The Good News for the day, March 13, 2018
Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent (2445
One Judean Holyday Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem there is near Sheep Gate a pool called “Bethesda” (in Hebrew) with five sections. Among these sections lay many people sick, blind, lame, and otherwise crippled. One man there had been sick for 38 years. When Jesus saw him lying there knowing that he had been sick for so long, he said to him, “Do you really want to get well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I don’t have anybody to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up! During the time I am on my way, someone else gets down there in front of me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your stretcher and walk.” Right away, the man became well, picked up his stretcher and walked. It happened that that day was a sabbath. So then, some Judeans said to the man who had been cured, “Today is the holyday of the week, and it is not lawful for you to carry your stretcher!” He answered them, “The man who cured me told me to, ‘Take up your stretcher and walk.'” They asked him, “Who is the man who told you, ‘Take it up and walk’?” The man who had been healed did not know who it was; Jesus had slipped away, anonymous in the crowd there. Later on, Jesus did find him in the temple area and told him, “Look, you are healthy now; do not go astray anymore, so that nothing worse can happen to you.” The man went and identified to the Judeans that Jesus was the one who had made him well. As a result, these Judeans began to persecute Jesus because he did this on a sabbath. (John 5)
Throughout John’s Gospel, we find a motif of “water’—what Jesus tells the Samaritan woman, the water associated with Baptism (Nicodemus and John the Baptist), the water emphasized from the side of Jesus—and this man. In this incident—Jesus has the power of the healing water—replacing it for this man.
Like water—Jesus is as necessary for Life as Water is for the Flesh. This story suggests how that symbolism plays out. The man’s illness, linked later to his “sinfulness,” finds remedy in Jesus—quietly, anonymously. His Healing seems a ruption of order—breaking the Sabbath as Pharisees understood it. This creates a persecution.
The Pharisees place their ideological understanding of God and God’s law, above the simple, straightforward healing of a person. It is Jesus—the personal touch, the quiet forgiveness implied, the restoration outside their “side” that triggers persecution; they now see Jesus as opposition, someone who threatens their way of life.
The Good News is that you too follow HIS way—to heal quietly, to forgive and walk way, and let Jesus be your (helpful) way of Life—and expect hostility.