I had not been a pastor very long when I found out something: most of the people I led to Christ were not well off. In fact, most of them were not even normal. The people that came to Christ were drunks, drug addicts, and people with all kinds of family messes. Our church attracted all the people that no one else cared for. I remember thinking, “We are never going to build a church with these people. We need to get some lawyers, doctors, insurance agents—somebody with a job!”
Please don’t misunderstand me—I loved them. I was glad to have them, but they did not help to pay the bills. For a while, the higher our attendance grew, the lower our offerings dipped. But today we have spiritual, stable Christians who give and love and serve. What changed? The people. They weren’t much when they came, but Jesus made the difference in their lives.
The man whom Jesus met by the pool of Bethesda was pitiful. He had been lame for thirty-eight years. Every day he would wait by the waters with the slim hope that if an angel stirred the waters, and if he would be the first one into the pool, then he would be healed. He had no purpose and no one to help him escape his wretched life. When Jesus asked, “Wilt thou be made whole?” the man replied, “Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool.”
God specializes in helping those who cannot help themselves—the ones with “no man” to help them. Why should we reach those who have nothing to offer and no one to help them?
THE CONDITION OF THE LOST
The people at the pool didn’t have a chance. The Bible describes the crowd as a “great multitude.” With that many people, no one had a good chance at being the first one into the pool. The odds for the man in our story were even worse because he was crippled. He had no hope, but it was the best chance he knew.
The Bible describes our hopeless condition without Christ. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Romans 3:10–12).
The drunkard gets his paycheck on Friday and goes straight to the bar. He spends it all on liquor and fails to take care of his family. When he wakes up the next morning, his mouth feels like it is stuffed with cotton, and he can’t remember how he made it home. He won’t find happiness this way, but it is the best chance he knows.
Today, there are an estimated 6.8 billion people on this earth, but only a fraction of them have any idea how to make it in this life or have eternal life in the next. They don’t have a chance, but they still try without success. Their condition is hopeless.
THE COMPASSION OF THE LORD
Jesus knew this man lived a miserable life, but He was not repelled by the man’s condition. Others avoided the destitute beggars at the pool, but Jesus sought out the man. The Lord’s compassion was greater than the man’s condition.
We don’t like being around sickness and poverty. We hate going to the hospital, and we avoid the parts of town where the “bums” spend their days. But we must look at “the least of these” with compassion and believe that Jesus can make them whole.
In Mark 6:34 Jesus had compassion on the multitude: “And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.” It was the Lord’s compassion that compelled him to act in Mark 1:41: “And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.”
One of our members, let’s call him Frank, was invited to our church by his drug dealer. Frank was making such a mess of his life with drugs that even his dealer, a backslidden former member of our church, saw he was headed for ruin. One day he told Frank, “Hey man, you need help. You ought to go to First Baptist of Bridgeport.” He came, got saved, and grew in the Lord. He married one of our young ladies and now is a faithful servant and soulwinner. He knew his life was a wreck, but he just had no man. Frank may have been in a sad condition, but all he needed was Jesus Christ.
You do not have to worry about the sorry condition of the sinner. Just get him to Jesus, and Jesus can straighten out the person.
A CONCEPT OF LIFE
When this man was made whole, it changed his whole outlook on life. He immediately followed Christ’s command—take up thy bed and walk. He had a proper concept of life. The healed man knew he should obey the One who made him whole. His life meant so little before, but Jesus had given him everything. He understood that he owed all he had to Christ.
It’s the attitude of Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” It’s the acknowledgment of the truth, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Shawn’s life was headed nowhere. He had been saved in our church, but later he was expelled from our school and joined a gang. It didn’t seem that Shawn had any ambitions until I saw him one day at the airport where he worked. We started to talk, and I asked him what he wanted to do with his life. He told me, “I want to do what you do.” That was surprising. Just to be sure, I asked if he meant he wanted to be a preacher, and he told me “yes.”
That conversation was the turning point in Shawn’s life. Afterwards he got thoroughly right with God and went to Bible college. He came back to the city, helped a young church down the road, and eventually became the pastor of that church. Shawn’s concept of life changed. He realized that nothing Jesus asked was too much for him to give.
How many in your town are waiting? They could be saved, and they want to be saved. They just have no man. Why don’t you be that man?