A few years ago I was talking to a friend at a coffee shop a couple days before Easter. "I know you aren't much of a churchgoer," I said, "but I'd like to invite you to church this Sunday for Easter." "Thanks," he said, "That's very kind of you, but I have a tee time reserved for Sunday morning." I don't quite know what came over me, probably a bad case of self-righteousness, but I said, "The day we celebrate the most important thing that ever happened in human history, and you're going to play golf!?"
I don't know if Phil believes in the resurrection of Jesus or not, but he certainly didn't understand its importance. I don't want you to leave today without understanding the importance of Jesus' resurrection. John 5 tells us a kind of pre-resurrection story, Easter in disguise. Jesus used what happened to teach us just what his resurrection means.
There was a pool in Jerusalem and the belief was that an angel occasionally would stir the waters of the pool and the first person in the water would be healed. So as you can imagine, the pool was surrounded by disabled people: "the blind, the lame, the paralyzed," people who had no life but waiting for the water to ripple.
One man there had been an invalid for 38 years. He lay by that pool every day, just an arm's reach from a new life, and it never came. One day Jesus came to that pool and walked up to that man. The man didn't know who Jesus was, so imagine his surprise when Jesus said, "Do you want to get well?" "Of course," the man said, "but when the water is stirred I don't have anyone to help me into the pool. Someone else always gets there first." He was implying: Are you volunteering? Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." ...
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Lee Eclov recently retired after 40 years of local pastoral ministry and now focuses on ministry among pastors. He is the author of Feels Like Home: How Rediscovering the Church as Family Changes Everything and Pastoral Graces: Reflections on the Care of Souls (Moody Publishers), as well as being a frequent contributor to Preaching Today and CT Pastors. To learn more about his Pastors' Gatherings visit www.leeeclov.com.