RISE TO THE OCCASION
Minister A .J. Watkins M.Div.
JOHN 5:2-8; LUKE 24:5-7; JOHN 20: 22, 27-29
KING JAMES VERSION UTILIZED
JAMES MOFFET & CHARLES ERDMAN SUPPLEMENTARY STUDIES
SIMONTON GENESIS MINISTRIES INC. COPYRIGHT 2005
In my many years as a US Marine, I have had the pleasure of experiencing an incalculable amount of ceremonies that has dealt with dignitaries, princes, princesses, dukes, ambassadors, queens, kings, sultans, and presidents all over the world. I have had to show honor to our own President of the United States while serving on the security forces. In the military we even have a general order that states to “Salute all officers, colors, and standards not cased.” That means that we are to salute the high-ranking military official, the Flag of this country, and other high-ranking dignitaries that represent this country. Now in doing all of this, there is one thing that we must do before we render that salute. That one thing is to “rise” to our feet for the occasion. The occasion could be an all night gala or it may be for a fleeting moment in which royalty, presidency, or superiority is passing by on their way into an event.
When you are in the courtroom, the bailiff will state, “All rise, court is now in session. The Honorable Judge Joe Brown is presiding.” When you are at a wedding you will “rise” as the bride makes her way down the aisle. When you are at funeral you will “rise” as the coffin is wheeled out. When you find yourself at a meeting for the local community you will “rise” and receive your council representative. When you are at a black tie affair you will stop what you are doing and if you are sitting, you will “rise” to receive the dignitary that is throwing the gala. When you have guests in your home for one of those holiday dinners at the dining table that you never use, you will call everyone together and “rise” when a senior member of the family takes the head of the table. When you have a guest revivalist or evangelist in your church and they walk into the pulpit after the service starts, you “rise” to your feet to show respect to the man or woman that will bring the message. When a guest minister is brought into town by a church, it is customary that the host pastor asks the congregation to “rise” to their feet as the speaker stands and takes his or her place behind the lectern to read the scripture.
Now you may ask yourself why do we rise? It is because you are rising to the occasion. These aforementioned scenarios are occasions that warrant such respect. With the exception of having arthritis and can’t stand, people will look at you strange if you do not rise to the occasion.
In our text we have the very familiar passage of scripture that includes a dialogue between someone that is trapped in the world of redundancy and complacency and the one that can change your life so that you can work and move freely. Our text is a biblical story told over and over again with different lessons in mind. However today we will talk about rising to the occasion. We notice that Jesus was passing by this particular day and, as always, he was handing out blessings and miracles. When Jesus asked him if he wanted to be made whole, he began to come up reasons as to why he hasn’t been made whole.
Thirty-eight years is a long time to be in a predicament that you cannot control. It is a long time to be in the mindset of a commitment to do something and never get it done. Notice in the text he states he has no one to put him in the pool. Yet with the same breath he states “but while I am coming.” Now which one is it? Is it because no one will put you in the pool or is it while you are coming? Many miss what he stated here. There is no one to put me in, but while I am coming others step down before me. As we study this, you will see that he was obviously able to move. He could move faster with assistance, but he was too weak in the legs to get in there before another person would get in front of him.
We see that the first thing missing is humility and faith. He had been there thirty-eight years; this would tell me that he was highly familiar with the time and date that the angel would appear. In his heart I can see with my spiritual eye that he thought to himself year after year that he would prevail. However, God held him in place for thirty-eight years and would allow him to make progress toward his goal, but not achieve his goal. Humility is not depreciation of us, but appreciation of God. Thirty-eight years tells me that he had gained a lot of reasons but not answers. When you state that you are humble and you have faith, you will perform acts as God’s Spirit tells you to do so. You see his time had come after all of that suffering and he still was not truly ready to receive his blessing and this miracle. He did not humble himself and say yes, he began to give reasons why he should not rise to the occasion. He did not even try to rise before the Lord gave the command. He was looking for the good (troubling of the water) and had the best right in front of him (Jesus). He wasn’t even trying to hear Jesus at first.
People come in and out of your life daily, monthly, and yearly. They come in the form of girlfriends and boyfriends, business associates, and acquaintances. Most of the time, they start out meaning you well. Yet as time goes by, you will find that they really want to see where you are going and either get with your program to gain experience for themselves or thwart your program. That is why most people fail. Their faith is placed in the wrong location. We place people between our circumstances and ourselves. However, Faith puts God between our circumstances and ourselves. Placing faith in mankind to help you achieve your program is a dangerous game to play. I am not saying not to seek help to achieve your goal. God places those people in there as you travel to assist you along the way. However most programs fail because we allow people that sound as if they are committed to our program to come in and go to work. They will say all of the right things, make all the proper appearances, but when it comes right down to it, they’re looking for reasons for your success instead of answers and therefore they will begin to mess you up because they are looking at where you came from and how you got there instead of now that I am on board, what is it that you want me to do with the talents and skills that I possess? That is another problem that our friend at the pool had in his possession. He placed his faith in the wrong people to help him get in the pool.
Notice that Jesus did not say anything here. He just waited for the man to finish his reasons as to why he was not whole yet. Then he commanded him to “Rise to the Occasion.” Take up your bed and walk and he immediately walked like he was supposed to walk. He rose to the occasion. Many times in our lives we hear and see people day in and day out telling us things about ourselves that we know are not true. However, every now and then, the Lord will dispatch someone into our lives to add us, subtract us, multiply us, and divide us and sum us up to nothing. That is the person you want around you. That is the type of person that will tell you like it is and doesn’t mind receiving constructive criticism himself or herself. However when we are read by total strangers, we get offended. Total strangers only pass through your life for a short time, because they have other goals to accomplish as they pass over. It is imperative that we listen to those that God dispatches into our lives to assist us in getting our heads on straight and pointed in the proper direction. You will notice that these people are humble but powerful when they speak and even more powerful when they’re walking in their calling, into their season, and when you see their accomplishments. I believe the first test of a truly great man or woman is their humility. I do not mean by humility, not speaking their mind, or doubting their own abilities. But really great men and women have a curious under-sense of powerlessness, feeling that the greatness is not in them but through them; that they could not do or be anything else than who God made them to be. When God commands them, they move. That is the difference in Saints that rise to the occasion and those of us that just lay by the pool waiting.
Competing with those that God has anointed and appointed is a losing battle. In the text he competed with Jesus’ will with his own will. However, Jesus could see the greatness in him when he couldn’t see the greatness in himself and he commanded him and he did. When the spirit of God really moves on you, you have to move. You must rise to the occasion. People always state what they are going to do and never do it. I have noticed in churches all over this city and nation, that many people have something to say and no one has anything to do.
People offend you and you won’t rise to the occasion to let them know it. People lie on you and you won’t rise to the occasion and them know it. People get rumors started about you and another individual and you won’t rise to the occasion and let them know it. People will use you and you will not rise to the occasion and let them know it. People assassinate your character and you won’t rise to the occasion and let them know it. People mess with your wife and children and you will not rise to the occasion and let them know it. People say what they are going to do to help the church grow, but they won’t rise to the occasion and do anything. People state we need, and God sends and they still won’t rise to the occasion and realize the need has been met. Just like our friend in the text.
However, I know what happens when you do rise to the occasion. You see on his way to Calvary, Jesus stopped and healed, listened, educated, changed ways, and left commands. Jesus rose to the occasion when he called the Sanhedrin hypocrites for criticizing the disciples for eating without washing their hands. Jesus rose to the occasion when he told them that they do things to be seen of man and not please God in their hearts. Jesus rose to the occasion when he told them that they could destroy the temple and in three days it would be raised again. Jesus rose to the occasion when he died for our sins and iniquities from the eternal past, to the eternal present, and into the eternal future. Jesus rose to the occasion when they went to the sepulcher and they remembered his words in Luke 24:5-7 that he would rise in three days. Jesus rose to the occasion when he left us a way to rise to any occasion from here until the future. According to John 20:22, 27-29 he told them to receive the Holy Ghost. After that he told Thomas in 27-29 put your hand here and touch my hand and then take your hand and place it in my side. He went on to tell Thomas you had to see to believe. He once again rose to the occasion. Then one more time in Acts, he operated from Heaven and rose to the occasion in the second chapter in verses two through twelve and sent the Holy Ghost to all nations. The Holy Ghost, which is the Spirit of God, is still here operating.
If you will allow the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost, to dwell within your heart, mind, and soul, your body will be able to handle the mess and the stress and the fluff and stuff. You will rise to any occasion. Jesus rose to the occasion and then sent us help so that we may rise to the occasion like he did. What occasion? I am glad you asked me that question. If you are impregnated with an idea, and that idea has become a dream, and that dream has become a goal, and that goal has become a passion, and that passion has become a calling, then you will rise to the occasion.
If God has called you to be a doctor and that is your dream and passion, then rise to the occasion and go to med school, go to the internship, and receive your medical degree. If God called you to be a lawyer and that is your dream and passion; then go to law school, focus on the area you want to practice, rise to the occasion and receive your law degree. If God called you to be a teacher in the school system and that is your dream and passion, then go to college and get educated on the psyche of children on all grade levels and achieve that teaching degree.
Most of all, if God has endowed you with the Holy Ghost and he has called you to be a Christian this Sunday, and that is your goal and passion to be the best Christian you can be for God and that is your true calling, then rise to the occasion.
A TRUE Christian will rise to the occasion to: Give without griping. Serve without grumbling. Sacrifice without boasting. Endure without complaining. Help without “Bossing”. Submit without resisting. Pray without ceasing. Why? It because you are walking in your calling.
A TRULY called Christian will rise to the occasion to: Be a good neighbor to their neighbors. Not a nosy one. Be a good doctor to their patients. Not a judgmental one. Be a good lawyer to their clients. Not an arrogant one. Be a good leader to their followers. Not a selfish one. Be a good businessman to their customers. Not a crooked one.
Being a TRULY called Christian is not an easy task because the enemy is out there. However, with the aid of God’s spirit TRUE Christians already know: There is opposition to overcome. There are mountains to be moved. There are disappointments to be endured. There are hardships to be handled. There are talents to be developed.
Therefore a Called Christian will be: Consistent in their devotion. Honest in their efforts. Determined in their purpose. Ambitious in their opportunities. Positive in their attitude. Persuaded in their mind that God Is their foundation! Persistent in their enthusiasm and optimistic in their views about life.
All the best and God bless,
Eld. A. J. Watkins D.Min.
Simonton Genesis Global Ministries
24 Hr Prayer Line (702) 560-4291