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Intro: In my childhood days in Alabama, the porch was a very important part of the home. In the cool of the evenings, I remember sitting on the porch with my grandfather and whittling or just watching the people go by on the road. Often, company would come by and after the meal had been eaten; someone would always say, "Let’s go out on the porch and sit a spell." The porch holds a very special place in my memory.

In our text this morning, we are told of a place where there were five porches. It seems that for a select few, these porches were special as well. According to the Bible, at a certain season, an angel descended into the pool of Bethesda and stirred up the waters. When this event occurred, the first person that could get from the porch to the pool was healed. While this was a blessing to the one person who could get in, it only held disappointment for everyone else who was desperate for healing.

One day, as the sick and infirm were lying there waiting on the waters to move, Jesus passed through and walked on these porches. What took place that day was a demonstration of His divine power to heal the body, but it was also a picture of His divine power to heal the soul. In these sick folks, and especially in this man whom Jesus healed, we can see ourselves, our need of God and the solution Jesus offers to each of us today.

I would like for us to take a little time this morning and look at these verses and talk about what happens when you are on the porch with Jesus.

This story has 2 main characters, a host of supporting roles and 3 main acts. Let’s look at these components of this story as we think on this thought, "On The Porch With Jesus."


A. They Are Wretched – (Ill. Here is a group of people that were probably very pitiful to behold. Their bodies were twisted and sick, they were indeed a wretched group.) In their sickness, they picture the sinner in all of his helplessness, blindness, uselessness and dependence. Even though a lost person may be healthy of body, they are still sick in the soul and are separated from God, Eph. 2:12.

B. They Are Waiting – (Ill. These people are waiting on the angel to come and they are waiting for their opportunity to get into the water and be healed. Yet, even while they waited, the Great Physician was passing among them unheeded! The very one who could have healed the entire multitude was in their midst and they failed to recognize Him.)

(Ill. What a picture of the lost sinner! People struggle with sin’s bondage and oppression. Men look for every way under the sun to fill the voids in their lives, and all the while Jesus passes by unnoticed, unheard and unheeded. What a tragedy! There are 2 great portraits in the Bible, which picture the heart of Jesus for fallen men:

1. His weeping over Jerusalem – Matt. 23:37.

2. His knocking at the door of man’s heart – Rev. 3:20.

(Ill. The point is this, men go on in their sins, headed to an eternity in Hell apart from God, and all the while Jesus is passing by, even on their porch and they fail to recognize and respond to Him. What a shame! Isa. 55:6; 2 Cor. 6:2)

II. v. 5-7 THE MAN

A. v. 5 He Was Disabled – (Ill. Here is a man who is unable to do for himself, v. 7. He has to be carried every where he goes, he is forced to beg his way through life, he is totally helpless and useless to those around him.) (Ill. What a picture of the sinner before God! Lost people are spiritually crippled! They cannot get to God on their own. They are helpless in a spiritual sense. If you are lost, you cannot pray, you cannot worship, you cannot truly enjoy the things of God. You cannot be used of the Lord for His glory, you cannot serve Him. To be lost is a horrible thing! In fact, the reality is far worse than the picture! God’s Word says that the sinner is dead, Eph. 2:1!)

B. v. 5 He Was Desperate – (Ill. Just the fact that he was there at the pool is an indication that he was desperate for healing. Here is a man who, if the angel did come, would have to try and drag his body across he porch to get into the pool. Ill. Imagine that pitiful scene!) (Ill. Again, this pictures the sinner! I do not believe for a minute that anyone wants to go to Hell! I believe that most people want desperately to be right with God. I am convinced that most people want to know for sure that they will go to Heaven when they die! The problem with most is that they are looking for a way other than God’s way. People seem willing to try any plan but God’s plan. Religion, works, support groups, 12 step planes, etc. are all placed ahead of salvation through Jesus Christ! Sadly, in man’s desperation, he often misses the mark completely and winds up losing the only thing of value that he possesses – His Soul, Mark 8:36-37.

C. v. 7 He Was Often Disappointed – (Ill. Time and again, this man had seen others get into the pool ahead of himself. Time and again, his dreams of a completely whole life were shattered. Time and again, he was forced to drag his broken body back to his old pallet and wait for yet another time of disappointment!) (Ill. Again, in this we can see the sinner! Man’s search for solace of the soul leads him into many disappointing endeavors. Because, no matter what a man tries to bring peace to the soul, nothing else will work other than the blood of Christ!)

1. Religion and good works will fail you – Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5

2. Being a good person will fail you – Matt. 19:17; Gal. 3:22

3. Trusting in the goodness of God will fail you – Rom. 2:4

4. Family associations will fail you – Phil. 3:4-9

5. Church affiliation will fail you – John 3:3; 7

What I am trying to say, is that anything other than Jesus will fail you as to the salvation of your soul! There are a lot of good things you can do and be involved with, but salvation lies in Jesus and in Him alone, Acts 4:12; John 14:6. If you trust anything other than Jesus and His blood, you will be disappointed often here in this life and eternally in Hell! Where is your trust this morning?


A. v. 6 His Compassion – The compassion of Jesus for this man is seen in three wonderful ways.

1. Jesus chose him out of all the others – The Bible says that a "great multitude" was there that day, v. 3. Jesus could have stopped at any person’s bed in that place, but He chose to stop here! This was pure grace! (Ill. This is what happens to the sinner who becomes a Christian! Jesus passes by and stops at your hearts door. He knocks, John 6:44, and desires entrance. When that door is opened and Jesus is invited in, salvation occurs, Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:9-10! It is every ounce pure grace and grace alone! (Ill. No one here has any thing in themselves to merit them to God. We haven’t been good, we haven’t earned His love, we’ve done nothing! When He comes by and calls us to Himself, it is a work of grace: The unmerited love and favor of God towards sinners. (Ill. Rom. 5:6-8) He just loves us like we are, Jer. 33:3. John 3:16, and reaches out to us through grace, Eph. 2:5. (Ill. Thank God for the day He chose me!) Ill. Bethesda = "House of grace", and that is just what this man found there!

2. Jesus knew his wretched condition and He still cared for him – (Ill. Jesus knew all there was to know about this man. He knew that he was infirm. He knew that he was helpless and useless. But, Jesus looked beyond his problems and saw his great need. Jesus did not see what he was, but what he could be through His powerful touch!) (Ill. The same stands true for the lost. Jesus knows all about you. He knows every thought you’ve ever had, every thing you’ve ever done. He knows all those terrible things you are guilty of, yet He loves you just like you are! He sees you not as you are in sin, but as you can be through His life-changing blood!) (Ill. Thank God, Jesus loves sinners – Mark 2:17.) (Ill. He requires no changes before a sinner can come to Him. He wants men just as they are! The changes all come later!)

3. Jesus offered him a chance to begin again - (Ill. Here is man who for 38 years has lived in a broken body. One day he meets Jesus and is offered a chance to begin again. What a blessing that Jesus would reach out to the helpless like he does!) (Ill. This is what He does for sinners! People who are lost and living broken lives apart from the Lord can be saved by the power of God! Jesus can come to them and give them that second chance! Thank God, the second birth wipes the slate clean. The sinner gets a fresh start as a saint of God. He is declared Justified and made holy through God’s salvation – 1 Cor. 6:9-11!

(Ill. Why did Jesus ask this man if he wanted to be healed? One possible explanation is that He did this to elicit a confession of helplessness and dependence. The same is true for salvation. Jesus comes by and offers men salvation, but it hinges on their willingness to admit their need. Before salvation can come into any life, the sinner must:

1. Confess Himself a sinner – Rom. 3:23; 1 John 1:9.

2. Be convinced of his need for Jesus Christ –John 6:44

3. Claim Christ as personal Savior – Acts 16:31.

B. v. 8 His Command – (Jesus responds by commanding this man, who has not walked in 38 years, to get up, pick up his bed and walk. This is incredible! However, all that was required on the part of this crippled man was simple, childlike faith and obedience to the command of Jesus Christ.)

(Ill. When the call comes to the sinner lost in his sins, the only necessary response is faith! Jesus comes to men who have lived their entire lives in the grip of sin. He passes by and says, "Get out of the gutter and follow me!" Men refuse because it sounds too simple. It is! Jesus doesn’t require perfection; He just requires faith in Him! I suppose that is why it is so easy for little children to be saved. They are used to depending on others for what they need. Mama and daddy take care of everything, so it is easy for them to trust Jesus and be saved! However, adults are different. We are conditioned to make our own way in the world. We are taught to stand on our own too feet. I believe that we need a dose of childishness in our lives – Mark. 10:15.)

C. v. 9 His Control – (The Bible makes it plain that this man was miraculously, instantly healed by the power if the Lord Jesus Christ. This healing required exactly no input from the patient! Jesus spoke, the man was healed and all he had to do was get up and walk away! When Jesus spoke, this man responded by getting up and walking as he was commanded. Jesus expected this man to walk now!) (Ill. Salvation works the same way! Jesus calls us to Him; He saves those who come to Him by His power and the sinner, who before was incapable of anything spiritual and was crippled by sin is now free to walk in newness of life. By the way, Jesus expects us to walk for Him after we are saved!)

(Ill. Jesus has the power to take any life that has been broken by sin and make it over again! He has the ability to take any life and use it for His glory. He is all-powerful, all-saving and awesome! Ill. Praise God for the day when He lifted me out of sin’s prison!)

(Ill. Apparently, the healing of this cripple did not even cause a stir among the other sick folks there that day. You would have thought that they would have all been crying out for healing. However, if they did, the Scriptures are silent about it. You would think that when a lost world saw old sinners saved by the grace of God it would have an impact on them. However, they usually just pass it by and remain totally wrapped up within themselves and carry on their business as usual. What a shame! Jesus passes by where they are and they never even notice! If they do, He is perceived as no more than a nuisance. That is sad but true!)

Conc: What about you friend? Jesus is walking through this place this morning. Perhaps He has been speaking to your heart as you have listened. Perhaps you have realized that you are unsaved and unprepared to meet a holy God. Like this cripple, you know that you need the touch of Jesus in your life. Well, there is no better time that the present to take the step that will lead to eternal life. If you will step out from where you are and come to the Lord, He will save you by His grace and give you a new life in Him. He will fit you for Heaven and take you there some day. What’s it going to be? Business as usual, or a new life in Jesus Christ? He is waiting on you to come to Him this morning. Will you do it?

Sermon By Alan Carr


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