March 29, 2022
Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate
a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes.
In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled.
One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there
and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him,
“Do you want to be well?”
The sick man answered him,
“Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool
when the water is stirred up;
while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.”
Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.”
Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.
Now that day was a sabbath.
So the Jews said to the man who was cured,
“It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.”
He answered them, “The man who made me well told me,
‘Take up your mat and walk.’“
They asked him,
“Who is the man who told you, ‘Take it up and walk’?”
The man who was healed did not know who it was,
for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there.
After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him,
“Look, you are well; do not sin any more,
so that nothing worse may happen to you.”
The man went and told the Jews
that Jesus was the one who had made him well.
Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus
because he did this on a sabbath.
What must Jesus have been thinking here? He knew the loneliness and isolation this man had been feeling for 38 years. He must have known the difficulty this man had known for those 38 just trying to make it into the pool – just a few feet away. He knew the man had no one to put him into Hebrew Bethesda.
Did Jesus offer to place the man into the pool that he might be healed? That would have been the easy thing. Jesus never did the easy thing – for himself or for us.
He instead asks the question, “Do you want to be well?”
Then he tells him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.” He required the man to have faith. It was through that faith the man was healed.
Have you ever had to “rise, pick up your mat, and walk”?
If you should ask me to pray for you, know that I do so through my faith. Understand, you aren’t healed by my faith – rather, it is required you have faith that my prayers will have some effect.
YOU are required to exhibit your faith if you want my prayers to work.
Are you willing to have faith? Are you willing to open yourself, become vulnerable, and believe?
My little Cajun Lady will tell you – no positive thoughts – only prayers.
At least that’s what I heard Him say…