Psalm 72 • Jeremiah 3:6-18 • Romans 1:28–2:11 • John 5:1-18
Thirty-eight years of infirmity had the man. 38 years an “invalid.” Can you imagine? Yet, Jesus first asks, “Do you want to be made well?”
“I have no one to put me into the pool. . . .”
Nowadays, we have poolside immersion machines allowing individuals with infirmities to exercise with or without physical therapists in the water; can you imagine how hard it was in Jesus’ day for people without social support to manage their disabilities? Yet, are there not people who still say, “I have no one to help me?”
Jesus heals the man, but disappears because it’s festival time and there’s a crushing crowd.
“See, you have been made well,” Jesus says, finding him in the temple. Shall we also walk—or run—to our temples (i.e., sanctuaries of prayer, church) when we’re healed?
“Do not sin anymore,” he continues, “that nothing worse happens to you.” Ponder what could be worse than not having been able to walk for 38 years.
More difficult to ponder is the lack of rejoicing on anyone else’s part on behalf of the former cripple, when the zeroing in on the law of the Sabbath day to do no work is considered.
In our days, pretty much anything goes on the Sabbath day as far as work is concerned. Even the liquor stores in Virginia are open on Sundays now. So, how do you keep your Sabbath day holy? It’s a commandment, right? How could Jesus offend the “holier than thous” so badly that they disregard the fact of the miraculous healing? Isn’t it precisely here that the first note sounds in John in the concert of effort to kill Jesus?
Do you have difficulty with the miracles? How could a man do miracles?
What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul,
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To lay aside his crown,
to bear the heavy cross,
for My Soul.
— Margaret Lee