Surrounded

Miraculous healing. How much does it happen nowadays? When was the last time you went to church or were walking the streets and saw someone who was blind receive their sight or an individual who was deaf have their hearing restored? It doesn’t seem to be happening much in our time. I wonder if it has something to do with not only our inward condition, but possibly our outward reality. Little do we know that what we are surrounded by could be affecting what God wants to surround us with.


Read John 5:1-4

The blind, lame, and paralyzed were around the pool of Bethesda for the same reason. They hoped that their situation could be fixed. Have you ever hoped God would do something about something that you did not have the power to do yourself? Have you ever felt motivated by hope? What about stagnated by hope? Tell us about it using the #MessageMag on social media. We would love to hear from you.

Read John 5:5

This man is beyond hopeful. He was stuck. The Bible says that he has been in this condition for 38 years! Maybe you have not dealt with something for four decades, but maybe there is something in which you hoped God would intervene, and it is taking longer than you expected. We would love to join you in praying about that particular circumstance. Reach us at pastorrburden@icloud.com or to (editor@messagemagazine.com), and we’d love to pray with you.

Read John 5:6

Jesus asks this man: “Do you want to get well?” If I were to put myself in those shoes I think I may have been a little irritated by the Lord. How can you ask me if I want to be well when I obviously am trying to position myself to be healed but cannot help myself? Have you ever been irritated with how it seemed God was dealing with your problems? Vent on social media using the #MessageMag

Read John 5:6

Now that we’ve gotten that off of our chest, look at the question one more time. “Do you want to get well?” Is it possible that Jesus asked the question because there was something about the context that suggested he did not have a legitimate desire to be well? Picture it: a man who cannot help himself has surrounded himself with people who cannot help themselves. So let me ask you a different question. With what kind of people have you surrounded yourself? Don’t share. Take some time and silence your phone and the television. Find silence to think about those that are in your circle that influence you and that you influence.

Read John 5:7

In response to Jesus’ question, this man said he had no one to help him into the pool. I do not believe we are to surround ourselves with people from whom we leech, but those with whom we associate have lasting effects on our direction and destination in life. That is both practically and spiritually. Are we in community with people who thirst for a more intimate relationship with Jesus? Are our friends people who have aspirations, goals, and are actively pursuing them? Read Paul’s sharp council in 1 Corinthians 15:33.

Read John 5:8

Curious, Jesus did not touch the man, nor did He make some sort of proclamation of his healing. Instead, Jesus just gave a directive. He told him to do what he waited for God to do for almost 40 years! Suddenly, with no fireworks or fanfare, this man stood up. Jesus did not take him by the hand or lift him. The man immediately had the strength to do what he wanted someone else to help him do. Yes, this was a miraculous healing, yet I wonder, if we want someone else to do what God has given us power to do ourselves in our own lives?

John 5:9-10

The man immediately picked up his mat and began to walk. He now carries as a trophy the mat that once carried him. As it may sadly be even in our times, he is not met with amazement and praise, but criticism and negativity. I would like to point out, though, that those who surround him now have changed drastically. He is no longer in the throng of people who cannot help themselves, but thronged by people who are wondering who helped him. I pray that as we move forward with our testimonies held high that we are wise about our surroundings. I pray we never forget the time that we rubbed shoulders with Jesus and He told us what we can do. 

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Rashad Burden is the pastor of the Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ozark, Alabama. He also pastors the Mt. Olive Seventh-day Adventist Church in Dothan, Alabama.

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