Tuesday Church 12 March – Grumpy or grateful?

Reading: John 5:1- 16

Joh 5:1  Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews.

Joh 5:2  Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades.

Joh 5:3  Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed [—and they waited for the moving of the waters.]

Joh 5:4  [From time to time an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters. The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease he had.]

Joh 5:5  One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.

Joh 5:6  When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

Joh 5:7  “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Joh 5:8  Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

Joh 5:9  At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath,

Joh 5:10  and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”

Joh 5:11  But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, “Pick up your mat and walk.'”

Joh 5:12  So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”

Joh 5:13  The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.

Joh 5:14  Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”

Joh 5:15  The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

Joh 5:16  So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him.

Message                                                                                                      Tuesday Church in March

John 5:6  When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

The story is told of a man who had an offensive body odour. He went to the doctor to see if something could be done about it. The doctor examined him and could find nothing physically wrong. He scratched his head and said, “What do you do for a living?” The man sighed and said, “Well, that may be the problem. You see, I work at the airport, and it’s my job to empty the holding tanks from the restrooms aboard the aircraft. It’s all over head, you know, and invariably, some of the spillage ends up getting on me. Try as I may, it’s hard to get it all off.” “Hmmm,” the doctor said, “Sounds like you need to look for a new job.” The man looked at the doctor and said, “What? And get out of aviation?!”

It’s a strange question really – to a man who is effectively at the local hospital.

Jesus asks him: “Do you want to get well?”

By way of background (if your bible seems to have missing verses) this pool with its five porticoes or colonnades was once thought not to have been real – scholars thought this must have been a fictitious story – until archaeologists found it! Neat hey! We are told that the water moved probably due to an underground spring – people believed an angel moved the waters and the first in would be healed.

Repetition is not always a good thing – the man kept coming along (or getting someone to bring him along) although recognised he had no way of getting to the water.

He seems to be one of those “it’s his fault” people. Blaming someone or circumstances. Listen to him again: “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” (5:7)

For 38 years? He seems quite capable of communicating – one wonders whether he could not have asked friends or family to come to his assistance.

In case you think I am being unfair – look what happens when he gets into trouble for carrying his mat on the Sabbath:

… the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”  But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, “Pick up your mat and walk.'” (verses 10-11)

There must have been sin in his life – otherwise why would Jesus say:  Joh 5:14  Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”

There are worse things than paralysis? Jesus was onto something here!

Perhaps his sin was to hold on to his circumstances – and not really to want to move forward? Listen to what happens next:

So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?” The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” (12-14)

Sadly he seems to have missed the point – not heard Jesus’ word to him. The story continues: The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. (15-16)

How kind Jesus is.

What grace!

How stuck the man is in his thinking. He is physically healed on the spot – but his attitude needs some serious work!

He still seems to try to clear his name for breaking the Sabbath by going BACK to the Jewish authorities and telling on Jesus – shifting the blame.

Lent is a time to examine our attitudes too.

Sometimes we are stuck in a grumpy blame-game. God has blessed us with grace and favour – like the man who was healed.

We too have habits that we need to have changed – in our thinking and outlooks!

Do you want to get well in the fullest sense?

I do.

Amen.

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About robinpalmer

I am a Presbyterian Pastor living and working in Browns Bay on the North Shore of Auckland in New Zealand. We moved here at the end of March 2011 after spending five years in Wellington the capital city. I am passionate about what I do - about communicating and writing. I also enjoy my counselling work, especially with young people.

Posted on March 14, 2013, in Tuesday Morning services and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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