Sermon Transcript – The Works That Reveal Jesus’ True Identity

Series C – Sixth Sunday in Easter – Sunday, May 1, 2016 | Pr. Chris Rosebrough

Welcome to the Teaching Ministry of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church. Kongsvinger is a beacon for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is located on the plains of Northwestern Minnesota.
We proclaim Christ and Him crucified for our sins and salvation by grace through faith alone, and now, here’s a message from Pastor Chris Rosebrough:
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Time StampTranscript
0:22The holy Gospel
0:29According to Saint John chapter 5 verses 1 through 9. after this there was a feast of the Jews
0:35and Jesus went up to Jerusalem now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep gate a pool in Aramaic called Bethesda
0:42which has five roofed Colonnades and in these lay a multitude of invalids blind
0:48lame paralyzed one man was there who had been an invalid for 38 years when he saw
0:55him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time he said to him do you want to be healed the sick
1:03man answered him sir I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up and while I’m going another
1:09steps down before me Jesus said to him get up take up your bed and walk and at
1:16once the man was healed and he took up his bed and walked now that day was the
1:22Sabbath in the name of Jesus all right has anyone ever told you a
1:27joke but only told you part of the joke you know I got Midway through it and then stopped let me illustrate all right
1:33so there was a Lutheran Pastor a U.S congressman and an attorney they were adrift at Sea in a small dinghy and
1:39sharp infested waters so the pastor turns to the congressman and he says
1:47yeah I see it’s not very satisfying is it yeah by the way I don’t know how that joke ends I forgot the punch line years
1:52ago so we must move on okay now today’s Gospel text is sort of like that the
1:59makers of the lectionary sometimes do things that don’t make sense to us mere mortal pastors so I’ve decided to tell
2:06you the whole story rather than just part of it because it kind of matters it’s like I don’t want to tell you part of the story and not actually get to the
2:12punch line so in Our Gospel today we’re going to hear about the healing of a paralytic along the way we’re going to
2:20see how the place and details of the healing prefigure God’s healing work in the waters of our baptism but that’s not
2:26really the main point the main point is that on the day in which Jesus did this healing it was a Sabbath and Jesus
2:34provocatively ignored the pharisaical Sabbath restrictions and by doing so
2:39ended up revealing who he really is and that’s kind of the whole point of the story so with that we return to Our
2:44Gospel text today in the Gospel of John chapter 5 and it begins with after this there was a feast of the Jews Jesus went
2:51up to Jerusalem by the way there were three festivals which the men of Israel were
2:57required according to the Mosaic Covenant to travel to Jerusalem yeah these would be the um
3:03Passover feast of booths and also Yom Kippur the men had to show up this was
3:09absolutely necessary now funny thing this text doesn’t tell us which of these things it is so we’re not exactly sure
3:15but it does tell us this now there is in Jerusalem and you might want to say there was there is in Jerusalem by the
3:21Sheep gate a pool in Aramaic called Bethesda which has five roofed
3:27Colonnades and in these lay a multitude of invalids blind lame and paralyzed
3:33noticed at the time that this was written this place still existed right now you read the church fathers on this
3:41and it’s absolutely fascinating they can see all the biblical themes and motifs
3:46in the location itself I won’t dig hard into it but just let me give you a couple of highlights here the Sheep gate
3:53by the way this was a small opening in the north wall of the old Temple of the old wall there near the temple and this
4:00was the place where the Sheep were washed in a pool before they were well
4:06herded up to the sanctuary in order to be sacrificed for sins Bethesda this is Imperial Aramaic this
4:14isn’t even Aramaic it’s Imperial Aramaic it’s like the Queen’s Aramaic and this
4:19word means check this out House of Grace House of Mercy
4:25and then there are some who see the fact that there are five roof Colonnades as somehow a symbolic well allusioned to
4:33the Torah the five books of Moses and so what does it all mean it means
4:39pay attention something important is going on here the story then continues one man was
4:46there who had been an invalid for 38 years and when Jesus saw him lying there
4:51and knew that he had already been there a long time he said to him do you want
4:56to be healed now he’d been there a long time and notice it said there were a multitude of invalids Jesus singles this
5:04guy out now I have to explain what’s going on here so you kind of get it what
5:09you know from this text and from other texts outside of scripture there was a periodic miracle that took place in the
5:16pool of Bethesda the House of Mercy near the Sheep gate right and well what would
5:21happen is in the days before there were hospitals and hospices and good medical facilities to take care of those who
5:28suffered from such normalities that God provided a special miracle from time to
5:34time an angel would descend from heaven stir the waters up kind of like a Jacuzzi first one in is healed second
5:43one no and so this is why they were there
5:49another thing I need to make a note here there are two schools of thought regarding this man who had been there
5:56for 38 years and this fight goes way back all right let me explain Theodore
6:03of maps westia I know you all just love him and you read him every night but he
6:08was a church father who argued that the paralytic really was kind of a well a
6:15bad character if you would and that the reason why he was there for 38 years is
6:20for lack of effort on his part and he really didn’t want to be healed and in the end he ends up ratting on Jesus
6:26we’ll find this out but John christostom well he spearheaded the other school of thought and said no absolutely Jesus
6:33would never heal anybody who was allowed all right that’s kind of the basic argument and the two schools of thought
6:39exist to this day and they continue to fight with each other so I’ve decided to well not engage in the hostilities so
6:45we’ll just tell the story straight and we’ll leave this guy out it will give the details of what he’s done and I won’t try to Divine
6:53his motives well because it’s kind of not the point anyway right so here we have Jesus he asked this guy do you want
6:59to be healed so the sick man answers sir I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred and while I’m
7:06going another steps down before me now keep in mind it was God Who provided
7:11this miracle to take place so Jesus says to him get up
7:17take up your bed and walk and this man who had been an invalid for
7:2338 years at once he was healed kind of think New Creation stuff here he
7:28took up his bed and he walked and see every Miracle like this in the gospels
7:35in a sense prefigures and points to the resurrection that is coming it’s a
7:41little mini Resurrection this man has been recreated but here’s the other thing is that Jesus has this really
7:47interesting habit when he heals somebody physically he also heals them spiritually
7:52because it is our spiritual issues that have caused our physical problems and so
7:59Jesus when he heals somebody physically he also gives him faith and we’ll see this in a little bit but all of this
8:05prefigures if you would kind of in type and Shadow what’s coming and that is the miracle working God in the waters of our
8:12baptism if you think it’s cool that God provided for people to be healed of physical malates when water is stirred
8:19by an Angel well you’re going to be excited to find out what’s going on in baptism right so by comparing the two
8:25here we see that the pool in every way was a type and Shadow that pool the pool
8:31of Bethesda at the House of Mercy near the Sheep gate right was moved only once
8:36in a while while the Waters of the church’s baptism is always ready to be moved always we
8:43don’t need to wait that water well it was moved in only one place the House of
8:48Mercy this water is moved throughout the world in every truly Christian Church
8:55which are now the many houses of Christ’s Mercy
9:01there is there it was an angel which came down here it’s the Holy Spirit
9:06himself right there the water cured only one person the Waters of baptism saves many
9:12people each day that water healed the body only the
9:18Waters of baptism saves both Body and Soul
9:23right so this water is always ready to cure
9:29and those who have been baptized you have been cured your sins have been
9:34forgiven you have been washed by Christ keep that in mind now
9:41the story turns dark you know like in the movies when you get that really serious music going on you can almost
9:47hear it he starts to get dark here it says now that day was the Sabbath
9:54and the Jews said to the man who had been healed it’s the Sabbath it’s the Sabbath it’s not lawful for you to take
10:00up your bed on to the police officers
10:06I mean you can almost see like the the blue lights you know spinning right we’re taking a report here we saw a man
10:11carrying his bed on the Sabbath we have to report this right
10:16by the way it is true scripture forbade under the Mosaic Covenant work on the
10:24Sabbath notice the operative word here though work let me read to you from a couple passages of scripture Exodus 31
10:3114 and 15 says this you you shall keep the Sabbath because it’s
10:36holy everyone who profanes it shall be put to death whoever does any work on it
10:42that Soul shall be cut off from among the people six days shall work be done but the seventh day is a Sabbath solemn
10:50rest holy to the Lord whoever does any work on the Sabbath shall be put to death
10:56yeah that’s right Capital crime for breaking the Sabbath Jeremiah and Nehemiah both talk about
11:04well bearing loads on the Sabbath let’s take a look at that Jeremiah 17 19-23
11:10says this thus says the Lord go and stand in the people’s gate by which the
11:15kings of Judah enter and by which they go out and in all the Gates of Jerusalem and say hear the word of the Lord you
11:21Kings of Judah and all Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem who enter by these Gates thus says Yahweh take care
11:30for the sake of your lives that you do not bear a burden on the Sabbath day or bring it in to the Gates of Jerusalem
11:36and do not carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath or do any work but
11:42keep the Sabbath day holy as I have commanded your fathers so burden bearing as well forbidden
11:49according to scripture Nehemiah makes the same point Chapter 13 Verse 19. as
11:55soon as it began to grow dark at the Gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath I commanded that the door should be shut
12:00gave orders that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath and I stationed some of my servants at the
12:06gates that no load might be brought in on the Sabbath day now if you pay close attention to what’s
12:12going on here keep in mind back in the day these are the days before 18 wheeler trucks
12:17before freight trains and large container ships so how was Commerce
12:23conducted how did you move your merchandise you bore a load put it on the back of a
12:30wagon had your Beast of Burden pull it right that’s how this was all done this is the context here in other words the
12:37scriptures forbid burden-bearing associated with work
12:43but the Pharisees they had tightened that down even further and if you’re familiar with the Pharisees and how they
12:49worked it went kind of like this God has given us 613 Commandments we’re going to
12:55add a thousand more to that you keep our Commandments and you’ll never break gods
13:00and then you’ll be righteous so this is how this worked and so in mishnah number two
13:06we find out that the Pharisees added 39
13:12more Commandments regarding the Sabbath this is what they called the melakote this is the 40-1 I will not read the
13:20whole list but let me share with you some highlights of extra Commandments regarding the Sabbath this includes
13:26there will be no sowing plowing reaping binding sheaves threshing winnowing sorting grinding sifting needing baking
13:32shearing wool whitening wool combing wool dying wool spinning weaving making two Loops weaving two threads separating
13:38two threads right okay there’s more
13:43I’ll save you the rest but let me get to one of the 39 carrying from one domain to another
13:51any burden whatsoever hmm
13:56so was this man ordered by Jesus to sin
14:01no Jesus didn’t recognize the mishnah
14:06and the 39 extra Commandments regarding the Sabbath right so Jesus would never command this guy to
14:13sin but Jesus was being very provocative by the way by commanding the paralytic to take up his bed and walk Jesus was
14:20intentionally well trying to send a statement if you would he knew that this would create conflict and the conflict
14:25would point to his true identity which is really the whole point of this text so the man who had been well pulled over
14:34by the authorities and was now being ticketed right he answered them all right the man who
14:40healed me that is the man who said to me take up your bed and walk so with police cap on
14:47its side they asked him well who’s the man that said this to you take up your
14:53bed and walk we have to file a report right now the man who had been healed did not
14:59know who it was for Jesus had withdrawn and there was a crowd in that place
15:06pause what’s going on in the text here it says the word afterward the Greek is probably
15:11better translated after some time so after all of this goes down things
15:17have settled down a little bit if you would after some time Jesus found this fellow in the temple notice Jesus is
15:24looking for him because Jesus didn’t just heal his body Jesus also gave him Faith so he finds
15:31him in the temple and Jesus wants to care for this man spiritually so he said to him
15:37see you are well sin no more so that nothing worse might
15:43happen to you now those are some strong words but keep
15:48this in mind it is absolutely true that we are totally forgiven of all of our sins by
15:54Jesus Christ and scripture warns us very sternly to not turn the gospel into a
16:01license to sin in other words it doesn’t work like this I like to sin a lot sin’s
16:07kind of fun cool right Jesus likes to forgive sins wow this is great
16:13so I’m going to just send like there’s no tomorrow live like hell oh and Jesus
16:18is going to keep me from going to hell yay this is fantastic see that’s not how that works
16:25okay and here’s the reason why
16:30forgiveness of sins presupposes repentance for sins
16:36sin is not freedom sin is slavery
16:41sin is likened to and described by scripture as the fruitless Deeds of
16:46darkness and you know why they’re fruitless because it’s all about you
16:53I’m going to look out for me I like to do this I want to do this I
16:59deserve this therefore I’m going to go ahead and take care of myself forget about my neighbor
17:04forget about my wife my husband my friends my family I gotta look out
17:10for number one or as Frank Sinatra said I Did It My Way
17:16right but see Jesus tells us here and he warns
17:22us through this man do not continue in sin
17:27do not continue in sin sin is not your friend
17:33sin desires to master you to enslave you and then drag you into the fires of hell
17:39for what is worse than 38 years of being a paralytic
17:44what’s worse than that in eternity in the Lake of Fire is what’s worse than
17:51that so Jesus lovingly and firmly
17:57tells this man you are well you’ve been forgiven
18:03do not continue in sin so that nothing worse might happen to you
18:08Gregory of Nancy anzas another great Church Father his sermons are fantastic
18:14he summarizes Jesus’s words this way kind of a paraphrase
18:19yesterday you were flung on a bed you were exhausted you were paralyzed and you had no one when the water should be
18:26troubled to put you into the pool today you have him who is the one person man and God or
18:34rather God and man you were raised up now from your bed or rather you took up
18:39your bed and you publicly acknowledged the benefit of this so do not again be thrown upon your bed
18:45by sinning and an evil rest in the body that is paralyzed by its pleasures
18:52but as you now are so walk mindful of the command behold Thou Art made whole
19:00sin no more lest something worse happen to you and thus prove yourself bad after having
19:06received such a blessing as that wise words and so understand this
19:15Christ truly bled and died for your sins and when you pray the Lord’s Prayer which is a Daily Prayer by the way
19:21how do I know oh the words give us this day our daily bread I sometimes fear
19:26that if I don’t pray the Lord’s Prayer every day my refrigerator is going to get empty okay and that would be terrible for me okay
19:34but also in that daily prayer are these words forgive us our trespasses as we
19:40forgive those who trespass against us and so here’s kind of the mystery of being a Christian is that Christ does
19:48understand and anticipates that you will not keep his law perfectly daily
19:55this is true and it is also true that the gospel is not a license for you to sin
20:02and carry after and chase after sin the Christian Life is one of repentance
20:09and repentance is not a one-time thing repentance is daily
20:15acknowledging that we have not made the mark we have fallen short
20:20and in our need of God’s mercy and favor hating our sin itself
20:27and mortifying our sinful flesh through the means of Grace through the word of God
20:34through the Lord’s Supper through the absolution right so that the new man continues to
20:41come forth day after day so
20:46hearing Jesus say these words go and sin no more and this is where the controversy really heats up on the two
20:53camps by the way the man went away and told the Jews it was Jesus who had healed them
20:58theater of maps wistia so see see he ratted on Jesus and I tend to agree but
21:05the other side said no he was just announcing okay whatever he went and told the
21:12authorities hey you know the guy who healed me on the Sabbath it was Jesus thank you we’ll take care of it from
21:18here right now to be sure the action of Jesus in
21:23contravening The Jewish Sabbath strictures the additional rules if you would he was being intentionally
21:29provocative in commanding the healed paralytic to carry his palate in and of itself which is an unnecessary task
21:35Jesus was intentionally uh provocative and well what he was trying to do by his
21:41actions was claimed to have the freedom and Authority well over the Sabbath because remember
21:47in other passages Jesus says he’s the lord of the Sabbath oh and by the way the Sabbath was made for man
21:55not the other way around right so it says this in the text then this is why
22:00the Jews were persecuting Jesus because he was doing these things on the Sabbath
22:06now here’s kind of the irony of this let’s do the math all right a guy who’s an invalid for 38 years
22:1238 years unable to care for himself seeking a healing from God is there at
22:18the pool of Bethesda near the Sheep gate right Jesus himself shows up not an angel and
22:24he heals the guy he tells him to take up his bed and walk and he does
22:30and rather than say praise God there’s been a miracle Among Us here’s how their math Works Jesus heals guy on Sabbath
22:37equals blasphemy he must die
22:42that math doesn’t add up and plus I’ve already told you math is evil right
22:48yeah but see that’s the thing the religion of self-righteousness hates
22:54Jesus because he has this really bad habit of not obeying our self-made rules
23:01really bad habit and that’s his prerogative by the way and that’s kind of the whole point of
23:06this text so Jesus answered them my father is working until now
23:13and I am working you’re thinking what did he just say well let me kind of explain it this way
23:20because we’re getting now to the punch line you see you read in Genesis
23:25Genesis 2 after God spends six days speaking the world into existence
23:31it says this on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done and he rested on the seventh day from all of
23:36his work that he had done so God blessed the seventh day made it holy because on it God rested from all of his work that
23:41he had done now if you really want to be blunt kind of using biblical typology we’re still really still in that seventh
23:48day we’re still in God’s Sabbath rest but Jesus is saying that God is still
23:54working and that he’s working too so let me ask you this
23:59by God working is he sinning let me put it to me another way the
24:04Sabbath technically is on Saturday it begins at sunset on Friday ends at sunset on Saturday does God close up
24:12shop in heaven you know like they do some of the stores in town right sorry be back on Sunday
24:19if you have any prayers hold on to them I’m not answering any prayers on Saturday
24:25is this how God works no does God sin by answering prayers on
24:31Saturday is that not work right yeah well it is I would think it’s
24:38a lot more work than I’ve ever done right so because of the fact that God doesn’t
24:43stop working on any particular day of the work and is continuing to work until now which by the way the Jews if you
24:50read their literature they understood that God still continued to work even on the Sabbath and yet did so without sin
24:56Jesus is basically taking their concept and saying my father is working until now and I am working you know why
25:05because I’m God and you know what they get it they actually get it here’s what
25:10the text then says this was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Jesus
25:17which doesn’t make any sense here’s the reason why because not only was he breaking the
25:22Sabbath which he wasn’t but he was even calling himself calling
25:30God his own father making himself equal with God
25:36and there’s the punch line all of this kind of the long wave
25:42through the Sheep gate into the pool you know a House of Mercy and five Colonnades and all of this rigmarole
25:49with the police and the police report and then finally we get to the punch line the punch line is Jesus was making
25:54himself equal with God and why would he do that
26:00because he is and see that’s kind of how Jesus operates you will never see in scripture where Jesus just comes right
26:06out and says all right listen boys I want to make sure we get this out in the clear are you ready I’m God
26:13Tada right you don’t see it like that instead what ends up happening is that Jesus invites you to wrestle with things
26:20for instance like in Mark 2 the paralytic is let down through the roof and Jesus says to the paralytic your
26:26sins are forgiven first thing out of his mouth and the Jews are grumbling who can forgive sins except for God himself
26:33and Jesus is all right so that you know that I have authority
26:39to forgive sins I tell you take up your mat and walk and the paralytic gets up and he walks there you go
26:45and you’re sitting there going wait a second did he just say that he’s right and then you think about the
26:51disciples they’re on this little boat out in the middle of the sea the waves come up the wind is blowing and Howling
26:57and they’re about to perish and where’s Jesus he’s asleep right and they wake him up don’t you care that we’re
27:02perishing and he says shh quiet to the waves and
27:07it goes and they’re going who is this he’s acting like he’s got wait a second
27:15maybe right see Jesus is doing that here too regarding the Sabbath
27:21and this is good news for us because look how God is acting
27:26he has not come in his first Advent to swing his Sword of Justice he has not
27:32come to cut you down and add your blood to the blood of the well the apocalypse
27:39right the great day of Armageddon where the blood is up to the Bridle of the Horse no
27:46he’s come instead to shed his blood for you he’s come to heal he’s come to forgive this Jesus is Lord
27:54of the Sabbath he’s equal with God because he is God and this Jesus he has washed you
28:03he has forgiven you he has made you well and he like the father is working now to
28:11save you he is feeding you even now with his word sustaining you in the one true Faith
28:17unto life Everlasting today we hear the story of God’s amazing mercy and Grace in This House of Mercy I
28:27have no idea what Kong’s vinger means I think I’ll translate it my own make up my own Norwegian it now means House of
28:32Mercy right this is the very house where so
28:37many of you were made alive when the spirit stirred the Waters of this very baptismal font
28:44and this and it is this Jesus who’s equal with the father he is our Passover Lamb who has passed
28:52to the Sheep pool in his baptism as he journeyed to the Temple Mount to be
28:58sacrificed for your sins and mine and it wasn’t an angel that saved us
29:05there was none other than the Son of God himself equal with the father
29:10and because we have been set free because we have been forgiven because we have been washed because we have been
29:16given Faith all as gift let us then again repent of our sins
29:22and be forgiven and because of this renounced the fruitless Deeds of Darkness
29:28so that something worse may not befall us in the name of Jesus
29:33amen [Music]
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