[00:00:00] Well hey, Central, it is so great to be back with you and to come home. And seriously, it's good for our soul whenever we get to come back. And, you know so much of my life has been spent here. My wife's life, our kids have grown up. And for many of you, you maybe haven't seen our kids in awhile.
[00:00:18] They're getting bigger. Our youngest is four our oldest is 11. We've got five of them total, which is why I don't have many hobbies and why I like to travel a lot, but kids are so fun. And there's so many things that go with raising kids and especially in quarantine. Really puts your parenting skills to the challenge to figure out, can you rise to that?
[00:00:40] Can you figure this out? One of the things that Michelle and I recently did is we thought, you know what, let's get a phone for our kids. Just kind of a family phone for the kids. It's a kid safe phone. It can't do most things that your phone can do. But we want to start teaching them, you know, if we're gone, how they can interact with us.
[00:00:59] And so we started doing that. And got them a little phone and they started calling their grandparents and their cousins. And that was really a fun thing. What I was not prepared for, however, was how many text messages I would now be receiving from my own children, and they each text a lot. And they text with their own personalities.
[00:01:19] And so you can kind of get the flavor of who I'm talking with, just by what they're saying to me. I can illustrate this a little bit. Here's the text I got from my daughter. She's eight. She said, this is how much I love you. And then a whole bunch of, you know, little kissy heart emojis. And in case I was confused.
[00:01:39] She added. And even more. You know, and I was like, oh man, that as a dad that just melts your heart, you know when your eight year old, daughter's texting you that. And so that was a good day when I got that text. And then I got a text from our 11 year old and you know, he's a little older, he's got different personality.
[00:01:56] We are in the middle of a conversation and he goes, oh brother, you are [00:02:00] doing abbreviations. And I'm thinking, oh yeah, I gotta teach my kids how texting works, you know? And so I realize this is part of my role as a dad, I got to educate them. And so I said, that's our texting works, LOL, which is what I had used, means laugh out loud.
[00:02:15] And I think, you know, I'm really doing him a favor here to which he replies. I know dad, I am a kid. I know this stuff. Oh, okay, no problem. So then we continue the conversation. He says, I need to go do homework. So no more texting bye Gavin out. With a bunch of like weird emojis that I wasn't quite sure how to put that into context.
[00:02:40] So I just said, you make me laugh. You know? And then, he's such a great kid, to which he replied. Haha stop, please.
[00:02:51] I don't know if that's like a Dad award when you can get your own kids to tell you to stop texting them back, but I've arrived there. But it's funny [00:03:00] when you're texting and we all know this. And again, I mentioned last week, that communication is hard when you can't see people the way you normally can, but when you're texting even things get lost sometimes and you don't fully understand, are we communicating
[00:03:15] what we're trying to communicate? Are you hearing everything that I want you to hear? And I've seen this anew. Well today, I wanna encourage you to get your Bibles out. We're going to be in John chapter five today. If you were here with us last week, we began a two part series called Reflections, where we're looking at two stories in
[00:03:33] John chapter four and in John chapter five, where Jesus is going to change someone's life, and it's around water. And so you have these moments to reflect as you're near water and you can see a reflection and literally Jesus is changing people's stories forever. And hopefully it's an invitation for you and I to experience Jesus in the same way. And Jesus has this way of meeting us, especially
[00:03:57] in our pain. And we saw that last [00:04:00] week and we're going to see that again in a totally different story in John chapter five today. But one of the things that I think, and I was thinking about this with texting, I think we often only get a little bit of what Jesus is truly trying to say to us. Like when Jesus is trying to give us His goodness in our life, some of that can often get lost in the text, you know?
[00:04:19] And we can lose that content and go, oh, I don't fully know what Jesus has for me. And so I hope today you get a little bit more of Jesus, than maybe you've ever had before. A little bit more than you thought was even possible. And that would be an incredible thing for us to walk away from today. To get more of an experience with Jesus.
[00:04:38] And so if you're with me in John chapter five, I want to begin reading in verse one. As we see the setup for today's story, it says this. Afterword Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. Crowds of sick people, [00:05:00] blind, lame, or paralyzed lay on the porches.
[00:05:03] One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. Now that is an incredible amount of time. But the context of this story is, incredibly important. Now, again, like I talked about last week, there's a lot in Jewish culture that we don't understand and so some of those details we don't fully grasp what maybe the original audience who heard this and witnessed this, may have experienced. But here you have a pool that was thought to have healing power.
[00:05:34] Well, how did it have healing power? Well, they had associated this with the Greek God Asclepius. And so there is this belief that one of the Greek gods Asclepius was responsible for healing people in this pool. Now the location of the pool of Bethesda, it's very significant. Let me show you where it's located.
[00:05:53] So here's kind of a little map to try to recreate this. Here is the pool of Bethesda the right there. [00:06:00] But if you'll notice right here, you have, the hub of where Jewish worship would have happened. This is the North temple wall right here. So right there, I mean, literally like in the shadow of like Jewish worship, you have this Greek Holy place.
[00:06:16] Now again, it's important to realize these are so close together, but they're very different. So this would be the, you know, the God Yahweh, this is the Old Testament God, this is how they worship that. But then here it's like, oh, that's not Yahweh. We're not worshiping that God we're worshiping the Greek Gods.
[00:06:34] And so it's probably the story that the people who came to the pool of Bethesda were basically giving up on the Jewish God. They were saying, look, we may have tried this God, he didn't heal us. He didn't do anything. So let's give this other God a shot. And so they come to this. Not because they have no other options they do, but probably because they put more hope they put more [00:07:00] faith in the Greek
[00:07:00] god, Asclepius, he's the one that is going to save us. And so it's an interesting place for this story to happen for Jesus to walk in to this Greek area of worship, maybe the Greeks had something better to offer. Now, I don't want to alarm you, but if you have your Bible open, I'm going to show you something that may startle you for a moment.
[00:07:23] If your Bible is anything like mine, you have no verse four. I'm going to give you a second to process that you can go count your verses. You can see. You probably go verse three right to verse five. And maybe right now you're panicking thinking someone stole a verse out of your Bible. They didn't it's okay.
[00:07:39] But there's a little bit of debate on verse four, whether or not it was originally in the text. Most versions today don't include verse four because they think it was later added. Now, here's why this gets into a little bit of the story we're looking at today. Verse four talks about the waters would be stirred and an angel would come in and an angel [00:08:00] would provide the healing.
[00:08:01] Now the reason why most versions today don't have verse four is they think that misses the point of what John was originally saying. John is not saying that God, the bibical God was the one doing the healing at the pool of Bethesda. No, this was a Greek God, this is not that God. So verse four, tried to like smooth that over and go, oh, maybe God brought an angel in and most scholars go, no, that's missing the point of what John is saying.
[00:08:27] John is setting these up as opposites. You have the Jewish God, and then you have the Greek God, and they're totally different. And the people that are going to this pool are putting their trust, not in the Jewish God. But in the Greek God. I showed you that map. There's two levels of this and it's believed the Greek priests had these pipes that they could control and they could get the water to stir up, you know, at one time of the day.
[00:08:53] And that was the way they performed these healings. And there was a whole lot to this. There was money to be made there. There was [00:09:00] influence to be made. There was credibility there. And this is the scene where all this takes place, where Jesus is going to meet this guy. Who's suffering from a condition.
[00:09:10] Now, what is this condition? The text doesn't explain it. So we know, that he's either physically paralyzed or he's psychologically paralyzed. Either way he's stuck. He's stuck where he is. He's just there and he's not going anywhere. Now I want you think about what happens when you suffer from the same thing for 38 years.
[00:09:35] What happens when every day, year after year, decade after decade, when that is your reality? I think you begin to accept it. You begin to say, this is my story. This is my life. This is my identity. That might sound weird to say that this guy's identity was wrapped up in this, but I think you have to view this story.
[00:09:59] This is [00:10:00] who this guy is. He's the paralyzed guy, that's his story. That's who he is. And identity is such a weird thing. The things that we can attach ourselves to that help shape who we view ourselves to be. I was reminded of this earlier this year, we bought a Jeep Wrangler. And I had rented a Jeep Wrangler before loved it.
[00:10:21] And so we bought one and I absolutely love driving a Jeep Wrangler. Now, one of the things they told me when I bought a Jeep Wrangler is, oh, you have to do the Jeep wave, which is when a Jeep sees another Jeep. And these are only for Wranglers, right? When a Jeep Wrangler sees another Jeep Wrangler, you do a wave. Now,
[00:10:38] truly, I thought they were pulling my leg with this. I'm like, there's no way that Jeep Wranglers wave to one another. I've seen motorcycles. They do this. Like I get that, that seems different, but I'm like a Jeep Wrangler is going to wave to another Jeep Wrangler? Friends I kid you not the first time I got a wave at me.
[00:10:55] I felt pretty good about myself. I was like, I'm in the club. They have accepted [00:11:00] me. They have embraced me in, I am now one of them and it literally shaped me. I'm a Jeep guy. I'm one of them. They've embraced me. They, they waved to me and now I'm waving at people all the time, it gets a little awkward when I forget that I'm in our minivan and I start waving to Jeep guys.
[00:11:17] Cause they don't, they don't wave to you if you're driving a minivan just for the record. But, but if you're in a Jeep, you know, you have this whole sense of identity, but again, think about how fickle of an identity that is. If I'm not in my Jeep, I don't have the identity. I only have it while I'm in it.
[00:11:32] You know, if I'm in the minivan, I don't get, I don't get a Jeep wave, but I can find my identity in that. And for a lot of us, we find our identity in really weird things. Right? And I think this guy, whether or not he wanted this to be his identity had found his identity in I'm the paralyzed guy. That's who I am.
[00:11:51] That is my story. And people would have known him. Right? They would have known that. They see that guy every day he's there 38 years. That's who [00:12:00] he is. And you've got to keep that in mind because Jesus is going to come right at him from an identity point of view, not just, oh, what's going on with you on the outside, but really who are you and who do you want to be?
[00:12:15] Because his identity is wrapped up in this. It also begs the question. What's the longest you've ever prayed for something? I wonder if this guy was still praying to be healed. Like I know he's at the pool Bethesda and he's hoping he is going to get healed, but like, is he still praying about it or did he long ago give up on that and go, I'm not going to get that prayer answered.
[00:12:37] And so he's just hoping that the water is going to have to do something for me because God won't, did he start by praying to the Jewish God and then he gave up over a certain amount of time? Like, what's the timeline that we have before we start giving up. Going I'm not ever going to see that prayer answered.
[00:12:55] I think it's interesting to consider that. If you go back to chapter five, you read [00:13:00] verse six. It says when Jesus saw him and he knew that he had been ill for a long time, it's a understatement from our guy, John there. He asked him, would you like to get, well, I love this question. Would you like to get well? Now first, and maybe if you've, if you're reading this for the first time, you're like, is Jesus being mean?
[00:13:24] Is he being sarcastic, what's going on? Isn't this a ridiculous question to ask this guy, would you like to get well? But, like I said, you have to understand there's an identity here. There's something deeper because this guy had been suffering for so long that it's not just a thing on the outside of him.
[00:13:46] It has become who he is. And I think you could classify this guy as suffering from a victim mentality. He has assumed the role, assumed the posture of a victim. Now, in case you're not familiar with the [00:14:00] victim mentality, essentially you can explain this with three different ideas. Okay. Beginning with things that are true, partially true,
[00:14:07] and then I would say not true at all. Okay. So a mentality goes like this. Starts with the premise, bad things happen and will keep happening. Now, if you've lived long enough, I think you can go. That is true. Bad things happen. And I have history to go, they're probably going to keep happening. Like
[00:14:25] that's probably, I don't mean to be the doomsday guy here, but that's just probably likely that if they have happened in the past, if you live long enough, you go probably will keep happening. That's true. But then you get to a partial truth, which is the second aspect of a victim mentality.
[00:14:40] Other people or circumstances are to blame. Now. I say it's partially true because usually there is certainly a part of the pain of our life that you can attribute to other people you can attribute to circumstances, but it's not fully able to be put in that category. But a victim [00:15:00] mentality says I have nothing to do with any of that. That is fully other people.
[00:15:05] It is fully the circumstances. I couldn't have controlled or changed a thing. And again, this is a partial truth. Then it goes to what I would say is not true at all, which is the third aspect. There's no point in trying to make it better. So you see how this progresses. Bad things happen.
[00:15:25] They're going to keep happening. Other people, other things are to blame. And therefore, if I can't control it, if I'm not a part of it, then there's no point in trying to even make it better. And I think the reason why Jesus asked this guy, the question is to really get the point three. Do you think there's effort here? Do you think it's worth trying to get better?
[00:15:48] Or do you want to remain who you are? Do you want to remain the paralyzed guy who's been paralyzed for 38 years? Or do you want to get better? Do you want to get [00:16:00] well? I think it's the same question Jesus wants to ask some of us today. Do you want to get well? Now again, you might go off course I do Jesus.
[00:16:10] But what might you have to be willing to give up in order to experience Jesus like that? What might you have to say? Okay, I'm going to surrender this thing that has, has actually become comfortable for me because I'm used to it and I'm going to have to release that so that I can experience the new thing that Jesus has for me.
[00:16:28] Jesus is trying to get this guy to take ownership of his own life. What is it that you want? Do you want to get better or are you just going to sit here? Are you just gonna stay in that place? And you get to verse seven. Jesus asked this great question. Here's what the guy's response is. I can't, sir. The sick man said, for I have no one to put me into the pool
[00:16:52] when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me. Now here, this guy has gone into [00:17:00] full victim mode, right? So Jesus comes along. He sees him. He was like, do you want to get better? And again, the way my imagination works, I always try to like put myself in these stories and try to imagine what they would be.
[00:17:12] So if you'll indulge me for a second, here's how I kind of envisioned this. I happen to have a little mat here. And so I envision
[00:17:23] that Jesus walks by, right. And he sees this guy and the guy's laying down. And the guy's on his back and Jesus says, do you want to get better? The guy's like, do I want to get better? Jesus, of course I want to get better, but nobody will bring me into the water and someone else. Always gets there ahead of me.
[00:17:45] Do I want to get better? Easy for you to say Jesus, you're up there. You can walk around. I'm down here laying on my mat. Of course I want to get better, but somebody else, right? Notice how all the language is. Other [00:18:00] people focus. This guy has removed himself from having any chance to play a role in this story.
[00:18:07] And here's one of the things that I have learned in my own life. This is so tempting to choose. When you and I have pain, when you and I have things that are unfortunate happen that we experience. All of a sudden, it's like the mat appears and it's like, come and lay on me. It'll make you feel so much better.
[00:18:27] And you see this, you're like, oh, if I go to victim mode that will solve my problems because then I can blame this on other people. I can wallow in my misery. I can lay down and I can be comfortable there and I don't have to deal with reality. It's easy to just assume life is happening to us and we can't control it.
[00:18:49] We can't shape it. We have no course of action. And here's the reality to be fair to this guy. He had a great reason to consider himself a victim. He had been [00:19:00] aflicted by this for 38 years. He's not being overdramatic. And here's what I would say to you. If you realize that you're playing the victim right now in your own life, you probably have a great reason as well.
[00:19:16] Now, I don't know your reasons and I believe God knows them and you might be able to justify it. You might be able to tell someone else, let me tell you why I'm a victim. Let me tell you why I'm laying on my mat. And maybe you could share it in such a way people go, oh, my goodness, that is horrific what has been done.
[00:19:33] And I mean, lay down, you deserve that, man. I mean, how, how could that have happened to you? You probably have every reason to do that, but here's what I want to encourage you today. A victim mentality works against what Jesus wants to do in your life. So you and I have a decision to make. That yes, you might be able to say, I deserve to lay down on this mat to wallow in my [00:20:00] misery.
[00:20:00] I am a victim. That may be true, but a victim mentality works against what Jesus wants to do in your life. And you've got to decide, do you want to lay on a mat or do you want to see what Jesus wants to do in your life? The way that Jesus wants to meet you, even in the midst of what you're experiencing right now. The author, Sam Chand says this, your happiness is inversely proportionate to the shoulds in your life.
[00:20:32] I love that idea. This should happen. That should've happened, right? When you start going down a list of shoulds, you're going to experience a victim mentality. And so again, I think this happens to all of us where we start laying down on our mat and we're going, you know what. I should be married. I mean, I totally should be married.
[00:20:54] I bring a lot to the table. I don't know why no one else has realized what I'm bringing to the [00:21:00] table, but I should be married. I just, I can't believe I'm not married. I should have a kid by now. I mean, I would be an amazing parent. I mean, why am I not able to have a kid? I, I should, I should totally have a kid.
[00:21:13] I should have a family. I mean, this is ridiculous. I should have a better job. I mean, I'm amazing at what I do. I should totally have that job and that other person just got that job and they just got a promotion. And I mean, I can't believe I don't have that job. I should totally have that job. I mean, I, I should have like a way bigger house than I have.
[00:21:33] I mean, if you see where I'm living, I was like, doesn't even make sense. I, I should have way more at this point in my life, but I just don't. I don't know why, but I should. I should not be dealing with this health thing that I'm dealing with right now. Like, that is not fair that I have to deal with that, that some other people, they don't have to deal with it, but, but I do, I shouldn't have to deal with that health thing.
[00:21:57] I should just be, I should be way happier than I am when everyone else [00:22:00] looks like they're happy and why am I not happy? I should be able to be just as happy as they are. And friends, you can literally spend all of your time laying on your back on the mat going through the list of shoulds. It should be this,
[00:22:15] it should be this, it should be this. And in the meantime, as you're sitting here thinking through all of these shoulds, you are missing what Jesus wants you to experience, you are missing it. And I get it because it's tempting to me to go, go lay down, go wallow in these. I mean, it feels good for a little bit, but you can get stuck there.
[00:22:38] And you can get stuck in this cycle of all these things should have been different and they're not. And we can miss the incredible thing that Jesus has for us. So in your life today, where are you laying down on a mat? Where have you decided I'm going to go play the victim? I'm going to go full victim mode on this.
[00:22:58] What is it that has [00:23:00] happened to you or that you are experiencing right now? And, are you actually laying down? Are you going through a list of the shoulds in your life? Or are you looking for Jesus? Are you expecting Jesus to show up. The German theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said this, he says, what does it matter if I suffer injustice?
[00:23:22] Would I not have deserved even worse punishment from God, if he had not dealt with me, according to his mercy. Is not justice done to me a thousand times even in injustice. Must it not be wholesome and conducive to humility for me to learn to bear such petty evils, silently and patiently? Now, you might look at that and go well easy for him to say he didn't deal with what I had to deal with.
[00:23:51] Easy for him to say, Oh yeah, he's just going to trust God in the midst of it. If Dietrich Bonhoeffer had my life, he wouldn't be [00:24:00] saying that. Well, if you know, a little bit of history, you may know that Dietrich Bonhoeffer lived during the time of Hitler in Nazi Germany, and he was actually killed for his faith and lost everything.
[00:24:14] And so I would say he's a little bit qualified to speak to refusal of a victim mentality. That's the guy that says, why would I, why would I get hung up on that? Why would I get spun up about that? And that's an incredible perspective. It reminds me a little bit, I was at a conference one time and the speaker gives this great presentation and then afterward they opened it up to Q&A.
[00:24:39] And there's this, you know this Q&A. And so this guy asks this question, and he starts with, I don't mean to offend you, but. Right. And then we all know something incredibly offensive is about to come out of his mouth. That's how that works. And I'll never forget, I don't even remember what the question that guy asked.
[00:24:55] Cause I forgotten that. I'll never forget the response the speaker said [00:25:00] when this person began with, I don't mean to offend you, but. He said, don't worry. I won't let you offend me. And I thought, wow, I want some of that. I want that perspective. Don't worry. I won't let you offend me. Friends, I think we are living in a time right now where it is fashionable to be offended.
[00:25:23] It is like cool how offended you can be by all kinds of, let me tell you, I was so offended by this person and what they said and with that, and it's like, we wear it as a badge of honor. What if instead we said, I won't let you offend me. I just won't let you, I'm not going to assume a posture that would allow you to offend me with your words.
[00:25:45] It's an incredible perspective. And I don't know how to live up to it, but I think about that one sentence a lot. I won't let you offend me. We might think that the sick man is justified in assuming a victim [00:26:00] mentality that he is justified for laying on that mat. But here's what I want you to see. Jesus doesn't.
[00:26:07] Jesus doesn't say, hey, you know what? Lay there. You know what, I'm sorry that that's been done to you. Wallow in it. Play that victim. He doesn't do that. I want to show you what Jesus says to him. Check out verse eight. Jesus told him, stand up, pick up your mat and walk! Imagine how weird that would sound to this guy.
[00:26:32] Instantly, the man was healed. He rolled up his sleeping mat and he began walking. But this miracle happened on the Sabbath, so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, you can't work on the Sabbath, the law doesn't allow you to carry that sleeping man. It's just so great. It's the religious people that missed the point.
[00:26:56] Thank goodness that doesn't happen anymore. Right? If we were all [00:27:00] here, there'd be a little nervous laughter in the room, right? Like, oh, yeah, no, sometimes we can miss the point as well. There's this incredible miracle and rather than a celebration, it's whoa, whoa, whoa Jesus. Uh, it's the Sabbath. And we've got rules about that and you violated some of the rules that is not how this is supposed to happen.
[00:27:21] You don't heal him like that. We'll tell you the ways you can heal him. Not like that. You, you can't heal him the way that you did. They get stuck on the how and they miss the what. They get stuck on how Jesus did it. And they missed the fact that he just healed the man who had been laying down on a mat for 38 years.
[00:27:44] Are you more bothered by things that are going wrong by things that shouldn't be happening the way that they are happening? Or are you more excited by what Jesus is doing around you. About how Jesus is showing up in the midst of this. [00:28:00] I want to point out to the story. Jesus does not have the man get into the water.
[00:28:05] That's an important detail of the story because Jesus heals this guy at the pool of Bethesda without the water of the pool of Bethesda, which is an incredible, like little moment of smack talk from our guy, Jesus here. Like I'm going to heal you right next to where the Greek God Asclepius evidently heals, but I don't need his water.
[00:28:27] I don't need any of that. I'm just going to heal you and throw some shade on this whole little healing pool you guys got going on here because you're going to get healed. And here's the point. This guy would have walked out, healed and dry. That did not happen at the pool Bethesda, if you walked out claiming to be healed, you were wet because you just came out of the water.
[00:28:48] You got healed that way. This guy walks out bone dry, claiming to be healed. Everyone went, well how did that happen? How does that work? Oh, actually it was this guy Jesus. [00:29:00] It wasn't Asclepius it was actually a guy named Jesus and Jesus is showing his superiority over any other God, that may have a rival claim against him.
[00:29:11] And then we see verse 11, but he replied, this is the guy who is healed. The man who healed me told me. Pick up your mat and walk. Who said such a thing as that, these are the religious leaders. They demanded. The man didn't know for Jesus had disappeared in the crowd. Which is hilarious. Who heald you?
[00:29:29] I didn't catch his name. I remember his face. He kind of like, look, I don't remember. I mean, it's an amazing detail. He disappeared in the crowd, but afterward Jesus found him in the Temple. It's an interesting detail. Where's he now he's in the Jewish temple and he told him. Now you are well, so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.
[00:29:50] I know that sounds super weird and I wish I had time to unpack it. I think that has to do with going to a Greek idol rather than God. Now he's in the temple. That's a little change [00:30:00] there. Then the man went and he told them Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him. He goes like, oh, I figured out who it is.
[00:30:07] It's that guy named Jesus. Now here's a really important detail. Jesus tells him, stand up, pick up your mat and walk. Now, let me ask you the question. Why did Jesus tell him to pick up his mat? Wouldn't it have been more dramatic to leave his mat behind, to walk away and never use that mat again. And think, I mean, how nasty would that mat have been to lay on it?
[00:30:34] If it was the same mat year after year, and Jesus says, stand up, pick up your mat and walk. Why on earth would this guy want to carry his mat? Why would he want to be a part of this? Wouldn't he want to leave all of this behind. Here's what I think is happening. Jesus wants you to carry your healing with you.
[00:30:59] When this [00:31:00] guy comes walking out of the pool of Bethesda, dry and carrying a mat, there's all kinds of questions that are going to be asked. There's a lot of attention. People are gonna go, what on earth just happened? You've got a mat that you had to lay on, but you're carrying it and you're dry and this doesn't make any sense. But this is how you and I fight the victim mentality.
[00:31:27] We carry our healing with us. Now, I don't know if you've played the role of a victim, but if you have, what you may have noticed is you don't have much to offer others. When you're in that posture, when you're laying down, you don't have much to offer, but if you're willing to carry your mat and say, this is my story, this is what I've had to deal with.
[00:31:50] All of a sudden, you now have something to give to those around you. As the author, Christine Cane has said, there comes a [00:32:00] time that we have to make what Jesus has done for us bigger than what someone has done to us. It is why we carry our healing with us. And some of you maybe all you want to do is leave your story behind. You
[00:32:19] don't want to talk about the things that you've gone through, the things that you've seen, the things that you've experienced and Jesus is saying no, no, no. Just stand up, pick up your mat and walk. Carry it. Tell others. We saw this last week with a woman at the well she experiences Jesus, and then she goes and rushes to others and goes, you've got to see what I have just experienced.
[00:32:39] This is the natural reaction. When you experience Jesus, you go, you've got to see what I've seen. And so I just want to ask you real personally, where are you at today? Are you laying down on the mat or have you sensed the invitation to stand up? To carry your healing with you. And again, [00:33:00] that may not look like your situation is resolved or the pain is gone, but can you find a way to say this is how I'm experiencing Jesus, this is what I'm doing.
[00:33:09] Where does Jesus want you to stand up right now and go, hey, get off the mat, stand up and expect me to be there. Expect me to show up, expect me to use your pain for the blessing of others. How do you need to experience that today? We're going to transition to a time now of communion. And if you're prepared, I encourage you to use the elements that you have in your own home.
[00:33:33] And, and if not, you can just use this as a time of reflection to reflect on the invitation that each of us have, whether you have never met Jesus before, or you have been following him your whole life or anywhere in between. The invitation, when you experience the living person of Jesus is that you will forever be changed.
[00:33:54] And if you were willing to carry that healing with you, you have an incredible [00:34:00] story to tell. Let's pray together. Jesus, may we see the story that You have for each of us. Would You give us the clarity to see if we are lying down on a mat. And we are assuming the role of a victim and missing what You may have for us.
[00:34:21] Would you give us the eyes to see that You are with us in our hurts and our suffering and our pain, and You are inviting us to experience new life. And so just as this man walked out, totally dry carrying a mat with a story to tell. May you use us to talk about the healing, to talk about the ways that we've experienced You to profoundly be changed forever.
[00:34:49] And to carry that forward for the benefit of those around us, we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.