God IS moving throughout the world!
“But I haven’t seen Him do anything! He hasn’t moved for me!”
What if He moved in a way that we’d never witnessed? What if He told us things we’d never heard before? What if He actually smashed the religious boxes we have tried so desperately to keep Him in?
“After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
“Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” (John 5:1-8 NKJV)
God has “moved” many times over the last several thousand years. He moved by His Spirit when He said, “Light be!” He moved in a new way when He captured Enoch, and “took him” to Heaven. He’d never moved like He moved with Noah, the Ark, and the Flood; and He won’t move that way again.
When He approached Abram, giving him instructions, a covenant, a promise, and a name change, no one had ever witnessed such a thing!
Down through the ages God has moved and stirred people, stones, water, and Heaven itself, to accomplish His plans and purposes. Joshua, Elijah, Samson, Daniel, and many others have all witnessed “new moves” of God.
Finally, He moved through the obedience of young teenage girl, a virgin named Mary. A brand new move of God; unlike any other, ever! When the Angel told Mary she was going to give birth to the Son of God, her response was as to be suspected; “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
“And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. “Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. “For with God nothing will be impossible.” Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:34-38 NKJV)
And even though God’s final word to mankind is His Son, Jesus (“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;” – Hebrews 1:1-2 NKJV), He is STILL doing new things and moving in new ways; all through His Son and the authority in His Name!
Here’s where the lame man by the Pool of Bethesda enters the story. Imagine, if you can, Jesus (God’s “new move” and “new stirring”) as He walked up to the old Sheep Gate. As He stepped through the arched, stone entrance, He scanned the pool area, looking for a certain individual.
There were many people in the area, most of whom were sick, blind, lame, and paralyzed. The power of God could’ve healed every one, but Jesus was focused; His heart was fixed, His direction from Father, clear. He had to find a certain paralyzed man.
There, just past the little widow woman on the left; he must be the one. Jesus walked past everyone else, and as He approached the crippled man, He said, “Do you want to be made well?”
Until now, the only “move” the lame man was aware of was the “Angel stirring the water” move. It was the latest thing in town. And though there were some religious leaders who cried “fake” at their testimonies, and made sure their congregations were told to “stay away from those Bethesda Pool fanatics”, people were really changed and healed as God moved His way at the pool.
But Jesus came along and asked the question, “Do you want to be made well?”
What kind of question is that?! Didn’t Jesus understand how God moved? Wasn’t He aware of the manner in which God healed people? Surely He knew that not everyone could be healed. It just wasn’t the way God ministered to people anymore!
I’m sure the lame man was perplexed, to say the least. I mean, for someone to walk all that way, past the other sick folk, and see him with his bone size legs; then ask such a ridiculous question! Indeed!
Today, some 2000 years later, people are exactly like the lame man at the pool. They haven’t changed a bit. There have been a number of different “moves” through the years; from the move on the Day of Pentecost, right on down through the various moves in the twentieth century. But we still have a hard time embracing a new move of God.
But what if we took a moment and, before we debunk the new move as heretical, look and see if Jesus is involved in it; and if so, in what way? Though we may not understand the new move, we can trust Jesus! We may feel as though the new thing is ridiculous and anti-God; but even the lame man had sense to obey Jesus’ word, take up his bed, and walk!
People cry out against the faith movement, the shepherding movement, the laughter movement, and even the movement movement (just kidding). But maybe, just maybe, Jesus is somewhere close by.
Excesses, quite possible. Charlatans, could be some. But you can have those, even without a new move. In fact, you don’t need a new move, old move, or ANY move to locate a bunch of weirdos! The world is full of them!
My concern is that we become so comfortable in how “our” water is stirred, or in how God moves in our group, we ignore something new that He wants to do.
God IS moving! And He’ll move for and through those who will move with Him. And though He’ll never violate His Word, it IS true: “We walk by faith, not by sight.” The lame man embraced the words of Jesus even though they sounded strange. In doing so, he embraced the thing God was doing and received the strength he needed to move with God.
May that be our testimony, now, and in the days and months to come.