Continuing in our message series, “Miracles: Yesterday, Today and Forever.” And today the message that I’m delivering is entitled “Say ‘Yes!’ To the Miracle!” Doesn’t everybody say yes to their miracle? Well some should, some do, some don’t, as we’re going to find out.
You know I love the story of a man and it was beginning to rain and flood. And this man came by in a raft and he said to him, ‘hey, can I give you a lift? You’re going to be stranded here.’ And the man said, ‘oh no, that’s okay. I’ve prayed and asked God for a miracle. You can go ahead. God will take care of me.’ And he watched the raft drift away. The rain continued to come down and the by now the water was coming up to the man’s knees and here came another man in a canoe. And he said, ‘can I give you a lift? Don’t you need a lift? The water’s up to your knees already. And the man said, ‘oh no I’m praying and ask God for a miracle. Goodbye, thank you, don’t need your help.’ The canoe went away; drifted away.
Then the water continued to rise. The rain was still falling down and the water was now up to his waist. And a man in a motorboat came by and he said, ‘do you need a lift? You look like you’re in trouble. You look like your life is in danger.’ And the man said, ‘no, I’ve prayed for a miracle and it will come. God will save me.’ And he saw the motorboat drift out of sight. Well by then the water came up to his chin and a helicopter came flying overhead and a rope ladder was descended down to him and the man from the helicopter said, ‘hey, take a hold of the rope or you’ll drown.’ ‘Don’t need you, I’ve prayed for a miracle.’ The helicopter zoomed away.
Much to this man’s surprise, he found himself suddenly standing at the pearly gates and facing St. Peter. And he said, ‘hey what’s up with this? I prayed for a miracle?’ Peter said, ‘we sent you three boats and a helicopter. That was your miracle.’ Not everybody says yes to their miracle and that’s why today we’re talking about say yes to your miracle!
If you have your bibles, I’m in John chapter 5 verse 1. I love this story. “Soon another feast came around and Jesus was back in Jerusalem.” Jesus never missed out on the feasts. He always celebrated the feasts and the feasts were celebrated in Jerusalem. Every time there was a feast, Jesus was in Jerusalem celebrating the feast. “Near the sheep gate in Jerusalem, there was a pool” in Hebrew it’s called Bethesda, “with five alcoves. Hundreds of sick people, blind, crippled, paralyzed were in these alcoves. One man had been an invalid there for thirty-eight years.” What have you been doing for the last thirty-eight years if you’ve even lived that long? Can you imagine lying as an invalid for thirty-eight years?
This particular translation doesn’t include the phrase but in some translations you will find the phrase that the people were waiting there. This was a kind of a superstitious magical pool where they believed that when the water stirred, the first person to get in would be healed. And we know that this man was waiting thirty-eight years. Thirty-eight years, all he did was lie there and wait for somebody to help him so he could be healed.
And so Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there and so he said, “’Do you want to get well? Do you want to get well?’” Maybe the man answered, he could’ve said this. This could have been one of his answers. It wasn’t but it could have been this. He could have said you know what, I don’t know that I want to be well because that would mean I’d have to let go. I’d have to let go of my identity, I’d have to let go of the fact that this is my way... it may be negative attention but at least its attention and I’m going to have to let go of it and I’m not willing to let go of it. He might have said no I don’t want to be well because it would mean letting go.
Or he might have said well if I say yes, if I say yes I want to be well, what would that mean? That would mean I’d have to go out and I’d have to earn a living. I don’t know how to do that. I’ve been here for thirty-eight years living and subsisting on hand outs. What am I going to do? That means I’d have to get land. I don’t have money for land, I don’t have money for seed, I don’t know how to work a land, I don’t know how to make a living. I could starve to death being well. If I were well, this man could have said, that would mean I’d have to change. That could have been another one of his answers.
A third answer might mean.. he could have said well if I were well, I might look foolish. If you want me to step up in faith, I might look foolish. I might fall down. I don’t know if these will ever work again. I might look foolish. No I don’t want to be well.
Another one of his answers could have been I’m not worthy. I’m not worthy of being well. Obviously I’ve been here for thirty-eight years I must deserve this. It’s probably punishment for my life and I don’t deserve to be well.
So those could have been his four possible answers that I could think of. I don’t want to let go, I don’t want to change, I will look foolish or I don’t deserve it. Those could have been four of his answers. But what was his answer? It’s in verse seven. “The sick man said, ‘sir, when the water is stirred, I don’t have anybody to put me in the pool; by the time I get there somebody else is already in.’” He felt helpless. Helpless. “Jesus said to him, ‘Get up, take your bed roll and start walking.’ The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bedroll and walked off.’” He walked into his miracle. That’s what he did.
And so today I ask you the same question that Jesus asked the man: do you want to be healed? Do you want to be well? Do you want a miracle? Well, how will you answer that question? Will you say I don’t know that I can let go because it might mean for you to say yes to your miracle. You might have to let go. Are you willing to let go? Are you willing to let go of things that are holding you back? Some people have said I want to be healed of alcoholism. You have to let go of the alcohol. You have to let go of some of these things in order to say yes to the miracle. You might have to say no to other things. You might have to say no and let go of bitterness and revenge and anger towards people who have hurt you in order to say yes to your miracle.
So do you want to be well? Do you want to be healed? Do you want a miracle? In order to say yes, you’re also saying yes, probably yes, yes, yes I will change. Yes I will accept the change that will come with the miracle. Not everybody is willing to accept change. In fact I can tell that one thing people hate more than anything else is change. Mark Twain said it: the only person he’s ever met who likes to be changed is a wet baby. And I would dare say that Mark Twain’s never changed a wet baby because every wet baby I’ve ever changed hasn’t liked it either. Every wet baby’s always cried and cried while I’ve changed them. People don’t like change. And so we’d rather not change and be ill then change and say yes to our miracle.
Do you want to be healed? Do you want to be well? If so, you might have to risk looking foolish because when you accept your miracle you’re stepping up in faith. Not just stepping out in faith but stepping up in faith. You know God gave you brains to use, and I’m thinking if God gave us the brains, God can definitely do the miracle, you know? But the point is you can risk looking foolish when you say yes to your miracle.
Do you want to be well? Do you want to be healed? Do you want a miracle? You might not feel worthy. You might think I don’t deserve a miracle. I’m not worthy of a miracle. First of all, God’s got way too big other things to worry about than little old me. Or you might think I deserve to be punished. That cause and affect is not really truly what this is all about. God doesn’t give you a miracle because you deserve it. He doesn’t withhold miracles because you don’t deserve them. God gives you miracles only because He loves you, He wants to deliver you and He wants His glory to be revealed in the process so that others will see what happens when you say yes to his miracle. That’s why God gives miracles.
So do you want to be well? Do you want to be healed? Do you want a miracle? If so, Christ’ prescription was what? It says it right here. He said, ‘then get up, get up.’ What does that look like for you and me?
Well Willie Jordan, the widow of Fred Jordan, Fred Jordan mission in LA on skid row, she invited me to be her guest at her back to school event just a little over a week ago. What an amazing event. All these children, five thousand children in skid row, these are homeless children. These are children who sleep on the street with mom and dad and a brother and a sister. But they knew that this was a one time event, once a year event, and what a joy it was to drive up and see these five thousand children waiting in line. And what were they waiting for? They were waiting for their hot In-n-Out burger because they had the In-n-Out burger trucks there and they were grilling those hamburgers. Could you imagine seeing the look on the faces of those children as they were handed.. they would say oh it smells so good; if you’re used to eating scraps or foraging for food, to get a hot, juicy In-n-Out cheeseburger. And then they were ushered into a room where Foot Locker gave them a brand new pair shoes, fitted them for the perfect size, their brand new pair of shoes. A backpack, clean clothes, and yes Paul Mitchell salon was there giving free haircuts to the children for back to school so they could all be feeling wonderful.
But I will say to you, yes God, God had a miracle out there for all these children, but they had to get up and claim their miracle. The miracle didn’t come to them, they had to get up, they had to go stand in line, some of them for up to eight hours, but they went to claim their miracle. And I love what Willie Jordan said to me. She said, “Sheila,” she said, “You know God doesn’t need you and I to help His children but I like to think He indulges us. And He allows us to just have the joy of helping His children.”
Every Monday, we serve our hungry and homeless in our community at our Monday Meals. And Eileen Quinci, who is in our HR department, Human Resources department, comes on Mondays and she helps our people that are guests that come on Mondays with their resumes. She takes them and makes them look more professional. And one man, she took his resume and she made eight copies and gave it to him. And last Monday, he came to Monday Meals, and he saw her and he went running over to her and he said, “I was so hoping you’d be here today because guess what? I took those resumes you gave me and I’ve got a job!” So this man, yes, he’s got a job. He got up and claimed his miracle. He got up and claimed his miracle.
Well many of you have heard the story of Charlie Wedemeyer. Charlie Wedemeyer was an amazing football coach and he suffered from ALS - Lou Gehrig’s disease. And he and his wife Lucy, they prayed for a miracle. The doctors told him he would live one to three years, and they prayed for a miracle. Now Charlie never walked. Once he lost the ability to walk due to Lou Gehrig’s disease, he was never able to walk again, he was never able to talk again, but he didn’t live just one to three years, he lived thirty-four years and he died last year after thirty-four years of living with this disease. And I want to ask you, you know what, would you say that Charlie wasn’t healed? That Charlie didn’t have his miracle? And I would say oh yes he did because Charlie got the ultimate healing. Charlie got the ultimate miracle. Not only did he get to live for thirty-four years, versus one to three, but today he’s in heaven with Jesus Christ. He is in heaven with the grand miracle and the grand healing that is Charlie Wedemeyer.
And you, you, you have the opportunity to have that same miracle in your life because the one miracle that you must say yes to; I do not want you to miss out on this miracle, this grand miracle is Jesus Christ because He, Jesus Christ, is the grand miracle. He is God come to earth. A man full of sorrows, acquainted with grief, surely He has taken up your pain and born your suffering and by His wounds you are healed. That’s what it says in Isaiah, “By His wounds you are healed.”
So don’t sit by the pool for another thirty-eight years. Jesus is walking the streets. He’s walking here today and He has noticed you and He stops and He turns and He looks you right in the eye and He says to you today, do you want to be well? Do you want to be healed? Do you want to have a miracle? And how do you answer that question today? Is it yes? Is it yes? Is it yes? Then get up, Jesus said. If it’s yes, then get up, Jesus said. If it’s yes, get up, Jesus said, get up. Get up and claim your miracle. Get up and claim your miracle. What miracle am I talking about? I’m talking about the grand miracle. Every other miracle prepares for the grand miracle. Every other miracle exhibits this grand miracle. Every other miracle results from the grand miracle but today we get up. We claim. We say yes. Yes. Yes to Jesus. Yes?
Lord God, thank You that You came to earth, that You walked the earth and today You stopped and You stared and You looked us in the eye with that loving glance and You asked us the most important question: do you want to be well? Thank You for giving us the faith to say yes. Thank You that we got up. We got up! And we say yes to You, so use us, Lord, for Your glory so others will also say yes to their miracle. Amen.