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Get Off The Porch?

images-47Rev. Carmen Walker
John 5:1-30 NIV

1After these things there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes. 3In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, [waiting for the moving of the waters; 4for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.] 5A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get well?” 7The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” 8Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” 9Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk. Now it was the Sabbath on that day. 10So the Jews were saying to the man who was cured, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet.” 11But he answered them, “He who made me well was the one who said to me, ‘Pick up your pallet and walk.'” 12They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Pick up your pallet and walk’?” 13But the man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away while there was a crowd in that place. 14Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.” 15The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”18For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. 19Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. 20″For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. 21″For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. 22″For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, 23so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. 24″Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. 25″Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26″For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 28″Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. 30″I can do nothing on My own initiative As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

During this season of introspection God is requiring us to be changed. Change, however makes us vulnerable and transparent because in order for it to happen we have to walk away from the sympathy of those around us and take responsibility for ourselves and our condition.
Gathered among those who had all manner of ailments was one who was unable to make his way to the pool. I am not sure why Jesus to paused and noticed him in the crowd but when he did Jesus asked him a simple question, “Do you want to be healed?” It seems like the answer would be so obvious! But then I thought about what Jesus was really asking. Do you want to stop being blind, lame, deaf, insane and infirmed? Beloved, do you want to stop expecting others to help you do what only God can do for you? Do you want the freedom that is born out of walking this path God paved for you? Jesus’ real question is the same one he asks us today, “Do you really want to change?”
After listening to the man’s excuse, Jesus responds with an answer for us all. Get up and walk! In other words, if you really want to be changed you are going to have to get off the porch! Stop laying around waiting for change to happen-Do something! Stop hanging out on the fringes and draw closer to God. Get Off The Porch!

Rev. Carmen Walker
Pastor, Mt. Zion AME Church-Opelika
Opelika, AL
www.mtzioname.org



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