Faith Chapel

Are You Really Sure?

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Don Pate


Series Code: FC

Program Code: FC000024

00:29 Hello, my friend, and welcome.
00:31 Welcome to a time of spending a few minutes with Jesus
00:34 and what better time could we invest ourselves in,
00:39 than spending time with Jesus.
00:41 I'm so glad that you've joined me.
00:42 I'm Don Pate from "Between the Lines"
00:45 and it's my sincere privilege to be granted this opportunity
00:48 to take you into the word,
00:51 to spend a few minutes with Jesus.
00:53 I invite you to pray with me.
00:55 Father, thank you so much for the rich experiences
01:00 that we find in the life and ministry of Christ.
01:04 How He was born and He lived a life
01:07 and such a life for us, and then died and rose again.
01:12 And we pray now that is
01:13 we go back into the experiences of His life
01:18 that they would become real and vibrant
01:21 that the ministry of the gospels
01:24 would be energized in our lives today.
01:28 This is our prayer in the name of Jesus, Amen.
01:34 I don't know if some of the gospel stories
01:37 to you seem old, old for two reasons.
01:42 Number one, old
01:43 because it was couple of thousand years ago, old.
01:48 It is really is distant from our experience.
01:51 This is not contemporary, man.
01:54 And some times we tent to look at the biblical stories,
01:57 the stories of all of the Old and the New Testament
02:00 but primarily we're dealing with the gospels here.
02:04 The events of the ministry of Jesus
02:05 and we tent to, you know,
02:07 categorized them back off into the dusty past,
02:11 the dim past.
02:12 And we look at them we say, well that sweet,
02:15 that's nice and I appreciate Jesus.
02:18 But we have a hard time bringing these events
02:21 forward into the present reality of the grind
02:25 and the challenge of your life today.
02:27 I don't know if you have that problem.
02:29 Many, many people do.
02:30 But some people also then, categorize the stories
02:34 as being sort of they mentally block it,
02:36 that the stories are old in that,
02:39 "Huh, you know, I've heard that one before.
02:41 And I've heard that one before."
02:43 And ever since I've heard that one before
02:45 and so we tend to-- sometimes it considered them old
02:48 because they've lost their power,
02:50 they've lost their-- because we've heard it
02:52 so many times before.
02:53 There's the great old gospel hymn
02:55 "Tell me the old, old story.
02:58 Tell me the old, old--"
03:00 and sometimes it just becomes old, old story.
03:05 Well, I have a passion for my life
03:09 and it's a little selfish, I confess, yes,
03:12 it's a privilege for me to be able to do it
03:14 for my congregation, for me to do it
03:16 through the ministry "Between the Lines"
03:17 everyday around the world.
03:18 But a lot of it is-- I'm sorry it's selfish.
03:21 It is precious to me personally to go back
03:25 into the gospel events and find someway to have them
03:31 move forward to become a present living
03:36 vibrant breathing experience that I can grapple with
03:41 and I can put myself in sort of on the side of the story
03:43 and stand there and almost feel like I'm there.
03:46 Like I'm in the sandals of the crowd,
03:48 observing Jesus and that's a passion with me.
03:52 And I hope that you have the same desire
03:56 that Jesus-- that you could
03:58 almost feel Him breathe with you.
04:02 It isn't that a precious thought?
04:04 Well, let's spend time in the text,
04:05 just a few minute with Jesus
04:07 and see if can have that happen for us today.
04:10 I'd invite you to take your Bibles
04:11 and turn to the Gospel of John.
04:14 Now, John of course wrote his gospel by his own admission.
04:19 Now he can freely confesses it.
04:21 He wrote his gospel for intention,
04:23 there was a certain reason.
04:24 He says, at the beginning of the book
04:26 and the end the book both he says,
04:28 "look there are some stories you haven't heard about Jesus
04:31 and I want to fill in the gaps."
04:33 That Matthew, you know,
04:35 he said some great things about Jesus.
04:38 Told you some wonderful stories
04:40 and Mark also gave a little bit of an angle
04:42 that Matthew had not given you.
04:43 And Luke, he brought something to the table
04:46 that the other two did not.
04:47 But still there's more for you to know
04:51 and so John decidedly after the other gospels were written
04:54 came in to sort of filling the blanks
04:56 and put some pieces into the puzzle
04:58 that we haven't seen upto this point.
05:02 As a result the gospel of John for several reasons
05:05 is incredibly precious to most Christians.
05:08 One is it is so simple, it is so simple.
05:12 If you know much about the language Hebrew or Greek.
05:15 You know that whenever you teach somebody
05:18 German or Portuguese or something,
05:20 you always start with the very elementary
05:22 basics of the language.
05:24 In English we have a sort of colloquial Dick and Jane,
05:28 the Dick and Jane books.
05:29 Those first little grammar school
05:32 elementary readers that--well, it was Dick and Jane, you know,
05:35 and there is with in the text of the Bible itself.
05:39 There are some books that are Dick and Jane,
05:42 as far as the language goes in the Old Testament,
05:45 predominantly when you read the Old Testament.
05:48 If you were to do it in the original language
05:50 in the Hebrew, you would find that
05:52 most often when you take Hebrew
05:53 one of the first books they're going to have you wrestle with
05:55 and translate is the little book of Ruth,
06:00 because Ruth is just Dick and Jane.
06:02 It's very simple language
06:04 were as then you get into the more complex language
06:07 later on as you become more adapt in Hebrew.
06:10 You get into issues of Isaiah.
06:12 You get into the problematic passage
06:14 of the story of Jonah Chapter 3 and Chapter 2
06:19 especially even more than three.
06:21 There are some very difficult Hebrew there.
06:23 So you move as you become more experience.
06:26 Well, in the New Testament you have the same thing in Greek.
06:29 In the New Testament, you have difficult passages
06:32 of well, you know, who? Paul.
06:34 Our friend, Paul, very challenging language
06:38 in many, many places,
06:40 but you're not gonna get that from John.
06:42 John is Dick and Jane Greek.
06:45 And it even comes out in the translations that way.
06:49 It is so simple and therefore many of us
06:52 it is so heart warming because of the lack of complexity
06:57 of the Book of John,
06:59 and the writings of John later on, of course in 1, 2, 3 John.
07:02 Now when you get to Revelation
07:03 that--that's a whole different story,
07:05 because of the package of what Revelation represents.
07:09 But in the language the Gospel of John is your--
07:12 It's your elementary school reader
07:14 of the Bible text of the New Testament.
07:19 One thing that happens though,
07:21 because it's so simple is John doesn't loose
07:24 a whole lot of sleep over chronology.
07:26 If you want to find out, Jesus did this then He did this,
07:31 then he did this, then he did this,
07:33 then he did this, probably go to the gospel of Mark.
07:37 Mark, it seems to be the most chronological
07:40 and will keep you some what in order of event.
07:44 Matthew isn't quite as concerned.
07:46 Luke is decidedly less concerned.
07:48 And John doesn't even know what the word means.
07:50 You know, it just, it doesn't matter to him,
07:52 but he admits that.
07:53 He says, look, I'm not here to put this
07:55 all in perfect order for you.
07:56 I'm here to just randomly throw some stories
07:58 at you that you haven't heard otherwise.
08:01 In John, we find a story
08:04 that is uniquely decidedly John chapter 5.
08:09 A story about a man at the pool of Bethesda.
08:14 Let's begin in the text.
08:15 John Chapter 5 verse 1.
08:17 After this sometime after the--
08:20 what I was just telling you about,
08:21 John seems to say, you know,
08:23 that sometimes later down the line.
08:25 "There was a feast of the Jews,
08:28 and Jesus went up to Jerusalem."
08:29 It was one of the pilgrimage festivals.
08:31 You probably know that there were three pilgrimage festivals
08:35 that were three times of the year
08:36 that Jews were expected to come--the faithful,
08:41 the observant, we're expected to come to Jerusalem
08:44 to participate in the ritual.
08:46 To draw near, the central core of Judaism, the temple.
08:53 And as a result Jesus faithfully
08:56 went to the pilgrimage festivals.
08:58 Hey, He was supposed to and it was important to him.
09:01 And so Jesus went up to Jerusalem and in Jerusalem,
09:04 verse 2 of John Chapter 5.
09:07 "In Jerusalem there is, by the sheep market"
09:10 now that's terribly important, by the sheep market,
09:14 "there is a pool which in the Hebrew tongue
09:17 was called Bethesda," having five porches,
09:20 house of the five, five porches, by the sheep market.
09:25 And there was a great multitude, verse 3--
09:27 there were a whole lot of people around there
09:29 and you probably know why.
09:31 It's a famous story, because--verse 4 says,
09:34 there was this legend, superstition, some expectation.
09:38 There was this legend that an angel would come
09:41 and stir the waters and that if you're the first one
09:44 into the water that you would be miraculously healed.
09:47 Now, where'd they come up with that, who knows?
09:49 You know, it did, somebody one day accidentally,
09:53 you know, they were healed by some
09:55 and somebody said it was an angel and some, you know.
09:57 Who know how the legend evolved.
10:00 But the truth is that this was a known rumor
10:04 related to the pool, "That an angel would go down
10:07 at a certain season" verse 4,
10:09 "and into the pool and would troubled the waters,"
10:11 stirred up, troubled the water, "and whoever was the first"
10:15 after the troubling of the water,
10:17 whoever got into the water first will be cured.
10:22 He stepped in, he was made
10:23 a whole of whatever disease he had.
10:26 Now, now comes the focus of the story,
10:30 the central character.
10:32 "A certain man was there" verse 5,
10:35 "a certain man was there
10:36 who had an infirmity 38 years," 38 years.
10:44 In our culture today, in our world today
10:46 that sort of half a lifetime.
10:50 In the Roman world,
10:52 it was a lot more than half a life time.
10:54 You may not know that in the Roman Empire
10:56 the average lifespan apparently was 44.
11:01 This man's a senior citizen in his world.
11:06 Thirty eight years by the side of the pool.
11:11 And you have to know after 38 years this man,
11:16 he's figure this thing out.
11:18 There is no miracle of angel.
11:21 So why would he stay? Well, think about it.
11:25 It's already expressed in the story,
11:27 number one that it's close to the temple.
11:32 The man is staying in some proximity to the temple.
11:34 Is that because he fully believes
11:36 that if I just stay near the temple
11:38 some day God is gonna heal me? May be,
11:43 but it's also not a bad place to hit people up,
11:47 if you want them to be generous.
11:51 If somebody is coming, you know, into the church
11:55 and they want to impress God,
11:58 they certainly don't want to reject
12:00 one of God's little children,
12:01 just outside the door of the church.
12:05 If you want to impress God you, you know,
12:06 dig a little deeper and right there at the house,
12:10 at the door of the house.
12:12 There's some logic to this that why people who were beggars,
12:16 the broken would gather near the temple.
12:19 I'm not so convinced that it was because they felt
12:21 some aura of the temple would meet their need.
12:24 It was a whole lot more--the people
12:26 were coming into the temple, who had to impress God,
12:29 would meet their need.
12:31 He remained, he'd been there for 38 years, 38 long years.
12:39 Now do you remembe what I already shared with you.
12:41 I wanted you to remember from verse 2,
12:45 it was by the sheep market.
12:49 That's terribly important in the story.
12:53 The sheep gate in the Jerusalem temple was on the North side.
13:00 The pool of Bethesda was on the North side.
13:04 If some guilty sinner came from up in the Galilee
13:09 to come to make sacrifice at the temple,
13:12 you know, very few of them would come dragging a lamb along.
13:17 Very few of them would bring their sacrifice with them
13:20 and it's a whole lot easier just to come to Jerusalem
13:23 to get to Jerusalem and purchase it there.
13:26 That was pretty inconvenient, you know,
13:27 if you're potter you don't have a lot of lambs,
13:29 you're not a Sheppard in any way.
13:30 If you're a scribe you don't own lambs.
13:33 I mean, there had to be a place where a person could go
13:36 to have access to purchase the sacrifice.
13:40 But you know from the gospel stories
13:42 two events on the front of the ministry of Jesus
13:45 and the back of the ministry of Jesus.
13:47 Jesus said, this is corrupt,
13:49 that even the process of the purchase
13:52 of the sacrificial animals was just vicious,
13:57 in devastating the people, it was a rip off.
14:01 Now what appears to have happened
14:04 was that they would hit people coming and going,
14:06 if we use that sort of vernacular
14:08 that idiomatic expression got him coming and going.
14:10 Some poor sinner would come to the temple
14:12 without a sacrifice knowing that he needed to approach God
14:15 to make sacrifice that was the law.
14:17 He would come to the sheep gate,
14:19 to the sheep market region and he would,
14:22 you know, negotiate.
14:23 Now, let's take it even little farther.
14:25 Suppose you did have somebody who had his own lamb.
14:28 This is apparently, according to history
14:30 this is apparently what happened.
14:32 He would bring his little lamb,
14:33 he'd come up to the gate of the temple ready to go
14:36 and sacrifice with this little lamb
14:38 and a priest might step forward and say,
14:39 oh, well, it's nice to have you here today,
14:41 it's wonderful to have you here today,
14:42 are you here to sacrifice?
14:43 And the poor penitent would say, "oh yes I am."
14:47 Oh, I see you brought a lamb. "Yes, I did."
14:50 Has your lamb been inspected? Is it fit?
14:53 Is it kosher? Is it approved?
14:56 "Well, it looks like a good lamb to me, I don't know."
14:59 And so the priest might reach down
15:01 and start groping around on the lamb.
15:04 Now you remember it was to be a lamb
15:06 in order for sacrifice to be appropriate,
15:08 it was to be an animal with out blemish.
15:11 Now the mission that defines that to be
15:14 without permanent deformity apparently
15:17 it wasn't that the lamb couldn't have a little scratch
15:19 or a little dirt smudge on his nose.
15:22 But it could have no permanent deformity
15:25 that was the definition of without blemish.
15:29 So the priest potentially could reach around
15:31 and grope around on the lamb and say,
15:32 "oh, my, feel this"
15:35 and the sinner the poor little penitent could reach down
15:37 and feel on his lamb and there would a little bump there on it.
15:40 "Oh, I didn't know that was there."
15:41 vNow of course it could have been any thing, could be spleen.
15:44 I mean how many people know how to feel the spleen on a lamb?
15:51 "I'm sorry you have a permanent deformity here.
15:55 You're not gonna be able to sacrifice this lamb."
15:57 "Oh, I came all the way down from the Galilee,
15:59 you know, what do you expect me to do?"
16:02 "Well, we happened have some over here for sale."
16:06 "Oh, what am I gonna do with my lamb?"
16:08 "Look, let me give you a--half a shekel for your little lamb
16:12 and you know we'll sell it in the market place.
16:15 And at least in won't be a complete waste."
16:18 And so potentially the priest then would,
16:20 you know, give him a half a shekel
16:21 and the man would go over to the market place over here
16:24 where they would be selling lambs.
16:25 He'd walk up and say, "you know, I brought a lamb
16:27 but it wasn't good enough so I need a kosher lamb,
16:28 I need a lamb that's better lamb that's acceptable."
16:31 And the man behind the counter would say,
16:32 "more than happy to sell you one,
16:34 it will cost you two shekels."
16:37 "Two shekels excuse me. I only got a half a shekel for--
16:40 "No, well, of course you had a defective lamb,
16:42 you don't expect a kosher fit lamb
16:45 to be the same price as a defective lamb."
16:48 Oh, wow, now of course you know what
16:50 then potentially the first priest would do.
16:52 He would take that little lamb that they gotten
16:54 for half a shekel move around
16:55 and sell it to somebody else for two shekels.
16:59 The priest then would say,
17:01 "okay, two shekels for a fit lamb right here,
17:04 certified, guaranteed."
17:07 The little man would pull out
17:08 and lay two shekels on the counter
17:10 the priest would back off and say, "Excuse me,
17:12 can I ask you a question?
17:13 Do you have any idea where those coins have been?"
17:18 I mean, who of us any of us, who of us could ever know
17:21 where the money that we have in our pockets, where it's been.
17:25 "Can you guarantee that this is not been touched
17:27 by the hand of a Roman?" "Oh, no."
17:30 "In that case I can't accept it."
17:32 "Oh, what am I gonna do?"
17:33 "Well, you have to use temple coinage.
17:36 Go up to the money exchange."
17:38 The man would take his two little shekels
17:39 lay it down at the temple coinage bureau
17:43 and say, "here I need two shekels
17:44 so I can go buy a lamb over here.
17:46 And they would say, but the exchange rate here
17:47 is four to two or whatever.
17:50 They got them coming and going and if you're 38 years
17:53 by the side of the sheep gate
17:54 you have seen this corrupt system
17:56 over and over and over and again.
17:58 This man 38 years has watched.
18:02 the corruption of the temple class, the priestly class.
18:05 Not all the priests, some of them are very sincere
18:08 but there was enough corruption for Jesus
18:10 to call the place a den of thieves.
18:13 This man has observed this for 38 years.
18:19 And after 38 years I think if I had been him
18:22 I might have figured some of this out.
18:26 And imagine, imagine what might go on in this man's heart
18:34 as he observes the ones who are the select,
18:37 the chosen, the holy, the priests,
18:39 who are--they're the, they're the criminal element
18:43 and sincere people coming and getting ripped off everyday
18:49 and yet you just because you happened to be broken,
18:52 you're not allowed to go in,
18:53 you're not even allowed in the door.
18:56 If I would've been this man
18:58 I would have had a number of reasons
19:00 to have some sense of resentment toward heaven.
19:06 I mean really, and as he was laying there
19:11 one day, verse 6, "Jesus saw him lie and knew"
19:19 Jesus knew what was under the, the background,
19:21 you know, in the background of this story.
19:23 Jesus knew this man's biography, he knew the life history,
19:27 he knew what brought the man to that point.
19:31 "Jesus knew he'd been there a long time in that case.
19:37 And he asked a question."
19:39 One of the most astounding questions in all the Bible?
19:42 I love the questions of the Bible.
19:44 In fact the questions in the Book of Genesis
19:47 are some of the best.
19:48 They're questions in the first four chapters of Genesis.
19:51 You get some questions
19:53 that are eternal questions to the end of time.
19:56 God has great questions in the scripture,
19:58 incredible questions.
20:01 And Jesus asked one here that, when I was younger
20:04 I used to like that's pretty dumb,
20:07 what kind of questions that?
20:09 Jesus verse 6, "Said onto him,
20:13 wilt thou be made whole?"
20:19 You know, the youth today often when something
20:22 is just so outlanders they go, "Oh! Well, dud!
20:27 That sort of sarcastic-- how can you be so silly,
20:30 Wilt thou be made-- I used to think
20:35 what a preposterous question that is for Jesus to ask.
20:39 If I would have been that man laying there
20:40 by the side of the pool I might have thought,
20:42 "yeah and I wish that the pool would,
20:44 you know, turn into, you know, wine
20:47 and I wish Herod's is dancing girls would come by
20:50 and I wish it would rain, you know, cherries I," you know.
20:55 What kind of a question is that? "Wilt thou be made whole?"
21:02 I never understood that question until I was in Berkeley.
21:04 I was doing my graduate studies
21:06 at the graduate theological union,
21:07 the center for Jewish studies.
21:09 I was pastoring in Berkeley and I had several church members
21:13 who would have been this man.
21:16 They would have been held at a distance
21:19 because they had issues of deformity,
21:21 both of them were in wheel chairs and there's a whole--
21:24 I need to take just a second her to explain this to you,
21:27 if you're a person who has some physical defect
21:30 and you have held some resentment toward heaven
21:34 about these stories about how that God
21:36 seem to hold these people and I was like,
21:38 let me give you something that actually come from
21:40 the mentality of Judaism that might be refreshing to you
21:43 and that is that they didn't necessarily see this as a curse.
21:49 They saw those moments when God would proclaim a person
21:52 ritually unclean and he was releasing them
21:56 from the obligation,
21:59 because of the challenge that they faced.
22:03 They actually read often as they define this out,
22:08 Judaism is often read these rituals uncleanness
22:12 not to be a curse or a negative but to be God's mercy,
22:17 God's compassion that will allow a person just a little break,
22:22 because of the challenge they faced in life.
22:26 Just last night I was flying with a young lady
22:28 from Phoenix, Arizona to St Louis
22:31 and she had a broken leg but as we began to talk
22:35 as she was sitting next to me on the plane
22:37 we began to talk it was more than a broken leg.
22:39 She shared with me, she'd been in a brutal accident.
22:42 She was in a coma for six weeks almost.
22:46 Ten years ago she had some spinal cord damage
22:48 etcetera, etcetera, and as I was sitting
22:49 and listening to this young lady share this, I was thinking
22:52 if this was biblical time if this, you know,
22:55 God would not expect as much of you, Maam.
22:58 He wouldn't expect as much of you
23:00 because of the challenge you face in life,
23:02 that maybe refreshing to you.
23:04 This man is asked "Wilt thou be made whole?"
23:08 I never understood until I had a young women
23:11 in a wheel chair who had many things wrong with her.
23:14 She had a number of serious challenges,
23:17 in fact she has now passed away with breast cancer.
23:21 But Norma was one of my church members
23:22 and Norma taught me something about the story,
23:24 I never could have known on my own being,
23:26 you know, moderately whole and healthy.
23:28 I never could have known.
23:30 Norma, one day, I was in prayer closing a sermon
23:35 and we had actually two church members
23:37 on wheel chairs that day and I said,
23:41 in my prayer in closing
23:42 and it made sense to me at the time,
23:44 we long for the day when we're going
23:46 to run the fields of heaven with Joe and with Norma.
23:51 At the end of the service Norma made it black and white to me
23:54 that she was furious with me.
23:57 She looked at me and she said,
23:59 she'd actually spend her early part of her life
24:02 in an institution where they believed
24:03 she would never accomplish anything
24:05 and here she was doing rhetoric at Berkeley that was her major.
24:10 But Norma looked at me and she said
24:11 don't you ever do that to me again.
24:14 I said, "do what?"
24:17 "Don't you ever do that to me again."
24:21 I said, "Norma, what I did I do?"
24:22 And she said, "I don't have a problem
24:25 with what I am, you do."
24:30 This verse suddenly made sense to me.
24:33 When Jesus looks at this man and says,
24:36 "Wilt thou be made whole?"
24:41 What he is saying is, "my friend if I heal you,
24:44 if I really do heal you, if I change you,
24:47 your life can not be the same.
24:49 For the last 38 years your whole reality,
24:51 your whole sense of being and manhood
24:54 is being tied up on this little mat and if I heal you,
25:00 you're gonna have to rise up off that mat and live a real life.
25:06 Your life can not stay as it is if I heal you.
25:09 Your reality, your world is gonna change.
25:13 Are you willing to surrender what has been your truth
25:17 and your reality and your existence,
25:19 are you ready to surrender that?
25:20 To step into the unknown because when I rise you up
25:23 off that mat, when I lift you up
25:24 and heal you your world is gonna change dramatically,
25:27 you don't even have a clue of what I got planned for you.
25:33 Would you be made whole or would you really?
25:36 Are you sure?"
25:38 My friend, this story is so necessary
25:44 for you and for me.
25:48 Because it is the confrontation of Jesus
25:51 with everyone of us about the issue
25:53 of submission and surrender and the willingness
25:57 that I exhibit or I refuse to give of me
26:02 being willing to say to heaven, "Okay, yes.
26:06 God, I don't know what your plan is.
26:08 I don't know what your design is.
26:11 I don't know what you're gonna make of me.
26:12 I don't know what you're gonna do to me.
26:13 I don't know what you're gonna take from to me.
26:16 I don't know, Lord, what you've planned for me.
26:22 But I trust you. And I'll step into the unknown."
26:28 Will you be made whole? Will you really?
26:33 If you're gonna be made whole,
26:36 it's going to require you to surrender,
26:40 submit, put away the past, get off the rotten mat
26:46 that has been your reality.
26:48 And for all of us, friends, that is the crisis of the will.
26:54 It is the crucifixion of self.
26:59 My reality, my comfort zone, the way I see things,
27:02 what I believe about me, what I believe about God,
27:05 that will I allow God to be the one
27:08 who shapes and designs that or will I selfishly clutch
27:12 and cling to my own little truth, my realities?
27:16 Would you be made whole is the central question,
27:23 a surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ.
27:27 It is the absolute cutting edge rock bottom,
27:33 baseline, common denominator issue of submission
27:38 and surrender and dying to self.
27:40 And it is a question that rings out of John Chapter 5,
27:44 all the way to your life and to my life today.
27:47 My friend, I'm gonna have to answer this today and tomorrow.
27:51 Will I really, really, really, allow the past to die
27:55 to become what Christ wants me to be and how about you?


Revised 2014-12-17