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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

2/10/11 John 5:1-6 Do you Want to Get Well?

1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. [4] 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

(Carl Bloch 1883 Healing at Pool of Bethsaida)

Thoughts: There are many who like attention when they are sick.  There are some who are sick so long, they don't want to face the change of getting well.  There are many studies on prison recidivism (people going back to prison), indicating some just get used to the lifestyle and don't want to change.  "Cool Hand Luke" with Paul Newman is a classic example.  John says in a more general way, "People loved darkness rather than light" (3:19).  It is a hard to choose to live a better life, a Christian life.  There is something innate in us that keeps us from wanting what is right and good.  Many become very good at making up excuses, reasons, whole philosophies why we should not even try to follow Christ, or reach out to Him for help.  The first step of salvation and of healing is wanting God's help above our status quo of spiritual sickness. 

Prayer:  Lord, give me the grace and strength to want to get well for your glory.

John Calvin Commentary Abridged: Christ probably came at Pentecost to be subject to the Law in order to redeem us from the Law.  Bethesda's pool is called the sheep market because the sheep who were to be sacrificed were taken there.  Diseased people probably begged around the pool as people bought sheep and then went to the Temple.  It was a sad spectable to see so many lame, blind, and withered- those who could not be helped by human aid alone.  The Evangelist notes how long the man was sick to assure us of the reality of the miracle.  The man limits the assistance of God according to his own thinking by saying he had no person to help him down.  Yet God's goodness, often hidden from us, goes beyond the narrow limits of our faith.  Let us not be discouraged by the tediousness of the continuation of our afflictions.  God is a wonderful deliverer who can instantly remove our obstacles.

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