This is a seemingly straight forward story that gets more complicated the more you think about it. Today then let’s start with some questions to make it more complicated straight off!
- Why didn’t Jesus heal everyone at the pool?
- Why just pick out one man? Was he special? Was he the most needy?
- How did the man believe Jesus would help him get better?
- Did he see Jesus as a potential healer?
- Why did Jesus ask him if he wanted to get better?
- Who had the man believed in for his healing since he didn’t seem to know who had healed him?
- Why did Jesus slip away with saying who he was?
- Did the traditional healing at the pool amount to more than superstition? What was the source?
- Why did Jesus tell the man to stop sinning or something worse may happen to him?
This story does give hope to all who have suffered for a long period of time with something that has affected their life. Right there, on this day Jesus visits the paralytic and everything changes. Does the man really believe things can be different, does he even want them to be different after all these years? Jesus tests him with a question “Would you like to get well?”. Far from being the source of healing the man is thinking that Jesus might be able to help him into the healing water! The man didn’t even know it was Jesus he was addressing, but the healing happens nonetheless. Perhaps the healing is a picture of a person who does not know Jesus but receives the mercy and goodness that naturally flow from God – rain, food, love, etc.
May we retain faith in the healing light of Jesus even in the shadow of long lingering problems.