There was a local belief that the waters of Bethesda had healing powers. Whatever caused the disturbance, the people believed that when the waters of Bethesda bubbled up, the first one in the water would be cured. Lourdes, in southern France, has a spa, and many believe it has healing capacities. The shrine of Guadalupe, in Mexico City, is another such place were thousands have gone hoping for a healing. Whether anyone is healed or not, the people come believing that there is hope of healing here.
It is one of the few times the Scripture records Jesus healing someone when He was not asked to do so. Let us see how Jesus motivated this man to become a candidate for healing, asking him an odd question, "Do you want to get well?" I can picture the guy saying, "What do you mean, ‘Do I want to get well?’ I have been here for 38 years! Of course I want to get well! You think I have enjoyed my life? You think I like being handicapped? You think I like having people look down at me as if I am some sort of a freak! Yes, I want to get well!"
All too often, we hold on tightly to the things that paralyze us spiritually. Jesus can heal us of those things but when He does, we will be left without excuse for our lives and the choices we make. We will no longer be able to cry, "My life isn’t my fault, and others are to blame." “Injured party” endlessly repeats how they have been mistreated. Injured party lives by the childish notion that life should always be fair. Injured party finds it difficult to forgive others because they see forgiveness as weakness. Injured party has difficulty maintaining close relationships because they have difficulty trusting other people. The cry of the perpetual injured party is, “It’s not my fault!” “Nobody cares!”
We have such a difficult time saying, "I’m responsible.” We blame heredity, environment, and circumstances - everything except ourselves. There is a word that we have all become familiar with over the last few decades it is, “victimization.” It is what happens when a person always sees themselves as a injured party, a injured party of society, or a injured party of their upbringing. The man did not answer Jesus’ question at all, but offered an excuse for why he hadn’t been healed yet: "I’m all alone, there is no one to help me." To say, "there’s no one to help me,” means also, "I can’t help myself and God is not doing anything for me either.”
And what about us today? When Jesus asks, "do you want to get well," what is our response? When Jesus asks "do you want to be healed from your past hurts?" Do we reply, "You don’t know how bad they hurt me"?
To receive the healing Jesus has for our lives we must put away our excuses. In His words “take up your bed and walk,” the Lord is telling him and all those who truly want to change something very important; do not make any provision to go back. Many people fail right here. Burn your bridges. Cut off any possibility of going back. Heredity & environment play a part in influencing us, but we can rise above that if we want to. Jesus asked the man to attempt the one thing that he had not done for 38 years. Obviously, the man now had a choice. He could listen and ignore, listen and hope or he could listen and obey. Don’t we all have that choice?
Dr. SAMUEL SAWITSKI,
Sundays at 9:30am
Desert Garden United Church of Christ
18818 North 128th Avenue
Sun City West, AZ 85375
Please note that our parking lot will be under construction and can not be used from Monday, June 10 - Saturday, June 15.
You must park in the neighborhood if you come to church! Thank you.
Wednesday, June 19
Begin. Bring water bottles 9am-Noon to go to Salvation Army!
Every Wednesday until Aug 28