Signs.3.setting people free

seven3.Setting People Free

John 5.1-16

Getting Free Her life was lived inside the boundaries of pain and all that came with it. She was limited in how much she could do with her children in games and in play – but there was also a limit to her patience and gentleness – everything the kids did or said, everything her husband did, or her friends expected, was all filtered through the cloying fog of suffering. Even her relationship with God, her loved heavenly Father, was dulled by such striving against these walls; it was fragile and even a little reluctant. The only hope was that someone would take away the condition (since they couldn’t replace the aching and fragile limbs). After much prayer – her’s, her husband’s, their friends’ – she stood before a friend of long acquaintance who brought gifts the Holy Spirit had given to heal people and bring God’s liberating grace into people’s lives through Jesus. As he gently laid his hands on her, speaking words of healing to both her body and her soul, and as she rested under the power of the Presence of God, she was healed. The condition was lifted, the pain was gone, and new and welcome joy flooded in freeing her from the destructive grip of illness, of the bondage to pain. In Jesus’ name and by the working of the Spirit’s gifts, she was set free!

This is a story that repeats many times in many lives as a continuing sign of Jesus the Messiah, of His power as son of God to liberate and heal His people.

Freed at the pool The man had suffered for 38 years the pain and shame of debilitating illness. All he could do was wait at the side of the pool by the Sheep gate for his turn in the agitated waters of healing, or for the liberation of death…alone, resourceless, frustrated. But this day was different – the rumoured Messiah walked right into his view and asked him, him of all those who waited for healing, He asked him if he wanted to be made well. All heaven held it’s breath as the cripple answered that he was all alone and nothing he did worked out, and there was no-one else to help him – thus far the miracles had by-passed him – implying that this healer should do what he could. After 38 years of grave illness he is told to do something he’s never been able to do – to stand up and pick up his mattress and walk. Astonishingly that is what this Galilean said, and at the Galilean’s word he stood, bent over, picked up his mat and took his first steps. Whoa! That was unexpected – but now he can’t thanks him because the healer has melted into the crowd.

Look at the contrast and the way it was brought about. The man languished in pain and frustration for years and with a word he was completely liberated from all that horrible bondage. The word was enough, his obedience was all that was needed.

There’s always someone who wants to make trouble – even at a time like this. There’s a bunch of those religious types getting upset that he’s carrying his mat on the Sabbath – he doesn’t care what day he’s carrying it on – it’s such a miracle he hasn’t got time for that. He just wants to find the guy that did set him free. And then there he is standing in front of him telling don’t get up to any mischief with this new freedom he’s now got – not just freedom from disability – but also freedom from sin and it’s demeaning grip on him -until now.

This man is no-one ordinary who can do this work of liberating a poor cripple from a life-time of bondage – this is the Messiah, God’s chosen Deliverer, come to set all who turn to Him free from all that imprisons them.

Setting you free is still what Jesus is all about – and He’s still doing it in ways that can only be described as miraculous. Whether He’s freeing people from illness or the grip of sin and addiction, His word is enough – often He uses men and women as His agents to speak His word in His name. He uses us to bring the good news of freedom from the life destroying power of sin, of our own sinful behaviour and addictions – but make no mistake it is His grace and His power that  brings about the miracles of salvation and healing.

What is your prison? What’s controlling your life? With a word, Jesus will set you free.

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