Sixth Sunday of Easter – Sermon 226

8th January 2016 Off By Derek Buckthorpe

6th Sunday of Easter

10am Holy Communion

5th May 2013

Bible References :

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Prayer to start

May the words of my lips and the thoughts of our hearts be graciously received for the Glory and Honour of our Lord Jesus Christ






Point 1        Lame man by the pool


It was morning – and another day by the pool


A Sabbath day – the poolside gets crowded on a Sabbath day – people come to Jerusalem – from all around – to be cured – or just to stop by on their way to the Synagogue –


Thirty eight years he’s been here – begging – watching – waiting for his chance to get in first –

From time to time – the waters in the pool would bubble up – no one knows why – some believe its caused by an Angel – but every time it happens – the first person in would be cured – at least that’s what they’ve told him – and that’s what he believes


That’s why he’s here and what he’s been waiting for – to be first in the pool

But he’s been here a long time –and now it’s become a way of life – waiting by the pool – some say he’ll likely stay there until he dies –


Maybe its not so bad – at least people give him food and water – and there’s some shelter from the heat – the stench can be strong at times – but at least there are people to talk to –


Things could be much worst for someone in his condition –


He laid back in the sun – expecting it to be another day – of watching – waiting – surviving –


Then the stranger appeared – looming over him –

he sat up – stretched out his hands – expecting money or food – but the stranger didn’t seem to have anything to give – he laid back down again –


Do you want to be made well? – said the man –


What a stupid question! – wasn’t it obvious – what did the stranger think – that he liked being here?


“Sir, I have no one to put me in the pool when the water is stirred up – and while I’m making my way – someone else steps down ahead of me.”


“Then stand-up – take your mat – and walk”- came the reply –


It probably never occurred to the lame man – that this stranger could actually heal him – why should it?


The only way he thought he could be cured was by getting in the pool – which he had no hope of doing –


But he looked at Jesus – and decided to try –


He must have been aware that something was happening in his legs –


He took up his mat – and began to walk –


Jesus usually heals in response to someone’s faith – but on this occasion – no faith was expressed


The lame man took a risk – and obeyed Jesus – and that was enough –  God’s grace did the rest – and he was now on a much harder – but more satisfying path – one – as John records later – that would see him telling the authorities about his experiences – on his way to the Synagogue to give thanks –


Many that came to the pool in Beth-zatha were non-Jews – Jesus had done what the pagan gods couldn’t do –  and healed someone


The man Jesus found lying there had clearly made a way of life out of his long wait for healing – he was in a rut and couldn’t get out!


But Jesus transformed his life – gave him a new start – a new beginning – on which he could reshape his future –


Point 2        Acts – The conversion of Lydia


Our reading from Acts gives us another example of how Jesus can reshape our future – this time through other people


Paul receives a vision from God – of a man from Macedonia pleading with him to come and help –


Earlier Paul had tried to enter Asia and then

Bit-hyma – and failed –  Paul had been told not to preach in these places –


But as one door closes – a new door opens – and this vision was a clear message that Europe was to be converted through Macedonia –


Paul and his party made their way to Philippi – where he found all sorts of dark powers at work –


Paul’s normal course of action was to head for a Synagogue – after all you couldn’t just walk into the main street of a major city and start preaching –


But in Phillippi – there were no Synagogues –

So instead – they sought out places of prayer – and found themselves at one site – outside of town – by a river – where they met some women – who were talking –


One of them – was called Lydia – a business woman – skilled in the use of dyes and fabrics –


Its likely she would have been wealthy – as she was a dealer in purple linen – which would have been used by the Senate of the Roman Empire –


Luke describes the story of her conversion – very simply –


‘The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was being said by Paul’ –


Here was someone who had been praying – seeking God – opening to the possibility of God seeking them – And when Paul’s words about Jesus – tapped on her window – she opened it –


She and her household were baptized – and she invited them to stay and use her home as a base for their ministry –


And Lydia became an example of hospitality –

which became a tradition and a hallmark of the Phillippian Church –


Lydia’s example shows us that it’s God who prepares and turns hearts – not us – we just have to tap on their window – and encourage them to open themselves to Jesus –


We can learn too from Paul’s experience – he had a thoughtful plan of action – but was willing to change it without question – when told to go somewhere else –


Its God who should lead us – in our plans – we have to trust Him and obey Him immediately – and follow where He leads –


Point 3        Jesus and us


Life rarely goes smoothly – for any of us – our hopes sometimes dashed – our plans sometimes thwarted –


There are many ways that we can feel ensnared – illness like the lame man – loneliness – over-commitment – debt – having no job or work –


But through it all Jesus offers anyone and everyone – willing to obey and turn to Him – a fresh start – new opportunities to explore – and to rebuild our lives –


Just as the Father raises the dead and gives life – so also the Son gives life to whom He wishes –


Jesus is the one that can bring Joy where there is sorrow – hope where there is despair – Love where there is hatred – Peace where there is division


He can take us out of the darkness that sometimes engulfs us – and bring us into the light of His presence – and His future –

‘For those who accept the mercy and grace of Jesus – there will be no ore night’

God opens and changes hearts and lives –


And calls us to help – by showing others what it means to be part of His Kingdom – by telling others of Jesus – and how His love and support can bring about a new beginning in their lives –




Today on this Sabbath day – Jesus has the power and love – to heal those things that Paralyze us!


Do we want to be made well?


But what must we do? – we might say


Obey and Respond to Jesus’ commands? – accept His mercy and grace  – and let Him lead us to paradise –




In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,



Video of Sermon 226 on You Tube