I love this story.This week's Bible Lesson, Doctrine of Atonement, includes the story of the man lying at the pool of Bethesda. This account is from the gospel of John who may have been an eyewitness to what happened. It does not say if Jesus was alone or if the disciples were with him.
Those in need of healing gathered around this pool by the sheep market in Jerusalem. Many had to be carried there. They were all hoping for a miracle so they must have been sorely afflicted, beyond the help of the medical practitioners of their day. This gospel describes them as impotent folk, blind, halt, withered. They watched for the waters of the pool to be moved by an angel. They believed that whoever could be first into the water would then be healed. Desperate measures for desperate people.
Walking by the pool Jesus notices a particular man who had suffed with an infirmity 38 years. Everyone there was in need of healing but Jesus singles out this one man. He knew that he had been afflicted for a long time. This man could at least see and hear so he was aware of Jesus standing before him. Jesus asks him a question we all need to consider when we are 'waiting' for a healing that seems long overdue. "Wilt thou be made whole?". The New Living Translation says, "Would you like to get well?". The Message Bible interprets that as "Do you want to get well?". It is an important question. Are you ready for this healing? Are you ready to no longer be idenfied and limited by this claim? You've had it with you for some time, are you ready to let it go?
You'd think the man would answer with a resounding 'Yes!" but instead he starts to list all the reasons why this won't happen. He has no one to help him. Well, no one stayed there with him, but someone had cared enough to bring him there. He isn't fast enough. This lingering problem has left him weak and limited in his movements. Have you ever caught yourself thinking "I can't do this". There's more. Someone else always gets there first. Does that sound familiar to you? At least he makes the attempt. At least he returns to the pool with some hope of success.
It's ironic that he thinks he has no one to help him when the best helper of all time is standing right in front of him and has just asked if he wants to be not only helped but healed! Is this how you work with a practitioner? Listing all the reason that you haven't gotten your healing. If you are dealing with a challenge that has not yielded? Try writing a list of the reasons you think that is the case. Then list next to each reason the truth about your relationship to divine Life, Truth and Love. Remember that the Christ is present here and now, ready to lift you up and out of that circumstance.
Jesus does not sympathize with the list of complaints. He sees this man as already perfect and complete, he knows this so-called ailment is without foundation or truth. It is only a lie and he sees right through it. He knows what this man is capable of right then and he tells him to rise, take up his bed, and walk. We saw this same thing in a recent lesson with the man healed of palsy. Jesus is telling him to lift himself up because he knows he can do this. He is telling him to take up that bed, carry the very thing that had been used to carry him by others. He is telling him to walk, something he has not done unaided for 38 years. And the man does all of that.
We catch a further glimpse of his total turn around when Jesus later finds him in the temple. He has gone there to pray and be grateful for his healing. But Jesus knew he needed to keep that gratitude for more than a few days. He affirms that the man is now whole but he cautions him to sin no more. He is not to return to his old ways but to be a new man.
Paul describes it in II Corninthians 5 - "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new". If you are struggling with a challenge that has seemed to stay with you for a long time, what a promise! That old lie passes out of your experience, you are a new creature. Good as new. Good as when God first created you, whole and perfect.
If you have been 'waiting' for healing, wait no longer....recognize the presence of the Christ, believe what he has done for you, elevate your thinking, take control of the lie, and walk away, free and healed. Be whole...and don't sin any more.