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 paralysed. 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.
Today is Tuesday the 24 March, in the Fourth Week of Lent.
The University of Johannesburg choir sing a setting of Psalm 42: As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of John.
In the reading, Jesus approaches the paralysed man and asks him whether he wants to be made well. That seems a strange question; surely the answer is utterly obvious? Nonetheless Jesus asks him ‘Do you want to be made well?’ This reminds us that healing is not only about God’s wish to heal; it is also about our ability to be receptive to that healing and, perhaps, not to dictate how that healing will come and what form it will take. How does this idea make you feel? Does it make sense?
The paralysed man tells Jesus that he has nobody to help him seek the healing of God by lifting him down to the pool. Are there people you regularly ignore, or think aren’t deserving of attention. Can you express some love for them now by praying for them?
As you listen again to the reading, pay particular attention to other peoples’ reactions to the healing.
Are there areas of your life which need healing? These need not be physical; they may also be mental or spiritual. Jesus asks us each and every day whether we want to be healed; to accept God’s Will for us. Pray for that Grace.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.