On the Sunday of the Paralytic we read a gospel passage from the Holy Evangelist John (5:1-15) which relates the story of Christ healing a man who had been unable to walk for 38 years. This man had been waiting by a certain pool, called Bethesda, by the Sheep Gate because occasionally the water in the pool was stirred up and on those occasions the first person to get into the water was healed of whatever illness he or she had. The Lord Jesus heals the paralytic man and he is able to walk away carrying his own pallet. The second part of the reading describes how hypocritical people criticized the man for carrying his pallet, thus working, on a Sabbath. This Gospel passage has essentially two parts and two distinct lessons.
Today we’ll focus on the first of these two. A superficial reading of this story would leave one questioning the Mercy and Love of God for His people. On the one hand it’s clear that the Spirit of God stirred the waters and the presence of the Spirit made the respective pool of water temporarily a source of healing. But the evangelist clearly tells us that this healing comes only occasionally and only for one person. Basically, we observe that there are limitations that we experience in the world. But, why would there be limitations if God is Merciful and Loving and Healing? It might even leave us with the thought that God is unfair.
Resources are certainly limited, even if they are abundant. Our world does experience shortages and insufficiencies, and limitations to be sure. But this fact teaches us to be wise stewards of everything that we encounter, both tangible and intangible. But the main lesson in these few verses is about the manner in which this man is healed by the Lord Jesus Christ. He is healed not by the water in the pool, be it stirred on unstirred, but the very Word of Christ, the Word of God Himself. The paralytic man had been immobil for 38 years and he had been waiting to be brought to the water for a long time but others always reached it before him. Now the very source of healing he had placed so much hope in was proven unnecessary, because he was in the presence of Jesus. Basically, no source of healing is sufficient without the ultimate source who is our Savior Jesus Christ.
But the other reality is that the gospel passage does not say that Jesus healed all the people who were waiting at the pool. Why would Jesus only heal that one man and not the others? Why would He not simply walk in triumph to the entire group and heal them all at once or one by one? It’s rather simple, really, Jesus was present there but only that one paralytic man focused on Him. You see the others were also present in the right place, but their attention was not the true source of healing, God, but rather on quickly rushing to snatch a blessing/healing before anyone else. We wisely have learned and firmly believe that God is the true source of healing in our lives and His healing is without limitation but only for those who focus on Him and stay near Him receiving His Word in our lives.