날짜: 2018년 10월 7일
제목: 주님을 바라보아야 합니다
올리브연합감리교회 김배선 목사
20181007 Sunday Worship Sermon
Set your eyes upon Jesus
It is important to gather at church.
We should gather together as much as possible.
The Bible says that we need to encourage everyone to meet together.
This is a way to grow in faith.
It is said that the Lord does not ignore those who gather in the name of the Lord.
In Matthew 18:20, Jesus said,
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
This is why we need to gather together.
In doing so, we must understand that we have to gather in groups with our focus on Jesus.
There are various meetings in a church.
We have small group meetings, men’s group, women’s group, senior’s group, and other meetings that are endorsed by the church.
We should gather often.
However, our meetings should be Jesus-centered.
We should not forget that our meetings should be centered on Jesus.
Of course, social gatherings are also important to make intimate relationships among church members.
However, we need to remember that the importance of having Jesus as our focus in these meetings.
Jesus went to Jerusalem during the Passover, a Jewish holiday.
It was a tradition for all Jews to visit Jerusalem for the holiday season because the holy temple is in Jerusalem.
When Jesus visited Jerusalem, there were a lot of people.
They gathered at the Jerusalem temple.
Although Jesus was there, He was not the focus of this gathering.
As such, Jesus was ignored.
Instead of staying at the temple, Jesus went to the pool of Bethesda.
It was considered to be one of the bigger ponds in Jerusalem.
And there were five covered colonnades called Solomon’s Porch.
These covered colonnades turned out to be gathering locations for the sick people who believed a legend.
According to this legend, people who were sick will be healed if they are the first one to jump into the pool when the water stirred as an angel descended upon the pool.
All the people stricken with sicknesses gathered around the pool based on vague expectation.
Their eyes were fixated on the pool.
They did not care about anything else.
They were completely preoccupied.
Jesus came to the pool where the sick gathered.
Jesus, the One who could cure them all came to the pool.
However, no one looked at Jesus.
No one received Jesus as the One who could solve every problem and cure every sickness.
They did not even realize that the Son of God was nearby because they were so focused on the pool.
They were only concerned when the water was stirred.
I think we are the same as these people who gathered around the pool.
I am sure that we are identical to these people, as we too expect our problems and issues to be solved in a worldly manner rather than in Jesus’ way.
What were they thinking as they were staring at the pool?
They might be thinking how they can be the first one to jump into the water.
They saw those people around them as their competition.
They did not see each other as someone that they can share their suffering and pain.
They did not see them as someone who needed their help.
To survive, they had to compete and win against their brothers and sisters that were suffering as they were.
What about us?
Are we any different than these people?
Jesus told us to love one another as ourselves.
Do we live by Jesus’ teaching?
Isn’t it true that we sought out once or twice to trample our neighbors in order to stand on top of them?
Isn’t it true that we ignored our neighbors even though we knew that they needed our assistance?
We can realize that we are not so different than the people that were gathered at the Pool of Bethesda.
Among the people, there was a man who has suffered for 38 years.
He was so sick, he couldn’t’ do anything without other’s help.
This man probably was seen by many doctors.
He most likely has used various medications.
However, no doctor nor medicine could cure him.
This is why he finally came to this pool expecting that if he can be the first one into the water before all others, he may be miraculously cured from his sickness.
But it was impossible for this man to jump in the water before others.
During my ministry, I have met many people like this person.
They come to the church as their last resort after failing in their countless attempts to solve their problems.
Just like this man who could not jump into the water fast enough, there are people that have decided to come before Jesus as their last option.
Of course, this is also grace.
But the sad thing is that these people just cannot sever their ties to their worldly hope.
Many of these people pray to Jesus asking for His help.
They ask the Lord to give them one more chance to succeed.
They ask Jesus of this so that they can go back to where they came from.
The man at the pool had the same mentality.
Jesus asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
This was a very important question.
Our Lord is asking the same question to us.
“Do you want to get well?”
Here, Jesus is asking all of us whether we have hope.
Without hope, we are dead.
If we don’t have hope, even God Almighty cannot help.
Fortunately, this man did not give up his hope yet.
He still hoped to be well.
He desired to be cured.
However, his hope was misplaced.
His answer can be found in verse 7.
“Sir, 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.”
Who asked this man this question?
It was Jesus Christ.
Jesus was standing in front of this man, asking whether he wanted to get well.
However, this man, not realizing to whom he was speaking continued to focus on the pool.
He believed that the pool was the only solution.
He truly believed that his only chance to walk again was to wait for the angel to descend upon the pool.
So, this man was asking Jesus to help him get in the water when it is stirred.
Instead of asking Jesus to cure him, the man was asking Jesus to physically help him to get in the water before others.
This is a truly sad situation.
Who is he talking to?
He was talking to Jesus who is almighty.
He was talking to Jesus who could solve all his problems.
Rather than asking Jesus to cure his sickness, he was asking Jesus to assist him into the pool.
Brothers and sisters, what about us?
We often ask our Lord to help us based on our plan.
We often ask God to help us to solve difficult problems, and let us do the rest according to our plan because we tend to think that we know our problems better than God.
However, this is not right.
If we truly believe that Jesus is the Lord of our lives, we should leave everything to Jesus.
We should follow and obey the will of the Lord.
Miracles always happen when we obey.
Jesus continued to speak to this man,
“Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
If this man did not have a desire to obey these words, what could have been his reply?
“Sir, are you kidding me? Do you think I like not being able to walk? Don’t you think I would like to get up right now and walk around?”
He could have complained to Jesus if that was the case.
What about us?
Haven’t you ever ignored God’s instructions?
When the Lord taught us to get up, did we ever complain?
Let us reflect and ask whether we've ever complained or ignored when Jesus provided us with answers to our problems.
If you have, this is why you have not experienced miracles yet.
This man who couldn’t move for 38 years got up and walked without anyone’s help.
He was able to walk again because he believed.
If you don’t believe, nothing will happen in your life.
When you decide to obey as it is God’s will and His words, you will see miracles in front of your very eyes.
Jesus told the man to get up from his mat.
What does the mat represent?
It is everything he possessed.
For 38 long years, he depended on the mat.
Do you have a mat that you depend on?
I am sure that we all have a mat and we consider it as everything that we have and we rely on it as if our very lives depend on it.
You may think that you cannot survive without it, but in the eyes of Jesus, the mat is what is holding us back.
Jesus knows that we can be truly free when we get rid of the mat.
The pool of Bethesda represents the world that we live in.
Those who gathered around the pool represent all of us.
The Lord is the one who gave us life, but people stare only at the pool of Bethesda as if our lives depend on it.
The pool of Bethesda represents our desire to be successful, our thirst for money, fame, knowledge, and power.
Therefore, most people are looking only at the pool of Bethesda.
We mistakenly believe that our problems will be solved when we get into there.
However, we know that this is far from the truth.
This belief is a mere illusion.
Our problems will never be solved that way.
In verse 14, Jesus says,
“See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”
This shows that the sickness was closely related to his sins.
Of course, this man never thought that he was sick because of his sins.
He searched for a cause somewhere else.
He blamed those that were able to jump into the water before him.
It was because no one helped him.
It was because someone else was faster than he was.
But now we know that his problem was with him.
It was because he did not resolve his sinfulness.
What about you?
Have you ever blamed someone else because of your unsolved problems?
Have you ever thought your failures are because other did not help you?
I would like to say that our problems that we are facing and have faced are the result of the blocked path to Jesus, to His grace.
Because of our sinful nature, because of our worldly desires and greed, because of our foolishness, we just cannot be free as there is no room in our hearts for God’s grace.
To solve our problems, we must remove our sinfulness, our greed, our bad habits, and everything that prevents us from obeying the Lord.
Brothers and sisters, are you facing problems?
Are there invisible walls that are preventing you from going anywhere?
For this to happen, your eyes need to be placed on Jesus.
Instead of staring at the pool, you need to fix your eyes upon Jesus who is right next to you.
And you have to listen and obey His words.
Put your worldly desires and greed behind you.
Look at Jesus, our Lord.
Obey His words.
Get up from your mat.
Then, a new life will open up in front of your very eyes.
When we set our eyes upon Jesus, faithfully listen to and obey His words, we will experience countless miracles and we will be able to stand tall in our lives. Amen.