Wanted: A Man

Bible Book: John  5 : 1-9
Subject: Forgiveness; Grace; Healing; Salvation; Sin

John 5:1-9

A dying woman said, "Pastor, will you please read the Twenty-Third Psalm at my funeral and preach a short sermon on Heaven?" "Yes, ma'am," he answered, "I will." Handing him a list of names, she asked, "Will you kindly ask these friends to be my pallbearers?" "I will," he replied, "but they're all women." "I know," she said. "All my life I wanted a man. No man took me out when I was alive, and no man's going to take me out when I'm dead!" Like that woman, my subject is Wanted: A Man!

The Lord Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holidays. But while the people were feasting in the festivals and reveling in their rituals, the Lord Jesus went out to cure and to convert, to help and to heal. Isn't that just like the Lord Jesus!

Let's follow Him. We will see a crowd, meet a cripple, and then witness a cure.

I. Note the Crowd

The Bible says, "There is at Jerusalem a pool, which is called "Bethesda." The name Bethesda means "house of mercy." Alas, too many are seeking salvation in a place or a performance. But salvation is found only in a Person, and only one Person, the Lord Jesus. The Bible says, "Thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins." "He shall save," not "it," like         a church, or a ritual, or a sacrament; but "He." It was Peter who underscored this in Acts 4:12, "Neither is their salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

At the pool of Bethesda "lay a great multitude of impotent fold, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water." Misery has always been in the majority. Pain has always been in the plural.

Sorrow is as the sands of the shore and the stars of the sky.

Go where you will and you will find a multitude of folk who have been blinded by badness, made halt by habits, and withered by worldliness. And they're waiting, anxiously waiting to be made whole.

In the New Testament it is reported that there are forty distinct cases of healing. Of the forty, only six came to the Lord Jesus. The rest were brought to Him, or He was brought to them. It is the same today. Few, very, very few will come to the Lord Jesus. They are waiting for you to come to them.

In one of our southern cities many years ago a perilous plague took a tragic toll. In almost every home someone had died. In one particular home the father and the big brother had died, leaving a mother and her little son. One morning the little boy climbed onto his mother's lap and sobbed, "Daddy died, big brother died, and just we are left. Mama, if you die, who'll come for me?" "Jesus will," she promised. That comforted him, and he went back to his toys. After a little while he looked up to his mother. She was slumped in her chair, and her eyes were closed in death. Weeping, he kept shouting, "Mama, mama, mama!" Neighbors came running in. Comforting the boy, they prepared the mother for burial. In the emergency they buried the mother hurriedly, and in their excitement they forgot all about the little boy. When the last shovelful of dirt had been thrown on the grave, and the last mourner had walked away, the little boy threw himself upon the grave and wept until he became unconscious. There he lay all night. Early the next morning, on his way to work, a man saw the boy lying on the grave. Leaping over the fence, and running to the boy, he felt his pulse. How grateful he was to know that the boy was alive, but sleeping. Awakening him, he asked, "Son, what are you doing here?" "My daddy died and my big brother died," he sobbed, "and I asked, 'Mama, if you die, who'll come for me?' She said, 'Jesus will.' Well, mama died; and here I am waiting for Jesus." Hugging the boy to his heart, the man said, "Son, I've come!" "Say, he asked, "haven't you been a long time coming?"

II. Meet the Cripple

The Bible says, "A certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty-eight years." The Lord Jesus saw him. Wonder of wonders. Your life is lived with the loving eyes of our caring Lord upon you. He sees every suffering saint and every seeking sinner. He knows the hurts of your heart, the burdens of your back, and the sorrows of your soul; and He comes to you right there where you are.

  • He comes to give you a blessing, not a burden; a lift, not a load; and breakthrough, just when you've had a breakdown.
  • He comes to you when you're weak to make you whole; when you're lame to make you leap; when you're sightless to make you see.
  • He comes to you not for what you can give Him, but for what He can give you; not for what you can do for Him, but for what He can do for you. And He chooses you in your affliction.

While conducting an evangelistic crusade in the Canal Zone, a doctor came to our room at the hotel and said, "I'm from the Leper Colony. You have a broadcast every morning on a station here in Panama, and the lepers listen to you daily. When they heard you were here conducting a meeting they asked me to invite you to the Leper Colony. Will you and Mrs. Guido come?" "Yes, sir," I answered, "when?" "I'll pick you up at 10 o'clock tomorrow morning," he said cheerfully.

We met him at the appointed time, and he drove us to the Leper Colony. When we got out of the care I noticed that a woman, who was a leper, was waiting for us. When we walked, she walked. When  we stopped, she stopped. She riveted her eyes on Mrs. Guido and never took them off of her. We went from room to room and from bed to bed, greeting the lepers and speaking words of comfort and cheer to them. As we got ready to leave they cried saying, "You led us to Jesus, we'll see you in heaven. But we won't have leprosy there. We'll be whole!"

We walked to the car, and I opened the door for Mrs. Guido to get in, and this woman, who had been following us, threw herself down at Mrs. Guido's feet. Putting her arms around her legs, she cried, "Mrs. Guido, look at me. I'm a leper; and I'm with child. I don't want my baby to be born and to live in this leper colony. I've been watching you. I see Jesus in you. Will you please adopt my baby and make my baby your baby?"

We couldn't. But that's what the Lord does. He comes to us in our loathsomeness, and He loves us. He chooses us in our misery, and He makes us His own; His heirs. Isn't He wonderful!

The Lord Jesus asked this disabled man, "Wilt thou be made whole?" "What a silly question!" you say. "Here's a man who has been sick for 38 years, and the Lord Jesus asked him, 'Wilt thou be made whole?' " No, it's not a silly question. If He wanted to lie on his bed and squawk, or sit in his bed and balk, there wasn't anything the Lord Jesus could do. But if he wanted to pick up his bed and walk, our Lord would work a miracle for him.

Listen to the answer the man gave the Lord Jesus. It's an answer that takes sleep from my eyes and appetite from my body. It's an answer that haunts me day and night. He said, "I have no man." Wasn't a crowd there? There was. What was the crowd doing? Singing Psalms, learning the law, studying the Scriptures; but still he cried, "I have no man."

Round about you are the unsaved and the unchurched. You walk and talk with them. You laugh and weep with them. You eat and drink with them. But you don't pray or plead with them. Can't you hear your family and friends cry, "I have no man! I have no woman. No one cares for my soul." And they're still waiting.

One Saturday some of our California guests wanted to go to Savannah and enjoy a fish dinner on River Street, and we happily took them. Going to a famous restaurant, the head waiter took us to our table. But he returned, saying, "Mr. Guido, the mixologist wants to meet you." That's the bartender, and she was a beautiful girl. Walking over to the bar, she introduced herself and said, "I watch your one-minute telecast that comes on every morning during a break in the Good Morning America Show. But today is Saturday, and you're not on TV Saturday morning. I missed your spot very much." Turning to the men and women who were sitting on the stools and drinking at the bar, she said, "I just asked them, and they said they missed you too. All of us watch you Monday through Friday, and we enjoy your Seed For  The Garden Of Our Hearts. Will you please come behind the bar, and give us one of your one-minute telecasts? We would deeply appreciate it."

Hurrying to where she was standing, I presented one of our one-minute sermons. The mixologist, the men and the women wept. And then I led in prayer. Some called on the Lord and were saved. There they were, at the bar, waiting to be made whole. How grateful I was for that privilege.

III. Watch the Cure

The Bible says, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing the word of God." When the man heard the word of God, "Arise, take up thy bed and walk!" faith leaped up in his heart. He took up his bed, and he walked.

The Lord's precepts carry His power. He always enables you to do what He tells you to do. What's absolutely impossible with you is altogether possible with Him. A miracle always takes place when your willingness cooperates with His will.

A woman was drowning, and a man jumped into the river to rescue her. He grabbed her by the leg, but it was a peg leg. He took hold of her by the hair, but it was a wig. In despair he cried, "Lady, if you want me to save you, you gotta' cooperate." Wonderful things always happen when your permission is linked to God's power.

Our Lord said to the man, "Rise, take up thy bed and walk." "What did He mean?" you ask. Our Lord was saying in effect, "Take no thought or failure. Make no provision for a relapse. Burn the bridge behind you."

When George Washington and his men crossed the bridge on their way to a big battle, he commanded, "Burn the bridge!" "No," shouted an officer who was under him. "We might need it for a retreat." "Make no provision for retreat," commanded the general. "Burn the bridge." And his men won a great victory.

Is there some bridge you need to burn? A sinful pleasure, an old hellish habit, some toy of the tempter you've been hugging to your heart? Oh, hear the word of the Lord, "Take up your bed, and walk." That means, "Go on walking." Did he get up to wobble? No, to walk. To hesitate? No, to hurry. To stumble? No, to step. When the Lord does a work of grace in your heart it goes from the top of your head to the tip of your toes. He saves you neatly and completely.

The Lord Jesus added, "Sin no more." The Lord wants you to grow, not grovel; to overcome, not to be overcome; to be a victor, not a victim. As you take Him at His word you will triumph. Like the apostle Paul you will say, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."


One morning a man came running into our Studio with his wrists bleeding and sobbing, "Help me. I want to be saved!" While bandaging his wrists he said, "I was sitting in a liquor store, cutting my wrists, and your broadcast came on. Hope sprang up in my heart. Now I don't want to die. I want to begin a new life."

After showing him how one becomes a new person on receiving the Lord Jesus as Savior, we knelt and prayed. Out of a broken heart and with a contrite spirit he poured out his grief. He confessed his sins of alcoholism, drug addiction, and cheating; and he asked the Lord Jesus to come into his heart. The Lord did; cleansing him, changing him, and making him a brand-new person. Immediately he wanted his wife to come to the Lord. Knowing that she was waiting, he jumped into his car, drove to his home, and returning bringing her to the Lord Jesus. He picked up his bed, and he kept walking. The addict became an abstainer, the con artist became clean cut, and the loafer became a laborer. His home became a little heaven on earth.

Won't you let the Lord Jesus do a work of grace in your heart and home?