Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 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. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 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?”
“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.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jewish leaders 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.’”
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.” The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.
So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
John 5:1-18 has a very special meaning to me. This is one of several passages in the Bible that speaks of healing. This past year I was blessed with healing, myself. As in the scripture, I too faced criticism about my healing. In today’s passage the healed man is ridiculed because no one was to be healed on the Sabbath. My ridicule stemmed from others’ unbelief in the power to be healed. There are a great number of people who refuse to believe that God still heals. I have wonderful news: God still heals, even today!
I suffered on and off with an issue of blood. Even though I thought I was living a Christian life, attending church and saying my prayers, I was still living in disobedience to God's word. Just as in John 5:14, when Jesus found the man in the temple, He said to him, "See you are well! Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." I, too, was walking in sin. God wanted to free me from this. I had to obey God and take the proper steps to get my complete healing. As I confessed and repented, I started to obey God. This began the healing of my heart. As I grew even closer in my walk with God, my body began to heal. On Oct. 3, God healed me of my issue with blood. God spoke to my heart and I obeyed.
If you are in need of healing, whether it be spiritual, physical, or emotional, turn to God and let your faith guide your way. God does still heal even in present times. However, we need to walk in his ways of obedience. It's true we are all sinners. But God's love covers all. As we repent and seek His ways, He will heal and restore our lives.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for still working your healings in us today. Help us to believe and follow in faith, for you are mighty in grace. Amen.
Jill Bunker serves the Mazon United Methodist Church.