Key Texts: John 5:1-18
Sometime later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
“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.”
Then 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.
There are many stories of Jesus and his followers healing others.
I think one of the most intriguing is this one. The man who is in need is one who “had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.”
There was an expectation, a hope, that this was a place of miraculous healing but, for whatever reason, this one child of God had been able to get to the waters that supposedly could bring hope and healing.
It is this man, among all the others there, whom Jesus approaches.
He offers the man something that he had to that moment been unable to find.
We can speculate about what was going through the man’s mind in that moment. Was it too much to hope for, that this one called Jesus could do something, offer something, no one else had been able or willing to offer?
Sometimes, we might ask the same question. Deep in our hearts, our minds, we question, we wonder. “Can it be true? Can Jesus really offer something – the one thing – we have been unable to find elsewhere – the healing we so desperately need?”
We can’t know what was in the mind or heart of that man in need that day but we do know what Jesus did.
He called the man to get up and walk – in faith – to just get up and walk – after thirty eight years of paralysis.
And, as miraculous as the healing itself, the man did just that. He got up and walked.
I ponder this story, again and again. I think of the connection between faith and healing, the deep compassion of Jesus, how he must have somehow inspired the man just by looking at him, reaching out to him, despite all the odds.
I believe Jesus still does this today. He reaches out, offers something no one else does, no one else can.
But we must have the faith to reach out and grasp his hand.
The question he asked then, he asks of us all, “Do you want to…?”
Then come and receive God’s gift of healing – however you might need it – and however it might come.