This post is part of a weekly share of gleanings from the book of John. Click here for more information, and read to the bottom to join the conversation!
The fifth chapter of John begins with the story of Jesus healing a man at a pool. The pool is a bit (or a lot) of a mystery, but it was apparently believed that the first person to enter the water when it was stirred would be healed. This man had nobody to help him into the pool and thus would never be healed. This man was hopeless. THIS is the man Jesus met, and this is the man Jesus healed.
John 5:5-9, 13-15
One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath.
Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read the Gospel of John, but this time has been different. God is showing me how much I’ve missed by breezing through the text just once… He’s showing me the value of being a slooowww reader, going back through the text several times, reading cross references and commentary, and talking through it with others who are reading these same words.
I'm praying that God would open our hearts to His truth, grace, and love as revealed in this chapter, and that our response to His words would be lasting, not forgotten in the day to day chaos of parenting, working, managing behavior, and emotional mess.
Here’s what stood out to me in this section of chapter five:
Jesus went to this pool on purpose to meet one specific man in a crowd of many. He knew where He was going, who He would meet, and what He would do. He knew the man through and through. He knew how long he had been sick, He knew he had nobody caring for him… and He knew the man had no clue he was talking to the Son of God, or that he would or even could be healed. Notice what he says when Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be healed?” This guy was so hopeless, he couldn’t even give a simple “yes.” More of a, “doesn’t matter, not gonna happen…” kind of answer.
Instantly rebuilt from the toes up after 38 years of paralysis. Y’all. He didn’t even say yes. He didn’t have to want to be healed or know that he could be healed, Jesus was going to heal this man.
God speaks and the hopeless are healed.
And there are days that I feel hopeless, friends. There are days that the chaos, and the behaviors, and the emotional mess are almost suffocating. And then I consider this man, who lay there for so many years with nobody to help him or even care, in the physical condition that 38 years of just laying there brings on the body. And even in his hopelessness, he was sought out by God. And even in his hopelessness, he was healed. Jesus spoke, and at once he walked.
He walked to the temple. He didn’t know who healed him or why, yet he walked to the temple where the Jews at the time went to worship and offer sacrifices to God. There, he was again sought by God. Jesus came to him, revealed Himself and told him to sin no more. The man responds by leaving the temple, finding the Pharisees, and telling them about the Son of God who heals the lame and gives hope to the hopeless.
When I’m lonely, He seeks me. When I push Him away, He pursues me. When I’m broken and hopeless, He meets me. He knows my "doesn't matter, not gonna happen" attitude and He meets me there bringing grace, hope, and healing. He rebuilds my heart and realigns my focus from my own murky mess to His everlasting love, His fullness, grace upon grace.
And I’m grateful. So grateful.
Friends, in your everyday chaos He pursues you, too.
May our eyes be trained to see Him when the chaos and emotional mess are near blinding.
And may our response to His constant grace always be worship, praise, and an eagerness to share the good news of Jesus' eternal healing and life everlasting.
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