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; NABRE)
Are you willing to be healed?
The sick man in today’s Gospel is an important lesson in faith. After being ill for 38 years, the man is asked by Jesus if he wants to be healed. Judging by the man’s response, it appears that not only is his desire to be healed unquestionable, he has faith that the waters in the pool will perform this miracle. The only thing the man asks of Jesus is assistance getting into the pool. Seeing the man’s faith, Jesus tells him to take up his mat and walk. The man, again showing his faith, takes up his mat—which is a forbidden action on a Sabbath day. When admonished by the Jews, the man proclaims his healing. Afterward, Jesus makes sure to find the man again to reassure him.
Are you willing to be healed, no matter the cost? We all have the desire for healing, but are we willing? If healing requires some action that does not conform to societal norms or will cause you to be admonished by your neighbor, are you willing to follow Jesus despite the personal cost? Do you have faith enough to believe that God can heal your wounds, whatever they may be, and are you willing to take the action He asks of you in order to bring about your healing? As the story of the sick man shows us, we cannot put our faith in our fellow man to help us. We must ask for God’s help, believe that He will assist us, and be willing to accept the help and follow Jesus. Humble yourself to ask for God’s assistance, have faith that He will help you, and take the action He asks of you. As a loving Father, God will answer your prayers.
Copyright 2022 Jessica Tucker