When you picture the character and life of Jesus what do you see? When you look at the ministry of Jesus, how would you describe his approach? Would you say he demonstrated compassion and patience with people struggling with incurable diseases? Would you say he always led with grace and love? Would you say he was kind to everyone?
In short, his approach to ministry was never predictable. How he healed and performed miracles was different with different circumstances. How he acted and treated people was different with different people.
Jesus was not always kind and compassionate. Sometimes Jesus never led with grace but was shockingly blunt. So blunt that if someone today approached a person like Jesus did, they would find it offensive and rude at best.
In the 5th chapter of John, Jesus has an encounter with a man who had an infirmity for 38 years with no intention of ever getting well. This man would hang out by a pool that someone would get healed every day when an angel from heaven would touch the water and the first person in the water after it was touched was healed. For 38 years this man never made his way into the water although he was at the pool every day.
Jesus approaches this man and scripture tells us that Jesus saw him and knew of his condition. That’s important because Jesus was well aware of this man’s condition physically and mentally.
When you put all 28 words of Jesus that he communicated to this man together, it defies logic. It defies sympathetic and grace filled approaches, all sensitivity, and definitely all-political correctness. Here is the transcript of the 28 words of Jesus talking to the man at the pool.
Do you want to get well? Get up, pick up your mat, and walk. See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.
In short, Jesus heals the man and tells him to “Stop It.” The man never said he wanted to get well and gave Jesus an excuse when he was asked the question. Jesus didn’t pray for him, nor did he hug or embrace him, nor did he say something kind and compassionate.
Jesus was blunt and truthful. Jesus was direct and gave this man the best advice with the perfect 28 words that man could and would ever hear in his life.
This is a great picture of how Jesus knows exactly what to say and do for someone who was in denial and never wanted to get well. The amazing thing about this story is that Jesus still heals the man but not without instruction and a stern warning. Get up, pick up your mat, and walk. At once the man was healed and walking. Then at their next encounter Jesus tells the man to “Stop It.” Stop sinning or something worse will happen to you.
Jesus breaks all the rules of how to do ministry in this story. It is a good reminder that there are no formulas when it comes to ministry and how to minister to others.
There are times when we need to tell people what they need to hear and not what they want to hear. Stop it!
I hope you will join us at Encounter tonight for a special talk titled, “Stop It.” It is going to be a special night with our good friend Aaron Kellim leading us in worship. I look forward to seeing you all there. This will be a great night to invite and bring a friend.
Be Blessed and Encouraged