Rising May 22, 2022
Today, we read of Jesus visiting the pool of Beth-zatha which is near the Sheep Gate. Today, the Gate is called the Lion’s Gate. It is the northeastern entrance through the fortress walls of Jerusalem. There many sick and crippled people gathered. The legend was that the first into the pool when it became still (no waves) was healed.
There was a paralytic there who had waited many years to get his chance to enter the waters and be healed. The author of John’s Gospel has painted a very tragic picture. How could a paralytic possibly be able to get to the pool faster than a more able-bodied person?
Jesus asks the man if he really wishes to be healed. At first glance, one would guess the obvious answer to such a question would be “Yes, of course.” But when someone has been ill so long, one tends to develop a dependency on others. Certain responsibilities for one’s care becomes someone else’s chore.
One gets used to letting someone else take the dishes to the sink and washing them. One gets accustom to being carried to the pool every day. One even gets used to feeling sorry for themselves. One gets comfortable being uncomfortable.
Getting cured means having to change ones behavior and taking more responsibility for their own care.
Jesus commands the paralytic to arise, take up his pallet and walk.
One would ask; “Can I?” “Should I?” “Maybe I should get a doctor’s opinion.” “Perhaps I need to think about it.”
In the scripture account the man follows Jesus’ command. He really does get up. He really does pick up his pallet. He really does walk.
But are we sick? Are we paralyzed?
When asked to take responsibility, many of us will say to God. “I’m good.” But when asked to take responsibility we often say; “I’m too tired.”; “I don’t know how.”; “I don’t have time.” or “I don’t have the experience.”
Isn’t this a type of paralysis?
So… when Jesus asks us if we want to be healed – what do we answer?