It’s a beautiful day in Jerusalem. We came down for the festival. People are celebrating in the streets, in the Inns and outside the Temple. But I am with Jesus.
At Bethesda, Jesus has forgone the celebrating and walks among the sick. It’s a horrific sight. The beggars and the lame, the blind and the gaunt, are all here by the pool, looking for healing.
A community of infirmed, brought together by a legend. A superstition of health from water once it’s stirred. False hope from the traditions of men.
Jesus has his eyes on a man who is lame. He tells us the cripple has suffered for 38 years. That’s longer than my lifetime!
His legs are bone-thin and twisted, his feet curled and pale. He coughs while focused on the pool. Jesus approaches him.
“Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6)
Strange question. Of course he wants to get well. Everyone here wants to get well. He has been lame for 38 years, you said it yourself.
“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.” (John 5:7)
Well, his answer is simple enough. He can’t. He needs someone to help.
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”(John 5:8)
I’ve seen this before. Every time Jesus encounters someone lame, they walk. Every time Jesus encounters the blind, they see. Every time He encounters the deaf, they hear. The lepers skin becomes pure and the demonic, sane. He has 100% success rate and I suspect no difference here.
Yep, just like I thought. Just as Jesus told him, he’s getting up to walk. He’s carrying his mat out of here…with urgency!
Later we hear he was confronted. The Jewish leaders had a problem with him carrying his mat on the Sabbath. He revealed to them his healing, they were more concerned with the rules.
So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?” (John 5:12)
Really? Not, “who healed you?” Just who told you to break the rules!
These Jewish Leaders are a piece of work. They are more concerned about a rule than a miracle.
Jesus has gone to look for the man who He healed.
He found him outside the Temple.
“See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” (John 5:14)
What could be worse than 38 years of infirmity and crawling in the dust? What could be worse than the life this man has lived?
Is there a lesson here?
I know I have had personal issues I could not correct. I tried to fix them myself, but was unable. I put my faith in self will and determination. I failed.
Then I met Jesus. I follow Him and heed to His instruction. I tell Him about my problems and He guides me to correction. I knew I was made better than what I was.
He has called me and I have much to learn. Everyday I am with him, more is revealed and more is required.
Now my hope rests in Him. I want to live a life of purpose. I want to do exactly what he tells me. My life has gained a new sense of prosperity. I am vital.
But here come the Jewish leaders with their threats and persecution. Following Jesus is not all smooth sailing. I sense rough seas ahead and great trouble for Jesus. Where will that bring Him? Where will that bring me?
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