March 29, 2019
Download MP3 (right click to save)
Our kids were part of the Sesame Street generation. Maybe you can hear the theme song in the back of your mind; it depends on your age. They grew up watching what was then the most creative, groundbreaking children's program of its time. And Sesame Street always had an interesting cast of Muppet characters to make learning more interesting. I mean, who could forget Bert and Ernie, and Mr. Snuffleupagus, and Big Bird (who I always thought looked like a canary on steroids)? And, of course, the epitome of poor hygiene, Oscar the Grouch. In case you've been culturally deprived, Oscar is this hairy creature with his big eyes and a bad attitude who lives in a garbage can. He even sings a song called, "I Love Trash." Oscar doesn't have to live in a garbage can. He chooses to. No wonder he's got a bad attitude!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Oscar Outlook."
No one would choose to live in the garbage, would they? Well, in a way, a lot of people do just that, which leads us to what I consider the most curious question Jesus ever asked. He is at the pool of Bethesda, which many in that day believed had healing powers when it was stirred by an angel. Jesus sees this paralyzed man lying there who had been an invalid for 38 years. In our word for today from the Word of God, beginning in John 5:6 - "Jesus asked him, 'Do you want to get well?'" That's a curious question. "'Sir,' 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.' 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."
Now why would Jesus ask a paralyzed man if he wants to get well? The Bible doesn't tell us, but I have a guess. He had been in his paralyzed condition so long he might have been almost afraid to be well. He knew how to be paralyzed; he didn't know how to be well.
That might be like some of us when it comes to the baggage, or let's call it the "garbage" of our lives. When you've experienced pain in your past, maybe abuse, betrayal, tragedy, it's easy to begin to define your life as "victim." You may very well have been the victim of some person or situation that has hurt you deeply and you had no control.
But continuing to dwell on the pain of your past; continuing to define yourself by the pain of your past, in some ways, it's like following the Oscar approach to life...sort of living in the trash can, dwelling on - or dwelling in - the garbage of your life. You hate it, but you keep returning to it mentally and emotionally. And you start to get an Oscar outlook on life: negative, grouchy, thin-skinned, pitying yourself too much, and spilling garbage on other people.
And Jesus comes along and He asks that question, "Do you want to get well?" Living amidst the garbage of your past is a choice. Jesus has been setting people free from their emotional trash cans for 2,000 years! It will mean facing your issues instead of running from them, maybe working through them with a trained counselor, it might mean doing some forgiving, a lot of praying, and letting Jesus be the Lord of the corners of your heart that you've kept off limits to Him before.
See, when Jesus was born, the announcement was, "He will save His people from their sins." That's all the garbage and junk of our past...the sins that we've done and the sins that have been done to us. And the Bible says "Jesus came to rescue us from those" so that those don't ever have to be a part of our life again; never more defined by them.
What you've done before today, it doesn't ever have to matter anymore because Jesus died; He took the rap - paid the penalty - to remove all that junk and forgive it. This day would you say to Him, "Jesus, I'm yours. I want to start over. I want a clean heart. I want a new beginning. You're alive! You walked out of your grave. I want to have You in my life." Listen, we'll help you know how to do that if you'll just visit our website. It's called ANewStory.com.
Look, the trash of your past is real, but you don't have to live there any longer! Leave the past where it belongs - at the cross of Jesus Christ and follow Jesus to a brand new beginning!