Several years ago, Sweet T and I had the opportunity to tour Israel, including Jerusalem. One of the places we visited is the legendary healing pools of Bethesda. In biblical times, seas of hurting and disabled people swarmed around the porticoes because of the healing properties believed to be in the water. Perhaps the warmth of the water combined with a high mineral content had medicinal benefits that alleviated the suffering from various hurts, aches, and pains. As we saw them, the pools had long ago been abandoned. Yet, standing in the place where Jesus is said to have performed his third miracle was humbling and awe-inspiring. The name Bethesda, or Bethsaida, means “House of Mercy.”
John 5:1-9a (ESV)
1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, Do you want to be healed? 7 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 going another steps down before me. 8 Jesus said to him, Get up, take up your bed, and walk. 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.
We see Jesus find a man who had been left unable to walk by his disease for nearly 40 years. Jesus asks the man, “Do you want to be healed?”
This rich question recognizes that some people are happiest when living in their misery. Some of us are happy living in our spiritual mess. We don’t want to be healed. From this passage, it becomes clear that Jesus only wants to heal those wanting to be healed. He’s not forcing the man to accept His healing. Thankfully, the man chooses to receive it. And then, immediately upon the man’s acceptance of Christ’s healing offer, Jesus instructs the man to get up, pick up his mat, and walk. And we see the man stand up, take his mat and leave. He is healed, freed from yesterday’s pain. Hallelujah!
When Jesus first encountered the man, the man was in bad shape. His condition was serious and his situation seemed hopeless. But Jesus transformed all of that, instantaneously restoring the man to good health. The man could have refused the gift Jesus offered him. The man could have chosen to stay mired in pain and chained to his suffering. But, wisely, he decided to accept Jesus’ healing power and once he was healed, left his past behind, and stepped into his new future.
Don’t let your past pains paralyze your present day. Accept the healing God offers, make your amends where you need to, and move forward into the future.
#healing #recovery #pain
The Devotional Guy™