Faith Daily | 21 March 2023
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p486
Lord God, our Redeemer,
who heard the cry of your people
and sent your servant Moses to lead them out of slavery:
free us from the tyranny of sin and death
and, by the leading of your Spirit,
bring us to our promised land;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: John 5: 1-3, 5-16
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 invalidsblind, 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: by Rev'd Jane
Although Christ performed numerous miracles prior to being crucified, only 7 miraculous healings are recorded on the Sabbath and the healing of the invalid man at Beth-zatha, also known as Bethsaida or Bethesda, is number four. The pool there was a centre for healing. A place where, as John wrote, there were many invalids lame, blind and paralysed. A little different from the healing centres we have today and considerably less expensive. This pool at Beth-zatha was very similar to the pool at Siloam (at the other end of the city) where the blind man washed the mud from his eyes in last Sundays Gospel reading.
The waters of the healing pool at Beth-zatha were said to be visited by angels, at certain seasons, who stirred up the water. Whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was made well from whatever disease that person had so you could understand the frustration of the man who, after 38 years, was unable to enter the pool first and be healed. But why was this man chosen out of all the other invalids?
Were not told that this man knew that Jesus could heal him or even that he knew who Jesus was. So why him? Some believe that Jesus spoke with the man before asking whether hed like to be made well and after hearing his story Jesus was driven by compassion and mercy to heal the man. It was Gods will.
But what came next wasnt expected (by me anyway). Through the Gospels we hear that the blind man worshipped Jesus after he was healed, and that one of the ten lepers returned to Jesus to praise and worship God after he had been healed by Jesus. And it was the pure faith of the woman, who was healed after she had been bleeding internally for twelve years, that made her well. But this invalid man did not thank Jesus. Instead, when questioned by the Pharisees, he dobbed Jesus in for healing on the Sabbath which made the Jewish community extremely mad. A sure sign that outward blessing, can accompany inner death. Paradoxically, the man at the pool of Beth-zatha is healed outwardly, but apparently is never healed inwardly, because he shows no evidence of repentance when Jesus calls him to it.
This part of the story makes me sad and uncomfortable because it reminds me that just like the invalid man, we sometimes do what we believe is in our greatest interest at the time even if its at the expense of others.
But above all, this story is about healing. Even if you aren't suffering from a chronic physical ailment like the man at the pool, we all need healing. As Matthew Henry put it:
"We are all by nature impotent folk in spiritual things, blind, halt,
and withered; but full provision is made for our cure, if we attend
Father, we are such spiritually dull people sometimes.
We receive bountiful blessings from you
and yet respond so ungratefully.
It's not just the healed man in our story, but it's us!
Forgive us. Change our hearts.
Put in us faith and gratitude, we pray.
And thank you for your grace that covers all our sins.
In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.