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by Kevin Rodgers
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Do you ever fail to listen when God speaks? Do you ever hear God speak, but then conveniently ignore Him? Or, do you ever question God when He speaks to you?

I myself, along with most of the people who will read this, if forced to answer truthfully, would reply with a resounding ‘YES’. But what we sometimes fail to realize is the Bible is full of people just like us who failed in this area of their lives as well. And if we will take the time to study God’s word, we can learn a lot from their mistakes.

The story of one such person is found in the 5th chapter of The Book of John. In John 5:1-15, the Bible tells the story of “The Healing at the Pool”, one of Jesus’ many miracles he performed during His ministry.

John 5: 1-5 NIV
1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie – the blind, the lame, the paralyzed – and they waited for the moving of the waters. 4 From time to time an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters. The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease he had. 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

In verse 5, we are first introduced to the object of our lesson, the paralytic. As we can see in the next verse, Jesus wastes little time before he approaches this sick man. The first words Jesus speaks is in the form of a question. “Do you want to get well?”

The question seems simple enough. It only requires an easy ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. However, verse 7 gives us a far different response from the paralytic.

John 5: 7 NIV
7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Like many of us, the paralytic ignores Jesus’ question and begins a long list of excuses.

When Jesus hears the man’s attempt to bypass the question, He tries a different approach, as seen in verse 8.

John 5:8 NIV
8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

If you will notice, just after the words ‘Get up’, an exclamation point is used…not a period. This implies that Jesus may have raised His voice to get the man’s attention, or to stop his whining.

Time after time, we all fail to listen to God’s words. And just like the paralytic, God sometimes has to be stern with us just to get our attention.

John 5:9-13 NIV
9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.” 11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’” 12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?” 13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.

In verse 9, notice what the paralytic says in response to Jesus’ command. …Keep looking. …Found it yet? …No? …That’s because he doesn’t say anything. He keeps his mouth closed and obeys Jesus’ call.

When we hear God speak, we must stop and listen with an open heart and mind. The following verse states this as simple as can be written.

Psalm 46:10 NIV
10 Be still and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.

When we finally remove ourselves from the throne of our lives and place God atop that seat, we will finally become well from the sickness of sin that plagues our lives. Because we are human, we will never be without sin; however He who lives within us will always be perfect.

We find in the conclusion of our story one last conversation between Jesus and the paralytic.

John 5:14 NIV
14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”

Jesus’ words in verse 14 come across in the way of a warning to the paralytic. It simply states that He has the power and authority to cure our sickness; however, He wants our hearts to be cured as well. Jesus words imply that the man, like us all, needs a change of heart. He needs to remove the sin from his life before something far worse than a physical handicap happens to him. In plain terms, a sinner without the Savior will suffer an excruciating eternity in the pit of Hell.

Now that we’ve examined Jesus’ exchange of words in verse 14, let’s take a closer look at how the paralytic responds to Jesus’ warning.

John 5:15 NIV
15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

Look carefully at how the paralytic responds. …Do you see it?

The paralytic lacks one important element in his response to Jesus.

John 5:15 NIV
15 The man went away
and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

Just like we do so many times, the paralytic failed to thank Jesus for healing him. Two small words ‘Thank You’, yet we all too often fail to say them. For all that Jesus did for us, is doing for us, and will do for us…Thank You shouldn’t be too hard for us to say.

As you can tell, the paralytic in this story is much like you and me. We all, at times, fail to give God a straight answer when He speaks. We also seem to ignore His voice during the most crucial times or decisions of our lives. And it is because of our disobedience that God, like to perfect parent He is, sometimes has no other choice than to reprimand us to keep us within His will.


Lord, let our hearts and minds become open to Your voice at all times. Help us hear Your words and obey them. Help us to make choices that will please You. And, even if You have to lovingly scold us, help us to stay within Your will. We love you, Lord. Amen.

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