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 there with me and that God 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. God reminded me 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 that they could lower him to Jesus. The woman who had been bleeding for years and years. The Israelites when they were captured by various other people groups. And yet, God was there with them. God promised to never leave. And 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. From the NIV: Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a fest of the Jews. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” “Sire,” 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.” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

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, 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 with the way that he was. And the man told Jesus all about why he couldn’t get into the pool. And Jesus healed him! And 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 had 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 very 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. And without God’s love and grace, there’s no way we could be friends with God. But Jesus gives us hope. He shows us God’s love and God’s grace. He helps us be friends with God. He can heal our lives. That doesn’t mean that Jesus is always going to heal our bodies. Sometimes we get sick and sometimes bad things happen. But he 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

  • Ask your children about times when they feel hopeless, i.e. hard times when they feel like nothing will ever change
  • 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 bad things that happen and make something good out of them (for example, when a bad storm happens, people help each other).
  • Talk about ways that you can share God’s hope with others

Pray with your family, asking God to remind each of you that God is always there, and that our hope comes from God.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

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