Crossroads: Jesus Gives Us Hope

John 5:1-9

Your Story

Talk about a time when things seemed hopeless. Did God give you hope? How did God’s hope come to you?

My Story and the Bible Story

When I was in the sixth grade, it felt like my life was falling apart. I didn’t have any friends, there was a lot of bad stuff happening at my church, and my mom and my stepdad were getting a divorce. Things seemed hopeless, and it didn’t seem like things would ever get better. But I knew that God was always with me and would never leave. I prayed and prayed, and eventually things started to get better. God sent me a friend at school. We found a new church that I loved and I found a place to belong. There was peace in our home. When things seemed hopeless, God gave me hope. I was reminded that God was there and that I could have hope in God. I knew that eventually things would change because God gives us hope!

There are people in the Bible whose lives seemed pretty hopeless: the paralytic whose friends cut a hole in a roof so they could lower him to Jesus, the woman who had been bleeding for years and years, the Israelites when they were captured by other people groups. And yet God was there with them. God promised never to leave. In the case of the paralytic and the bleeding woman, Jesus healed them. He gave them hope. There are many stories in the Gospels about Jesus healing others. In the Gospel of John, we find another sick and hurting man. But this time, Jesus asks him what he wants.

Read John 5:1-9.

This man had been an invalid for a long time. He was sick and had a hard time walking. He needed help even to get into the pool quickly. He felt like things were hopeless and that he would never get better. But then Jesus came. Jesus saw the man and asked him if he wanted to get well. After all, the man could earn money as a beggar. The man told Jesus why he couldn’t get into the pool, and Jesus healed him! The man got up and walked away, praising God that he had been healed.

Jesus healed this man’s body, but he also gave him something else: hope. Before, the man was hopeless. He knew what his life would be, and there was no way for him to get better. But after Jesus, he had hope again. Suddenly, his life changed! Jesus gives us that hope as well. When we meet Jesus, when we learn about Jesus and what he did for us and how much God loves us, we discover something amazing: we find hope. Without Jesus, we are stuck. There’s no way for us to be friends with God. We aren’t perfect and we choose to do the wrong thing sometimes. Without God’s love and grace, there’s no way we could be friends with God. But Jesus gives shows us God’s love and grace. He helps us be friends with God. He can heal our lives. That doesn’t mean Jesus is always going to heal our bodies. Sometimes we get sick, and sometimes bad things happen. But Jesus can heal our lives. He can help us take bad things that happen and turn them into something good. He can help us choose the right thing. He can help us forgive others. Even though Jesus is no longer walking on Earth where we can see him, he can still heal our lives. All we have to do is ask!

Discussion and Prayer

1. Ask your children about times when they feel hopeless and think that nothing will ever change.
2. Remind your family that God gives us hope, even when it seems like things won’t change. Talk to them about how God can take the bad things that happen and make something good out of them (for example, when a bad storm happens, people help each other).
3. Talk about ways you can share God’s hope with others.
4. Pray with your family, asking God to remind each of you that God is always there and that our hope comes from God.

Rev. Jessica Asbell is the Minister to Children and Families at First Baptist Roswell, where she has been serving since 2012. She has written the children’s curriculum for Smyth & Helwys’s Annual Bible Study for the books of Daniel; Ezekiel; Luke; Jonah; 1 Corinthians; 1, 2, 3 John and Jude; Colossians; The Story of Israel’s Ancestors: Living toward a Promise; and Where Faith & Family Meet: A Book of Weekly Devotions. She has also written for CBF’s Spark and Form and for Affect in CBF’s fellowship! magazine. Married to Jonathan Oravec, Jessica reads every chance she gets.

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