as it feels – and we’ll talk about that in a second – insignificant as it feels is enough for the wheels of glory to move if even this poor guy’s faith garners a healing. He didn’t even know who he was talking to, and yet there was a wisp of faith enough for Jesus to say, “Get up. Take up your mat and walk,” and for him to do it.

And really it kind of throws – if you think about Jesus in His hometown of Nazareth, Mark records this in chapter 6 of his gospel – it really kind of throws into stark relief what no faith looks like. Remember Mark chapter 6? Jesus is back in His hometown. He could do no mighty work there except He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them and He marveled at their unbelief. That’s unbelief if there’s not even – I mean, if this guy’s faith moved the wheels of glory and he was healed and there was no faith in Nazareth, there was no mighty work done in Nazareth except for the healing received by a few who believed, it throws into stark relief what unbelief looks like. May it never be said of us, may it never be said of us in this part of the body of Christ, First Presbyterian Church, that Jesus would marvel at our unbelief. May it never be said of us that Jesus would marvel at our unbelief.

And unable to do any mighty work here – wispy faith, insignificant faith, mustard seed faith. We struggle to feel faith. I think this is one of the things that confuses us about faith; we struggle to feel faith. And I don’t think Jesus corresponds to faith that way. I don’t think Jesus understands faith that way. So often He equates believing with doing, believing with acting, believing with stepping out, believing with taking action – “Get up. Take up your mat and walk.” In that moment, the paralytic had to decide if he believed enough for that to happen, if he believed he would be well. And if he had lain there, he would have missed the great experience of his healing. Jesus is calling him, “Take action. Step out. Act upon what I’m telling you.” He did, even without knowing who Jesus was.

So that tells me that faith – we’re wrong as we think about faith as a feeling – “I feel strong in my faith.” Faith is understanding that God has made a promise and is willing to act on that promise and cause me to act in expectation of His acting on that promise. And so I would just encourage us to think about faith, think about faith in different terms than feeling because it’s more than a feeling; it’s a recognition of who God is and what His promises are and what He invites us into as His people.

I hope you’re asking, “Why are not all the people at the pool healed?” That’s a great question. Jesus seeks out one, doesn’t He? There’s a multitude, according to John, a multitude of people who are there at the pool. It can only help us recognize that as Paul says in Romans chapter 11, “How unsearchable are His judgements and His ways past finding out.” We have Jesus making a decision right here that He’s not explaining to us. We have Jesus making a decision, doing His Father’s work, making a decision that He’s not explaining to us. It reminds us of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath and the famine that he called down in the time of Ahab’s unbelief. Jesus makes this point. There were lots of widows in Israel who were suffering in that famine. God sent Elijah to Zarephath, to Sidon, to a widow, and she had food. How did God make that decision? His ways are inscrutable and past finding out. He’s not going to give us the information that we’d like to have in order to understand that because His ways are His ways and not our ways. The Shunammite son died. There were lots of children that died in that day, in Elisha’s day. It was the Shunammite’s son who was raised, not somebody else’s son.

Y’all please forgive me. Cory can make this look so effortless! I feel like I’m dropping the whole bottle of wax when I stop and take that water but my throat is about to give out on me! Cory’s just way cooler and smoother than I am!

Again, God’s ways are inscrutable. He is pursuing the plan of His own design, the purpose of His own disposition, and He calls us to trust Him. He calls us to walk with Him. He calls us to let Him be God and not us. It’s interesting that Jesus, as He is talking with the disciples of John the Baptist as they bring a message from John, “Are you the one to come or should we expect another?” in Matthew chapter 11, as Jesus speaks about John and gives them a message to deliver to John, He closes it with this – “Blessed is the man who does not stumble because of Me. Blessed is the man who does not stumble because of Me.”

I think that would apply here. He’s made a decision. He sought and He’s dealt effectively with the one He came to seek. It doesn’t mean He doesn’t care about the others, but He was there for one. He was there for one and He brought him out. That was His purpose and that was His choice. As we know, the ministry of Jesus exploded in Judea. Who knows what might have happened with some of these other people. But at this moment, at this moment in time, Jesus is looking for the one who happens to be the most broken down, the most pitiable in all that mass of broken humanity.

Well John says something to us that’s very interesting. In the latter part of verse 9 he says, “Now that day was the Sabbath” that Jesus goes and He finds this man. By the way, before we get there, let me skip ahead in the passage just a bit because I want to point out something about Jesus’ interchange with the man at the temple. Go with me to verse 14. “Afterward” – now in the intervening time the man has been in a bit of trouble with the Jewish religious leadership because they have found him walking down the sidewalk carrying his mat back to his home which is verboten. You can’t do that on the Sabbath according to the Jewish religious leaders. So at any rate, before we pick up that just one thing to see right here in verse 14. “Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple.” Remember, he said, “I don’t know who he was.” Jesus went away. I think the healing there in the colonnades caused a bit of commotion. Suddenly there was some interest from the crowd. There were helpers there. They came bustling around the man who was walking who had been a paralyzed man just a few seconds before. In the bustle, Jesus withdrew because He was dealing with this man. And so in the temple you have the sense that Jesus has sought him in the temple or sought where he would be and He finds him in the temple. Verse 14, “Jesus found him in the temple,” which was a good place for him to be because he would be offering perhaps a thanksgiving offering for his healing and his recovery. And Jesus said to him, “See, you’re well.” Then He says this, “Sin no more that nothing worse may happen to you.”

Jesus has dealt with his body; couldn’t finish the transaction of dealing with his soul, finds him later because He wants to reach his soul. It’s great for the man to have a healed body, but remember, he didn’t even know who he was dealing with and now he has a recognition of who he is dealing with – a man who can heal his body. And that man says to him, “Sin no more. Live with God. Live before God in obedience and gratitude. Live before God; His eye is upon you. Walk with Him. Serve Him. Trust Him. Trust in Me, His Son. Sin no more that nothing worse may befall you.” Jesus reaches for his soul having already done good for his body.

Well let’s talk about the controversy – Jesus’ controversy with the religious leaders. You remember that famous scene in Braveheart where William Wallace – this has been talked about a few times by the really, the other really cool guys on our staff. I watch Braveheart too so I’m going to say this! Remember how William Wallace is going out to parlay with the English generals and his men ask him, “Where are you going?” And he says, “I’m going to pick a fight.” You know I have a sense that Jesus doing this on the Sabbath is a little bit like picking a fight. The man doesn’t know who has brought the healing to him but he knows he’s in trouble with the religious leadership. “It’s not lawful for you to take up your bed and walk.” He’s breaking the fourth commandment about doing no labor on the Sabbath. The Jewish leadership in the generations since the Babylonian captivity had developed an elaborate sense or elaborate volume of rules and regulations. There were thirty-nine categories of work that were forbidden on the Sabbath. The Jewish leadership wanted to be so careful about the people not breaking the law that they erected fences around the law so that if you don’t break the fences, if you don’t step on the fences, you’re not going to step on the law.

Well that’s not the purpose of the law as Jesus understood it and that’s why He was in such controversy in His entire earthly ministry. The purpose of the law is to look into our hearts and for us to see the heart of God. It was not to tick off the rules. And they had made, because the law had become so important to them, in fact the law became more important to them than Moses. Look at what Jesus says in verse 46 of chapter 5. “If you believed Moses you would believe me, for he wrote of me.” The law became more important to the Jewish leadership than God Himself and the fence became more important than the law. And then the law lost its capacity to look into hearts and to convince people that they needed a Savior because they couldn’t maintain a right relationship with God through the law. And so Jesus was always at war, as you know, with the religious leadership of the day.

And if you read all of chapter 5 you see Him really throwing down the gauntlet based on His status as the Son of God and the authority that flows from that and how it is that He does His Father’s will. That’s all very important. We’ve heard many of those things but my time is gone. Let me just close with this.

I would be easy – it’s red meat to beat up the Pharisees and the religious leadership for creating a religion that supplanted the religion of the old covenant. We’re all building a religion. We’re all building a religion that suits ourselves. We’re doing theology every day. We’re deciding every day who God is and what He does and what He loves and what He hates. We’re deciding every day how God feels about what we’re doing and how God feels about what that person over there is doing. Our tendency is to make God over into our own image. That’s what our tendency is. We just need to know that and recognize that and put ourselves under the Scripture personally and under the preaching of the Word to let the Lord Himself speaking through His Word tell us who He is, teach us who He is, and draw our hearts after Him. We all need that corrective; we need the corrective of the read and studied and preached and taught Word of God because we will, just like the Pharisees, just like the teachers of the law that we find here in the gospels opposing Jesus, we will make our own god and we will make him look like us and we will make him say what we want him to say for our benefit. That’s why we need the corrective of the preached and the taught and the read and studied Word.

Thank you so much. Let’s close with prayer.

Father, we would be remiss if we did not give You thanks for the Gospel. Thanks for the Gospel that delivers us. Thanks for the work of Christ that not only saves us but reconciles us with You so that You are calling us Your sons and daughters. Help us. Help us to look to You and not around You or over Your shoulder for the things that we really want. Would You become our great prize. Would You become our great healer. Would You be the one that’s our very great reward, not only this night but all the days to come. Would You be the one who is our great treasure. Lord Jesus, would You be the one who draws us, every day draws us to life and life and life again. Thank You. Father, go with us into the week. Remind us of sweet Gospel truths. Remind us of Your promises and Your power. Help us be a people that follows You, for Jesus’ sake. And we make our prayer in His name, amen.

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