Faith Daily | 16 March 2021

PRAYER of the WEEK Lent Four

Almighty God,

in Christ you make all things new:

transform the poverty of our nature

by the riches of your grace,

and in the renewal of our lives

make known your heavenly glory;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen APBA p488

GOSPEL for the Day: John 5: 1-16

After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. 3In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” 7The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” 8Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” 9At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. Now that day was a sabbath. 10So the Jews said to the man who had been cured, “It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” 11But he answered them, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your mat and walk.’” 12They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take it up and walk’?” 13Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had disappeared in the crowd that was there. 14Later Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you have been made well! Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you.” 15The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16Therefore the Jews started persecuting Jesus, because he was doing such things on the sabbath.

GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Angela Back

It seems that the Pool of Bethesda was known to earlier pagans and to Jews as a place of healing. At one stage it was dedicated to the healing god Asclepius. The waters in the pool would bubble up periodically and when that happened, the first to get in would be healed. When had this last happened? It seems they were grasping at straws, pinning their hopes on the ‘remote chance of miraculous healing or divine healing’.

Jesus was ever vigilant to the need of others, and the cripple was needy. Perhaps he was also resigned to his state… ‘I have nobody…’ I wonder how this man under the colonnade felt when he looked up and saw Jesus in front of him. The words were confronting; “Stand up, take up your mattress.” But surely His eyes, His voice, were what gave that man strength to do just that. Jesus gave him an opportunity and he caught at it, and became part of this story of the reality of a new creation.

Part of being human is to have patterns of behaviour that serve us well at times but often become claustrophobic. The good news is that being vulnerable makes us available to His gifts. Then and now, Jesus knows about them and offers us new life, freedom in situations that are seemingly set, in areas that need to be healed. I pray I will keep looking at Jesus, and accepting His offers. I love the strong thread of freedom in John’s Gospel.


FINAL PRAYER: From The visitation of the Sick, BCP

The Almighty Lord,

who is a most strong tower to all that put their trust in Him,

to whom all things in heaven, in earth and under the earth,

do bow and obey,

be now and evermore thy defence;

and make thee know and feel,

that there is no other Name under heaven given to humanity,

in whom, and through whom, thou mayest receive health

and salvation but only the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.


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