You Are a Changed Person

Submitted by Anne Riegler

 

Theme: No more excuses--we can live a new life when we accept Jesus’ healing.
Object: Band-Aid with "Jesus Saves" written on it
Scripture: Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." John 5:14 (NIV)

 

What do I have here? A Band-aid, right. Why do we use Band-aids? Exactly…they provide protective cover when we have hurts and boo-boos. They keep the germs out and we don’t get an infection. We heal better when our wounds are covered.

Jesus once met a man who had been sick for 38 years. He had been sitting at a pool that could supposedly cure his sickness. Jesus asked him, "Do you want to get well?" and the man got real defensive--like he had been asked that question a lot. The man said to Jesus, "Look, I know I’ve been here by this healing pool for a long time and you may think that I don’t really want to be healed. But you just don’t understand how it works. I have to be the first one in when the waters are stirred, but I have no one to help me. Because of my illness, I am slow. Someone always gets in ahead of me. It’s not my fault that I’m still sick."

Jesus then healed the man on the spot. He said, "Pick up your mat and walk." And do you know what happened? The man walked away.

Wow!! This man had been weak and sick and unable to move, and all of a sudden he was carrying the mat he had been laying on. He walked away from that pool. That’s quite a change in a life, isn’t it?

But do you know what the man did? He slipped back into that old life of making excuses and blaming others. When some of the teachers saw him carrying his mat, they asked what he was doing. You see, it was the Sabbath, the day you are supposed to stop from all work. And according to their law, the teachers said that it was work to carry a mat. They wanted to charge the man with breaking the law.

The man knew that they would charge him so he went back to his old ways. He said, "It’s not my fault. I’m only doing what the man who made me well told me to do. He said to pick up my mat and walk. So what could I do? I picked up my mat." See, the man was more concerned with what he might be accused of. Remember, he got defensive when Jesus asked if he wanted to get well. So when the teachers confronted him, he made excuses.

Jesus then reminded him that he had been cured. He had a new life. He didn’t have to hang on to the ways of his old life. In fact Jesus said that by making excuses, the man was sinning.

How do you think the man should have answered the teachers? What if he had said, "Yes, I am carrying my mat…can’t you see that after 38 years I am walking? For crying out loud, this is a miracle of God. I’m going to jump and shout and carry my mat."

How about you…can you proudly talk about the good things God has done for you? If you know Jesus, you are a new person. You don’t have to live like you used to and make excuses or blame others. That’s what this bandage is all about. It says, "Jesus Saves." Check it out the next time you get injured. Put it on a wound and then look at the new skin that grows underneath--skin that’s free of the old germs, like making excuses and blaming others.