Subject: Redeemer Downtown Devotional: Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany - January 29, 2012
Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany - January 29, 2012
After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
John 5:1-15 (ESV)
The pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem was known throughout the ancient world as a place of healing. At any given time there would be many (“blind, lame, and paralyzed”) who would position themselves beside the pool, in order to access its healing waters. One person, an invalid, had been trying to access the pool for thirty-eight years. Rendered powerless by an incurable disease, he had spent most, if not all, of his life vainly seeking a miracle to overcome it, with no one to help him with his predicament. In this light, Jesus’ query “Do you want to be healed?” does not merely ask the obvious, but instead reveals itself to be a searching question about whether after such a long time the man still had hope of healing -- or had he become utterly resigned to his seemingly hopeless condition.
There were likely many invalids by the pool that day, and yet Jesus chooses to speak specifically and individually to the condition and depth of misery of this man (“when Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time...”). Imagine seeking healing from an incurable and debilitating disease for your entire life and then hearing Jesus speak straight to you. Listen to what Jesus says to him. “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” Throughout the gospels, “get up” is used to describe resurrection. In other words, this is a reminder that God brings new creation into an old and broken one and that He breathes new life into dead and limp bodies. No longer is the man carried around in his bed, but now he stands and victoriously carries the bed himself. The man, who had spent his life in vain trying to be healed, hears the voice of Jesus and is brought to new life. He hears Jesus and experiences God’s glorious power to heal. Have you heard his voice? Do you want to be healed?
John C. Lin, Downtown Lead Pastor
Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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