Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Stay in the shade or come into the light, the Bethesda experience

I have always loved the story of the man beside the pool of Bethesda. It appears again in this week's Bible Lesson about Christ Jesus.

The man had some kind of physical ailment that had plagued him for 38 years. So he was not a young person. He was not able to get about on his own so others had brought him to that place where he rested all day and waited for the healing opportunity. The porches were shaded and he must have been comfortable. By his words we can see that he blames his lack of healing on others who did not get him into the pool first. He wanted someone else to do the work. His family might have been very happy to get him out of the house! So there he sits and waits, making no effort to change his thinking.

Then Jesus appears. He must have sensed something in this man for of all those who were around the pool, this is the one he singled out. He asks him if he wants to be healed. A fair question and the man doesn't really answer it, he just blames everyone else. Jesus isn't buying it. He tells him to rise, take up his bed, and walk. There would have been no denying the Master. Because immediately the man was made whole. Can you imagine what it must have felt like to find oneself completely well and restored after such a long term challenge? He stands up, fully capable of doing so without any rehabilitation. He takes up that bed and carries it himself. And he leaves that place.

But he did not go home. He went into the temple, where he had been unable to go before, to give thanks to God. This tells us something about his character. And it is a gentle reminder of what we should do following our healings. Jesus finds him there and cautions him not to return to his old ways. Perhaps he will rededicate himself to the study of and obedience to the laws of God. Perhaps we will as well.

This will be such a rich week, studying about Jesus the Christ. Seeing how through him we are made free from the laws of matter, which have neither power not jurisdiction over us. Today I will be watching my own thinking. I do not want to baby along some longterm challenge, thinking that it is only by the efforts of others (my family, my friends, my church family, my practitioner, my teacher) that I would get healing. The healing comes with my change of thought and the Christ is present right here and right now to help me do that.

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