Jesus revealed the Father’s compassion and love through the miracles that He performed.
He healed palsied bodies in order to reveal an even greater ability to heal palsied souls. He restored twisted arms and legs in order to demonstrate His greater desire to restore twisted hearts and minds. Jesus’ miracles teach us something about how to exercise faith. They teach us valuable lessons about growth and change.
One of Jesus’ most powerful illustrations of the power of faith is found in the miracle of the sufferer at the pool of Bethesda. The poor man lay by the pool for thirty-eight years. He was hopeless. His life seemed doomed to wretchedness, poverty, and suffering until Jesus came.
Read John 5:1-14. Why do you think Jesus asked the man, “Do you want to be made well?” (John 5:6, NKJV). Isn’t it rather obvious that anyone suffering for so long would want to be healed? What was Jesus’ motive here? What was the man’s response? (John 5:7).
Jesus did not listen to the man’s excuse. He did not counter the excuse with an argument. He simply said, “ ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’ ” (John 5:8, NKJV). The essential question was, Would this poor sick man believe the word of Christ and act upon it in spite of what he was experiencing? As soon as the man resolved to act upon the word of Christ, He was made whole. Jesus’ gift of healing was in His word. Christ’s word carried with it the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish that which Christ declares.
“If you believe the promise—believe that you are forgiven and cleansed—God supplies the fact; you are made whole, just as Christ gave the paralytic power to walk when the man believed that he was healed. It is so if you believe it.
“Do not wait to feel that you are made whole, but say, ‘I believe it; it is so, not because I feel it, but because God has promised.’”-Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 51.
Why is it so important to believe God’s promises for forgiveness, especially when we feel so condemned and guilty for our sins? Why must forgiveness precede reformation in our lives? Why is it important to believe that we can overcome through Christ’s power in our lives, even now?