(A commentary on John 5: 1-16)
Daily Reflection – 3/16/2021
There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes. In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.” Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked. Now that day was a Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” He answered them, “The man who made me well told me, ‘Take up your mat and walk.’” They asked him, “Who is the man who told you, ‘Take it up and walk’?” The man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there. After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him, “Look, you are well; do not sin any more, so that nothing worse may happen to you.” The man went and told the Jews that Jesus was the one who had made him well. Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus because he did this on a Sabbath. (John 5: 1-16)
Do you want to be well?” Jesus asks a man who has been crippled for 38 years. At first glance, it’s a strange question. It’s like asking a starving man if he’d like a roast beef sandwich.
But Jesus asked the question at a deeper level, trying to solicit the man’s deep desires, so that the man’s will would be involved in the cure. The man didn’t respond the way we would have thought he would, with an emphatic, “Yes, of course.” Instead, he made excuses. And the excuses had become so comfortable, predictable, that the man stayed in the same spot in his life for 38 years.
The Lord Jesus approaches each one of us with the same question, “Do you really want to be healed – to be forgiven, set free from guilt and sin, from uncontrollable and from hurtful desires and addictions?
The first essential step is the desire for change. If we are content to stay as we are, then no amount of coaxing will change us. But. If we desire that change in our lives, we must first wake up to our true condition.
Truthfully admitting who we really will also turn us away from self-delusion. We can be in church our whole life. We can be inches from the Source of healing and salvation and still be gripped by paralyzing pride. It’s great we have been in the church all of our life. The question that needs to be answered is “Is the Church in us?”
Jesus wants our response to be filled with thirst and enthusiasm, “He wants us to say, “Yes, Jesus, I trust in you!” Jesus’ words to this man are almost identical to what he said to the paralytic he healed in Capernaum., In each miracle, Jesus did not cure merely a physical paralysis but a spiritual one, and he does it in such a way that he wants us, in faith, to trust in his healing power and cooperate, however little, in the miracle. He wants us to participate in our own healing and set out more fully on the journey of faith.
It’s critical that this Lent and every Lent to ask ourselves whether we are advancing in this Living Water, whether we’re allowing Jesus to raise within us whatever is dead. Jesus wants to cure us of our spiritual stagnation! But he wants us to want to be cured!
Today, let’s begin walking with the Lord through our souls and as we come on these paralyzed men in our hearts, let’s allow the Lord to heal that man and then let’s move on.
What is waiting for us is beyond our paralysis is truly amazing.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, put within my heart a burning desire to be changed and transformed in your way of holiness. Renew in me a fervent love and desire to do whatever is pleasing to you and to refuse whatever is contrary to your will.”
The paralyzed man represents all who lack the power to move themselves to complete healing, to find the fulfillment of our common human calling to become like God in holiness. But think for a moment about how we have all learned to adapt to our favorite sins, how we have become comfortable with whatever forms of corruption have become second nature to us over the years. By virtue of coming to Church, we are apparently religious people, but that does not mean that we truly want to be healed. For to be healed means obeying the Lord’s command to this fellow: “Rise, take up your pallet, and walk.” It requires making the effort to rise up in obedience, to be transformed personally in how we live each day, and to grow in holiness.