Read John 5:1-18

 

After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes.  In these lay many invalids–blind, lame, and paralyzed.

 

One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.  When 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?”

 

The 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.”

 

Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.”  At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk.

 

 Now that day was a sabbath.  So the Jews said to the man who had been cured, “It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.”

 

But he answered them, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your mat and walk.'”

 

They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take it up and walk’?”  Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had disappeared in the crowd that was there.

 

Later 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.”  The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.  Therefore the Jews started persecuting Jesus, because he was doing such things on the sabbath.

 

But Jesus answered them, “My Father is still working, and I also am working.”  For this reason the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because he was not only breaking the sabbath, but was also calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God.  (NRSV)

 

—from Pastor William Pollack, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), St. Albans

 

            “Do you want to be made well?” The question Jesus asked a 38-year ill veteran continues to resonate in our ears today. Looking deep inside our own hearts, we might try and make excuses for the    condition in which we find ourselves. They may even sound good to our own ears. But the question begs us to do something we might find too difficult to accomplish. It may be that we are being called to place our trust completely in the One who asked the question.

 

            If we allow, reflection and repentance can be avenues of our Lenten experience. Nevertheless, these can be treacherous to our own self-assurance and security. So, continuing together in this Lenten season, may we honestly reflect on the words of the One who is the Great Physician. Let us invite Him to take our moments of unfaithfulness and sin, so that through His love for us we will also hear these words: “Rise, take up your mat and walk.” Only then will we really be whole. “Do you want to be made well?”

 

May my longing to be whole overcome my reluctance

to fully trust in you, O God my Healer.

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