Steven Furtick - Trust Me I'm Trying
Now, John 5:7, "Sir, the invalid replied, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred, while I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me". You're gonna love this because you've been wanting to say this anyway on my title and Imma let you say it right now and because I'm telling you to say it, you will have permission to say it. Look at the person next to you and tell him this and tell him in a convincing way, say, "Trust me, I'm trying".
You may be seated. I promise I am. I really am trying. I know I don't always hit the mark but I really am trying. 'Cause for me I have a rule, especially as a boss, the people that work for me, is that I always try to make it a point never to punish somebody who's trying to be proactive. I feel like if somebody makes a mistake because they took it a little too far, that's a little... Jesus let Peter cut Malchus' ear off in the garden and put it back on. But I think he liked Peter because Peter wouldn't just sit around, Peter was like, "Alright, I can do something about this. The spirit is willing, the flesh is weak and I'm about to use my flesh to cut off".
And that's a really interesting thing, isn't it? Now the kids will call somebody a try-hard. It's like a way of saying, you know if it looks like you tried too hard on your outfit. And I get that. But I like people who will give it a level of effort and even if they miss, they swing so big, I always like people like that. I thought I should tell you this, if I ever come up here to preach and I don't do good, which I'm sure happens, it won't be because I didn't try. So if you ever see me up here struggling on this pulpit and you're like, "I don't really understand this one. I think I see what he was trying to do, did you catch that"? Number one, it's probably your fault, 'cause you didn't pray enough before you came to church, I'm just kidding, but trust me, I'm trying.
And I think sometimes it can be frustrating when you are giving your best effort but what is required of you is beyond your best ability and Imma try to ignore this fly buzzing around my head but touch somebody and say, "I'm trying, I'm really trying". You musta have to really trust Jesus to follow Him when He walked the earth. People say, "Oh I wish I could have followed Jesus and walked with Him, you know, now it's harder 'cause God is not visible like that and it would have been so cool". No, it wouldn't. It would have been so difficult to trust Jesus and He was always getting in so much trouble, He was always explaining His actions and His intentions after the fact, and what that required from His disciples was just this crazy amount of trust... I'm trying, I'm really trying. Whatever you do, just pray for me. Do 'em all.
Let's back up and see why He's feeling so feisty today. Sometime later today John 5, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for the feast of the Jews, now there's in Jerusalem near the sheep gate, a pool, which in Aramaic is called the Bethesda, means house of mercy. And it's surrounded by surrounded by five covered colonnades (or Porches). Here a great number of disabled people used to lie-the blind, the lame and the paralyzed. It's important to know before I go on, that is a specific dwelling place for people with physical infirmities and the reason I point that out is Imma make some spiritual parallels to the physical infirmities that are mentioned in this passage.
But I don't want us to miss the historicity for the sake of application, I think that would be irresponsible teaching. The people who were at this particular hospital, if we can even call it that, it was more like a public service, this pool was not a resort pool. Nobody is bringing you little umbrella's in your drink at this pool, this is a crowded pool and it's pushing and shoving and word has it that if you can get in the pool when the angel stirs the water intermittently, you can get healed. And this puts certain people who have certain disabilities at an advantage over others. For instance, it said, there were the blind, the lame and the paralyzed.
And so if you're a blind man by this pool, you can probably feel your way to the edge of the pool so that when there's an opportunity to get in and be healed, you'll be the first one there. But if you're paralyzed it puts you at a disadvantage. Because even if you get yourself to the edge of the pool, there's a chance someone else can pull you back, you are powerless. And that's an interesting thing about life. I was out at the ball field last baseball season and I saw this really good dad with a fanny pack, he didn't look happy, he didn't look like, you know, "These were days, making memories". He didn't look selfie-ready.
But you know what I liked about him? He was carting this wagon, he looked like he had some sacks for his kids, and maybe he was on snack duty that day. And I just admired him 'cause he was trying. I watched him pull that wagon up the hill. I thought about it how he was trying. He was sweatin' all through his shirt, you could tell he came straight from work, it wasn't a baseball shirt, he must have had the wagon that he packed the night before because he didn't have time to change the shirt but he just came out there, shirt was untucked on one side, look like he spilled a little something on the collar. And he was sweating through it but he was trying.
And I've always loved the Scripture that says that Jesus looked at one man and He loved him. I've thought about that a lot lately, Jesus would show up to a place and look for somebody who was at a disadvantage. I kinda imagine Him walking around the pool at Bethesda and I'm sure His disciples were shocked that He would waste time with the bunch of people that they would call crippled. That's not a PC term but that's how they would have put it. Sickness was connected to spiritual disorder in this time. Judaism in the first century made a strong connection between your spiritual conditions and your physical condition. So if like if you had money that was a proof that you were living right. It's how they thought about it.
We know that that's not always the case. We know a lot of times some of the greatest people who are the most faithful to God, they might not live in a big house on earth, but we're probably be cleaning their toilets in heaven for the treasure that they're storing up after this life and yet there's this tendency to just judge things by the physical, always for all of us, so I kinda picture Him, Jesus walking around and asking questions. one interesting thing the text, let me show you this real quick. it's too cool just for me just to reference. I wanna make sure, it's very vivid. It said, "One who was there", verse 5, "had been an invalid for 38 years. And when Jesus saw him lying there, and learned".
Now what stood out to me about wasn't that Jesus saw him. What stood out to me about this text wasn't that the man had issues, we all have issues and frankly we all have areas of paralysis and Imma talk about yours in 7 minutes so buckle in and get that judgmental look of your faces. 'Cause I'm coming for you. On this particular occasion what stood out to me is Jesus learned. I didn't think He could do that, because He's the image of God, He's the wisdom of God, how can the wisdom of God learn information.
I figured He must have been walking around asking questions. "How about her, how long she been here"? Somebody said, "Well, she just got here last week". And Jesus said, "Nah, not her. How about him? How long has he been like that? That blind guy right there"? "Yes, it's recent, it's been two months I think. Two months? Jimmy, two months? Yeah, two months and three days. Yeah, two months and three days". "Nah, nah, nah, not him. How about that one"? "Three years". "We'll see, put him on standby".
'Cause He's looking for somebody to heal He's looking for somebody who can experience a miracle, He's looking for a platform to demonstrate His power. "How about him"? "Five years". "How about her"? "Seven". "How about that guy? How long has he been like that"? "Nine years". "Getting closer. How about him"? And finally, somebody figures it out and says, "Well, if you want somebody who's been here a while, I see what you're doing, 38 years". Long enough that he has given up hope that anything can ever be different. And Jesus learned that there was one. Imma try so hard not to cry when I say this to you, but verse 5 says, "One who was there had been an invalid for 38 years".
What does it mean that Jesus who only had three years to do ministry and was on his way to a feast would come by for one? Does it mean, could it mean, that out of everybody that I'm preaching to today, out of everybody that made a decision to show up at a campus, that God might want the one in the back who got here 12 minutes late, pulling a wagon, just trying to get through the week. Could it be that God is looking for the one who had the worst week? The worst upbringing? The one that other people said could never be anything? The one who has gotten so used to how it is? This is really what happens in life, you get so used to how it is, that you cannot recognize that how it used to be is no longer what's in front of you.
Alright so let's work on this a little bit. "Bring him here, Jesus says". Now when you get to heaven, you'll probably be shocked who's there and who's not. how many agree, there's gonna be some people in heaven that are gonna shock us like, "Whoa, she made it? That must have been like a thief on the cross death bed kinda, she got in right at the wire". "Whoa, they made it? I thought they believed weird stuff. They were new agey, and they made it"? I think we're gonna be surprised who's there and who's not. 'Cause I think we're aways surprised who God picks and who He uses and who He doesn't. One was there who been lying there for so long, that you can even tell in his response in the question Jesus asked him that He had gotten tired of trying.
My message today is for anybody who's tired of trying in an area of your life. Tired of trying to repair a significant relationship, tired of trying to be open so that you can experience relationship, tired of trying to overcome the thing that you keep going back to and it's been since you were even in your teens and now you're a grown man, I edited it for Youtube, and now I'm tired of trying because there was a time where I tried to get people to help me to get into the pool but now I found out that there's no one to help me, now what's mind blowing about the situation, at the pool, at Bethesda, is how many different ways I have heard this preach that completely contradict the heart of God.
For instance, when Jesus comes up to the man and learned that he had been lying there and he had been in this condition for a long time. How many of y'all have been in a certain condition for a long time? Jesus, I need help, there's three honest people in the church. And I forgot I was coming out to speak to the perfect saints, the 10/10, A+ saints, I forgot I was talking to the all-stars, I thought I was coming to Elevation where they're not afraid to be real, in your name, amen.
How many of y'all have had certain patterns of thinking that have been negative for a long time? I mean, a long time? I don't know how old the man was, but 38 years, trust me, I'm 39, is a long time. This is the entire span of my natural life and for so long he's been unable to move that now he cannot recognize the help that is standing right in front of him and Jesus asks a question that I have often heard misinterpreted, "Do you want to get well"? Tone is everything, that's why you can't text every conversation. Because tone is everything. Sometimes you need to pick up the phone and call people because completely depending on the tone is how you see the heart of Jesus.
I always read it for a long time like Jesus said, "Do you want to get well"? I almost see Him now like He's got something in His back pocket and he's sneaking around the pool looking for somebody, they say God helps those who help themselves, but I almost see Jesus looking for somebody who can't and He's like, "I see you caught in this situation, you wanna get well"? And the man has every reason to be suspicious. Can you imagine how many people have taken advantage of him? In almost 40 years of suffering? How many hustlers have come trough the pool at Bethesda? Trying to sell a magic potion or bubbling water?
"Hey, I got some cream, man, put it on your legs, I promise, it's blessed. Hey, man, I promise you, I'll bring you to the pool, I'll push you in when the water starts bubbling, just give me half now and half after the move, I promise you, I can carry you in, I got you". How many times did somebody make him a promise? 'Cause it seems cruel that Christ, the expression of the love of God would stand over a man who couldn't move and ask him such a ridiculous question.
Do you wanna lose weight? Well yeah. Do you want to be happy? Well yeah. Do you want to be able to live at peace without anxiety? Well yeah. What you selling? I heard this spiel before, I tried that diet. How many of y'all tried that diet before? I put a meditation app on my phone, y'all to be honest with you, I got four meditation apps on my phone. I tried all of them, I either fall asleep, or my legs start doing like that, I can't do it, everybody tells me to meditate. The Bible says meditate, Russel Brand says meditate. Joe Rogen says meditate, everybody's telling me to meditate, I tried it, I really did try it.
They also told me about portion control. I tried portion control, how many y'all tried, somebody told me one time, they said, "Here's how they stayed at an ideal weight, when you're full, stop eating". My only problem, I never found full. That gauge got broken somewhere in my childhood. I never felt full. So I kept eating, I tried that. Oh, they say if you don't complain, you will feel more connected to God, I tried it, but I found out sometimes if you don't complain, nothing changes. I tried so hard not to complain, I one time, I was going to go seven days without complaining and I thought if I could do it, I could make a sermon out of it. I thought I could call it, you know, seven days, a week of worship, or something like that.
I tried so hard not to complain for seven days. What happen was and this is so embarrassing to admit to you, the more I tried not to complain externally, 'cause sometimes you can fix the symptom, now I'm in the text, you can fix the symptom and stop trying to complain, but the root to it, what happened to me was, I went five good days without complaining, but on day six, the walls of Jericho came tumbling down a day early, everything in my path, oh it was a tornado, it was a downpour because when you fix the symptom but don't address system that created the symptom, the end is worse than the beginning. You wanna get well? Well yeah, I'm trying.
When you get to heaven, you be surprised who's there and who's not. But one thing you might really be shocked about, this dude, whoever he is in John 5, is gonna have a long line of preachers waiting to apologize to him, for how we misinterpreted his story in John 5. Oh, I've heard everything, I've heard it said that in 38 years the man should have been able to crawl or roll his way to the edge of the pool. Yeah, like that would work, 'cause now somebody stronger than you is just gonna pull you back at the moment, you're still powerless to fall in at the right time. And besides, when has Jesus ever taunted someone into transformation? You really think that's the spirit of the Savior?
Some of us do. We really picture God like standing over us, in our minds, our concepts of God, like, you don't want it bad enough. If you would have done it different when they were eight, they wouldn't be in so much trouble when they were eighteen. See? You screwed them up. That's what God sounds like to a lot of us, so it's no surprise that when we hear Jesus say, "Do you want to get well"? He says it with a snarl you know? Do you even wanna get well? Do you even lift, are you even serious, I mean prove it if you do, if you wanna get well, say I wanna get well. So why did He ask it? Why did He ask the man do you wanna get well before He helped him get up and walk? And as I prayed through that this week, I realize that before Jesus could help him walk, he had to help him want.
I don't know who this for, but God is dealing with your desires in this season of life. You have been disappointed over and over and over again. And every time you try, nobody notices. And every time you try, you come up short. Sickness is cyclical. It comes around, it goes around. You're well for a little while, and then it's the same thing all over again but this it's only worse. Because now, not only are you back where you started but you have less hope that it is ever going to be different because you've cycled through it one more time, just to realize, "Well I guess I'm just a cynical person. Well, I guess I'm just a negative person. I guess nobody in my family was meant to go to college".
See, when you hang around the colonnades, with people who are sick, sickness because normal to you and it starts to be easier for you to accept the condition than to challenge it. Because to challenge the condition means to risk disappointment and some of us have tried, got blocked. Tried, got blocked. And now people see you and they assume that you don't care, no I care, I cared and I cared so much but they didn't care back. And I tried so hard and I still got looked over and don't you know it's hard when your expectation has been damaged by disappointment. It's a slow damage, it's a slow tearing of the muscle fibers, it's a slow deterioration of your hope by disappointment, it is not one event that creates it, it's over and over, I tried and I tried and I smiled and I stayed and I cooked, and I parented and I disciplined and I showed up and I didn't care and the man has finally gotten to a place, I believe where He is tired of trying. Are you?
It's supposed to be the Sabbath, it's supposed to be a day of rest. Why did Jesus stop by the pool on the day of rest to perform a miracle? You're not supposed to work on the Sabbath. This may offend you, but it won't be the first time, if this offends you, you're metal detector is turned up to level 10 anyway and you need to just turn it down, y'all notice we live in a "gotcha" culture, an outrage culture, just nobody can say anything, you can't say anything anymore and the more the people try to help us, the more we crucify 'em if they say the wrong thing. Have you noticed that? This is how they treat Jesus. He heals the man on the Sabbath, and all that anyone can talk about is that He did it on the wrong day. So this is what I wanted to say that's gonna offend you, you thought that was what was going to offend you? No, no, no, no, no.
Jesus was up on the Sabbath and when He tells the man in verse 8, "Get up, pick up your mat and walk". He is trying to get the man to break Sabbath. So Jesus walks up to the pool, looks around and asks the man, "What's going on in your heart right now, because before I can help you walk, I have to heal your will". So here's what Jesus does, that we don't like, He calls B.S. He calls, watch this, He calls B.S. And I don't know what you're thinking about right now, but I'm talking about broken system. See, now, there's one thing in the verse that doesn't make sense unless you understand the historical context. When the man says, "I keep trying, I keep trying to get down there but I can never be first, I'm not fast enough, in fact, I can't move at all, I keep trying but every time I try something blocks me and Jesus says, that's because the system is broken".
If you'll notice, give me verse four of the Scripture, I forgot to read it, John 5:4. Jared, it's been a long week you know, staff events, Jared, where's Jared? Can you get him, yeah I need him, verse 4 unlocks the whole thing. We can wait, this man waited 38 years, we can wait three minutes. Oh, they added that verse later. It's not even in the original manuscript. They added a Scripture later. They added a verse to explain the situation, it didn't make sense, so they had to add... you go back to your job now... they had, but come here real quick... so a lot of times when a situation in my life doesn't make sense to me, I add a verse, you know how we do? It's like, okay, rather than deal with it, I would rather explain it in a way that excuses me from having to deal with it.
There's a reason verse 4 isn't in there. 'Cause it's not in there, there's some stuff that you're putting in your story that doesn't belong there 'cause God didn't speak it and it's not true anymore. You go back. See, what the man said reflects a broken system and it reflects a bad story, that's another B.S. The devil has got some of us telling us some really bad stories and this man has been telling himself a story, 38 years, "no one wants to help me, everybody's out to get me, every time I try no one wants to help me, everybody out to get me, every time I try". So here comes Jesus, he doesn't know Jesus, He's never met Jesus, Jesus is new to the scene, Jesus hasn't even done the captain D's miracle yet, that's in John 6, He hasn't even gotten familiar with this guy yet, he hasn't even got an opportunity to unpack the whole history of his situation.
So he's standing in front of Jesus and he's rightly skeptical because he's in a broken system where the religious leaders are trying to let the first ones in and keep the rest back and unless you keep the law this good, you can't be healed, of course, he's stuck. He's stuck in a broken system, so are some of us. He's stuck in a bad story, and so are some of us. We've inserted verses that aren't even there to explain why we are the way we are, we think it's our job to suffer, you know suffering for Christ and the good of others is one thing and sacrifices, but to suffer the shame that He already took away from you is to snatch back what He nailed to the cross, it is not your job to suffer like that. That's a broken system.
I'm telling you men and women of the Most High God, religion is a broken system, that's why Jesus went for one to show you, this is a relationship, I wanna deal with you one on one, I wanna speak to you like a person, not like you're like some kind of project. I don't have anybody to help me. Trust me I'm trying, I'm really trying, if you knew how hard I was trying, you weren't make fun of me like that and ask me do I wanna get well. I don't have any help. And see that was true, five minutes ago, but the situation has changed. What he said used to be true, it was true for a long time. And then grace shows up at the pool at Bethesda, five porches, five is the number of grace, always symbolism, there's levels to this text. We could preach a series on this text, now grace is here and what used to be true isn't true anymore.
Are you still stuck in something that used to be true, but it isn't true anymore? I bet he would be tired, 38 years of fighting off the vultures and 38 years of looking out for yourself and you kinda have to live that way until grace becomes the dominant reality in your life. And then Jesus comes into your life and everything changes. But sometimes we keep living off of the old story, the bad story, no one will help me. And Jesus is like, "I'm someone". Now the question is this, how did Jesus command the man to get up, if the man couldn't walk in the first place? A careful reading of the text will reward us in this moment. One interpretation is that his healing was his reward for obedience, that's religion, it's a bad story. 'Cause the fact of the matter is, if trying harder could have made me better, I'd be better by now.
I tried the diet, I tried that, I wasn't gonna do this and I wasn't gonna do that and I wasn't gonna do the other, you've tried that already and if it could work, it would have worked by now. So, the man said, I'm trying and Jesus said, "Trust me. Get up, take up your mat and walk". I'm trying, Jesus, said, "Trust me". I'm trying. "Trust me". That's the real task is to trust. That's always been the real work. John 5 isn't a text about being lazy, come on get up, make up your bed, get on the treadmill, go get 'em, tiger, this is your day, this is not a pep talk. This is a complete reversal of the systems of this world. It is a contrast of works and grace.
That's why it had to happen on the Sabbath, the moment that he picked up his mat, he was doing work and the moment that he was doing work, it made everybody who was in power mad because he wasn't supposed to do work. The whole reason that Jesus showed up for one person, was that He wanted to overturn an entire system. There is one situation in your life right now, that God is trying to use and by addressing this situation, I promise you, it's gonna change the whole system because up until this point, you been trying, trying, "I'm trying to love God. I'm trying to pray more, I'm trying to read my Bible, I'm trying to eat my broccoli, I'm trying to be a nice person, I'm trying to be kinder, I'm trying to do better". God said, "I see you trying, will you trust me? Will you trust me enough, to get up when you feel like you can't get up? To praise me when you don't feel like you wanna praise me? Do you trust me enough? I know you've been trying but do you trust me? This is a trust moment. This is a trust decision".
Sometimes my trying gets in the way of my trusting. And this man got up because he had been healed and you keep thinking that you will be healed if you can get up, but you can't and you're trying and you're trying, and here's what so funny about the text to me, the man said, "I'm trying". And Jesus said, "So am I. I'm trying to help you. I knew you couldn't reach that water, I knew you grew up in a really really hard environment and there was some abuse and I know you're trying to be a better man than your dad was or I know that you're trying to be a better mom than your mom or I know you're trying to figure things out when the complexities are greater than anything you've ever seen. I see you trying and I'm trying since you can't get to the water, I brought water to you".
And what it does, when you get up, and you do what you didn't think you could do, it's shocks the system. God says, "Some of you that have been lying in your condition for 38 years, I brought you to church today not so you could just sing a few songs, or hear a few words but I wanna shock the system, I wanna stir up the waters, I wanna heal", watch this, "your will".
You've lost your will to be sweet, you've lost your will to be forgiving, you've lost your will to be whole, you don't even want that anymore, 'cause you tried to want it and it hurts to have hope, especially when you're disappointed, especially when something gets in your way, especially when you keep bumping up against your own brokenness, especially when it's rigged against you. And I wanna help you walk but first I need to help you want and to want the right things again, for the right reasons to heal your desires by the pool of Bethesda, here comes walking living water. That's what He told the Samaritan in John 4, He said, "Within you will be rivers of living water". So I know you can't get to the water. Let the water come to you, you will not receive certain things in your life from trying, but only by trusting.
Dan, we were at a pool seven or eight years ago and Elijah wanted to swim and we went down there to the hotel pool and it had the hotel pool smell. But we went in anyway, he was, I guess at that point, seven years old, so I had to get some energy out so we got in the pool, soon as we got in, the doors busted open, the hotel manager said, "Hey sir, I advise you to get out of that pool". I said, "Why"? It's like the middle of the day, I'm like stupid hotel rules, I'm not one to really like stupid rules, I'm like it's the middle of the day, there's nobody here, I am a registered guest and by the time I'm about in the middle of my imaginary speech. I'm usually nice externally, it's what happens on the inside that makes me go to hell, but, 'bout the time what was I was about to say what I was about to say, he said, "We just shocked it".
I said, "Well next time we'll give you notice before we come, I don't wanna shock your pool". He said, "No", he said, "Sometimes the water, you know, once a week or something has to have a treatment, we call it shocking the pool, because when the chlorine combines with the, I really don't wanna tell you all this that's in this pool, this is a hotel pool sir, bacteria, sweat, other fluids, pool fluids, hotel pool fluids, so once a week we gotta shock it". Once a week I come to church 'cause sometimes my heart gets mixed up with some substances, some contaminants, some disappointments, sometimes this world pollutes me so, when I come to church, please understand, I'm coming to treat my disappointments 'cause I need living water and I don't wanna die by the pool, so I came to church and I don't know if you came to church, for this reason, I don't really know why you came, but tell somebody, "Shock the waters".
Jesus said, "I came down to the pool at Bethesda not just to look around and go home and pray a nice prayer but I came to this pool, this house of mercy to shock the waters". And it just might be that God brought you here this week because you've been in a state of disappointment but God said, "I'm about to shock the waters, I'm about to stir it up, you don't have to wait for an angel, you don't have to wait for somebody to get out of your way, you don't have to wait for a situational improvement". And we beheld his glory, the fullness of the Father, full of grace and truth, living water is in the house.
Trust me, I'm trying to bless you, I hear the voice of the Lord, trust me, I'm trying to help you those kids. Trust me, I'm trying. You say, "Well God doesn't try to do anything, He either does or He doesn't". Then why did Jesus go to Nazareth and it said, "He couldn't do many miracles there". He tried to. But they tripped.
I believe there are many for whom this message is just another Bible message. I believe there are some and maybe even few that this is a definitive Word for your life. You have been like that man, you have been paralyzed in an area of your life for a long time and you've been trying but you've been bitter for eight years over what the business partner did. And you keep trying, this is not about trying, this is about trust, you've been going back and forth and back and forth and back and forth for so long and today God is saying, "Let the water come to you".
Father, we declare this our Sabbath, where we rest from our labor and enter into your grace. With everyone standing and no one moving at every location, if this has been a season for you of frustration, a season of you going to the pool over and over and you've been blocked so many times. Now, that quite honestly you don't need just God to heal your legs, or to heal your bank account or to just heal that one compulsive area in your life, but you need Jesus to do what he did for that unnamed man in John 5 and heal your will and help you to want Him again. The place to start is not pretending, the man was healed partially because he was honest.
I keep trying, every time I try something, someone, but there's a greater someone, there is a greater power than anything you are struggling with what's pulling against you. This takes faith, to trust Him to really believe that He made you like He wanted to make you, as short as He wanted to make you, you grew up in a small or as big of a town as He wanted you to grow up in, it takes trust and all your life God has been trying to position you, all your life God has been bringing things into alignment so that you can serve His purpose, and now He is saying "Trust Me".