Sunday 09 May 2010

Bible Book:

"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?'" (v.6)

John 5:1-9 Sunday 9 May 2010


Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a festival. This may have beenthe Passover or it may have been Pentecost. Passover is when Jewscelebrate their freedom from slavery in Egypt (see Exoduschapters 11 and 12). Pentecost is a Jewish harvest festival andalso commemorates the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses (Exodus20:2-17). But for Christians, it is a celebration of the HolySpirit, as it was on the day of Pentecost that the disciplesreceived this empowering gift from God (Acts2:1-4).

In Jerusalem there was a 'sheep gate'. The sheep which would beoffered as a sacrifice for sin were herded into the Temple throughthis gate. Near the sheep gate was a pool called Beth-zatha whichwas renowned for its healing properties. It had five alcoves whichprovided shelter for the sick people who would gather there. Everyso often the water would start bubbling up and the first person toget into the pool at that time would be healed.

Jesus came to this pool and asked a man who had been lying therefor a long time, "Do you want to be made well?" The man does notdirectly answer the question but explains that he has not beenhealed because there has been no one to help him get into the poolquickly enough.

Today we begin Christian Aid Week. The images we see on ourtelevision screens of people desperately scrambling for aid when aconvoy arrives are probably not dissimilar to the scene atBeth-zatha when the water started stirring. The sick people who hadbeen waiting so long for this moment began to compete with oneanother to get into the pool first.

The man who had been ill for 38 years longed to be healed. He hadnot given up hope but was still waiting by the pool. However,without someone to help him, he would never be able to receive whathe was longing and hoping and waiting for.

To Ponder

There were "many invalids" lying by the pool. Whydo you think Jesus chose to heal only this particular man?

Who is longing and waiting and hoping for yourhelp?

What are you longing and waiting and hopingfor?

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