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Jn.5:1-16

You are not forgotten and your name is written on God’s Palm.  The Lord has never failed to respond to human needs since the genesis of man. The entrance of sin into the Garden of Eden changed the Seed of God in man and was replaced by the knowledge of the seed of good and evil.  The capacity to be selfless has been seriously altered by sin and now, we all tend to live in the “ME” generation.  Nobody does anything these days without a feed back and what’s in it for him. The story before us introduces mankind to man’s inhumanity to man and the loss of human milk of kindness.

In the first two scriptures, we are introduced to the first elements in the story and this is connected to Jesus going to Jerusalem.  The center of action will be Bethesda, which has a sheep’s gate nearby, having five canopies. Bethesda by interpretation means the City of Peace, but there was no peace found here.  Peace is directly related to compassion and love, but the city of peace did not have any grace or compassion for its physically challenged community.

The heart of the story focuses on God’s response to Man’s Inhumanity to Man.  Secondly, it also shows how humans desperately need God for a divine intervention through the angels, His Son, His Spirit or the Church, as co-workers with Him.  We came from God and until He has touched us, we are not really healed.  His touch fills the total being (soul, spirit, mind, and body) with unspeakable peace and glory.  God will always respond to the poor and the underdog. He fights on their side.

Verses 3-6 reveal the heart of the story and give us the plot.  The pool by the Sheep Gate is more than an ordinary pool, because once a year, an angel of the Lord comes to stir the water and whoever gets to the water first, is instantly cured of any disease he or she may have. This pool became the medical center of Jerusalem and drew hundreds of permanent residents, living year in year, out in the five canopies, waiting anxiously for the yearly arrival of the angel. This place in Bethesda became one of the most popular centers in Israel.  It was like Mecca to the Muslims.  Until you go to Bethesda, you have not really seen Jerusalem. A man who needed healing came to this pool and for 38 years, he had waited patiently for a kind person to throw him into the pool, but it never happened. That generation was a “Me” generation and it could not care whether he lived or died. They were there for themselves or relatives and not some strange looking old man.

A long illness that has remained for almost 40 years and was not going away, was the nemesis of this man.  If the old man’s hope of healing was in the pool, he might as well be writing his funeral order of service.  That would be impossible, because of the selfishness in the heart of man. The name of the game is: “Everyone for himself and not the neighbor.”

The atmosphere was getting tensed, because people could feel the nearness of the angelic visitation.  Masses of people began to converge at the pool in hundreds and thousands, ready to make a hundred-meter dash into the pool.  Suddenly the pool began to churn and the angel’s presence was visible to all.  Within split seconds, his task was done and hundreds of sick people found themselves in the pool, hoping they got in first and that their sickness would be gone.  Everyone checked his or her physical condition and only one person came out sound and healed.  The 999 would have to wait for another year when the angel visits again.  You can’t begin to imagine the disappointment of the 999 who did not get healed.

God saw a man who deserved to be in the pool above everyone else, because he had been around for about 40 years, but nobody cared whether he lived or died.  But God Himself cared and He was going to do something about it.  The Lord received a signal from the Holy Spirit that His Father needed his attention and had a special mission for him at the pool of Bethesda. There was a man the Father would like Jesus to meet. He was healing him and that healing would be manifested in the physical realm through the words of Jesus Christ, as His Father would operate through Him. The Lord wanted to know His Father’s will about the other 999 sick people, but the day of healing belonged totally to the old man who had spent almost 40 years in the midst of cold and heartless people, who were only concerned about their needs.

When Jesus met the man, He saw in his eyes: pain, helplessness and constant cries that were never answered.  The Lord knew that the man had been there for 38 years, waiting to be healed, yet Jesus asked the man if he wanted to be well. What a Question! Was the Lord being mean here? Was there reason for the question? The question was for the man’s sake and the Lord was not being funny.  Time has the tendency to wear down our faith, trust and belief in God, for divine intervention or even help from another human being, because of the presence of evil and the evil one. A woman prayed 30 years to have a baby.  How strong is her faith in God at that 30th year in comparison to the 1st year, if her prayer is still unanswered? YOU BE THE JUDGE !     The man’s answer to Jesus was in the affirmative in an indirect way. The man was saying, ”I want to be healed, but I need help to get into the pool amidst the 100 yards dash of others into the pool. Many have died in their sickness while waiting for the angel to come, while others have moved on and accepted their fate, but the old man would not give up on being healed by the water of the pool and that was what moved the God of Heaven to respond to his SOS cry for help. As long as we keep our eyes on the physical and only see our surroundings, our needs and our problems grow, but when we look to the Lord and see Him regardless of our physical problems, hope and healing will come to us.  It is amazing how we miss the Lord in our choices of where, when, and how we will be blessed or healed.  The sick man’s W5 was in the pool, but God had a different plan for making him well. The Father sent Jesus to a forgotten man at the pool of Bethesda.  God will never forget you, even if people do.  Your name and face are graven upon His palm.  You are always in His mind! The 38 years old man was ignored by the strong men around in Bethesda. They refused to help him and the Father came to his rescue.

From verse 7, Jesus knew that the sick man had answered in the affirmative and so He said to him; “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” It was as if Jesus was saying to the man; “My Father had sent me to heal you, because humanity had forgotten you.  He is your God and He will never forget nor leave you.”  These words from Jesus are also for you in your hours of pain and darkness.  Take courage! God has not forgotten you and He has no intentions of doing so.

Jesus opened His mouth and spoke to the man! What happened when God spoke in Genesis.1?  Things happened. The word of God is powerful and as Jesus spoke, His words became energetic and brought healing life to the sick man.  He got up, took his bed and began to walk in the presence of all.  At the words of Jesus, the power of the Spirit came upon the man and he was healed instantly.  The word of God is life and spirit and very active, powerful and sharper than any double-edge sword.  Nothing can resist its strength and power. You can speak God’s words through your lips and they will have the same force, because the Lord promised you that it would be so.  He said; “Greater works than these shall you do, because I am going to my Father. Jn.14:12.

Do you know what it is to be ignored, rejected and avoided?  Have you ever been ignored or rejected regardless of your charms, beauty, spiritual talents or gifts?  What happened is not so much of rejection, but a refusal to be human. It is human to fight or help another human, even if you don’t know him or her and have your own problems. God put that in you before the fall and once in a while, it surfaces in us.  God has not forgotten you. Take courage and look away from the physical to see the Lord in you.

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