Reading: John 5:1-9
story of the impotent man the heart of the matter is in
verse five: "And a certain man was there, which
had been thirty and eight years in his infirmity."
the Jewish background? There is very little doubt that it
was Israel's journey in the wilderness, the thirty-eight
years of their wanderings. What cripples they were!
could have made the journey from Egypt to Canaan in
eleven days, but it took them thirty-eight years and
during that time they were really making no progress at
all. They were in bondage to their own self-life.
were impotent, helpless cripples because the self-life
was in the place of mastery.
You have no need for me to
tell you how that self-life governed them in the
They never looked at anything in the light of
how it served God and how far it satisfied His interests.
They looked at everything in the light of how it affected
All their murmuring and rebellion was because THEY
were not getting what THEY wanted.
never what God wanted. They were just a self-centered
people, and the self-life was their bed, and they were
cripples lying on that bed.
They were never really able
to get up and march straight forward into God's purpose.
that is the Jewish background, and Jesus takes up an
illustration of that right in the presence of the Jews
when He puts this man on his feet.
members of the new heavenly Israel are people who have
been delivered from self-interest into God's interest,
who have been put on their spiritual feet by Jesus Christ
and are walking in strength in the way of the Lord.
not think it is a very significant thing that the first
miracle after the Day of Pentecost was the raising of an
impotent man at the gate of the temple in Jerusalem?
These are not just pretty stories put together to make an
God knows what He is doing, and when He
makes the first miracle of the Christian era the raising
of an impotent cripple, He is saying that the people of
this new Israel are people who have been delivered from
this impotence and put on their feet spiritually.
are a lot of Christian cripples about!
They cannot get on
their own feet, nor can other people put them there. You
try to pick them up! They may take a step or two, and
then down they go again.
There are many like that, and
you can spend your life trying to get them up on their
What is it that is eating the very life out of
What is it that is making them such helpless
cripples that they cannot walk?
It is self-centeredness.
Make no mistake about it, it is self in some form.
self that wants to be taken notice of. It is self in the
form of pride.
This poor man was delivered because he
knew his own helplessness and he believed what Jesus
He believed on to Jesus Christ, which means that he
believed out of himself.
Yes, that is the secret - that
we shall turn from our miserable selves and cease to be
occupied with them, saying once and for all: 'I am done
with you, wretched self.
I throw myself on to Jesus
Christ. I take the one great step of committal.
never lets such a person down.
~T. Austin Sparks~