Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

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Written by Peter Langbroek
While the rest feasted in the streets of Jerusalem, the helpless waited under the porches at Bethesda. It was near the sheep market, surrounded by a pool of water. The water was still, but the lame, the blind and those whose bodies were shriveled by diseases, intently hoped for some movement in the water, which they believed an angel stirred. If it stirred, healing was given to the first who reached it.

Among the crowd was a man, paralyzed for 38 years. What could he do? He had no friends to carry him there, if and when the water stirred. Who knew him? Who really cared? But look! From the street came a man, alone, to the porches at Bethesda. There was feasting outside Bethseda, but here was a dreadful, pitiful sight and the smell of sweat, open sores; human waste mixed with the smell of the sheep next door; it was unbearable. There came this man, intent to see the man who He knew was paralyzed for 38 years.

He approached the lame man. He asked him, "Do you want to be made whole?" The man answered, "There is no one to help me reach the pool. While I'm coming another gets there before me."

Then the man commanded him: "Get up! Take your bed and walk."

That he did! And right away!

Children, who was the man who healed the lame man in Bethesda? Yes, you know this man was Jesus, Jesus Who healed many (you can read the story in John 5:1-18). But do you know why He healed the lame man? That's easy, you think. He healed the lame man because He felt sorry for him. Yes, you're right, but only partly right. Let me continue the story.

Later, the same lame man stood in the temple. Since the time he got up and walked, the Jewish leader harassed him because he was carrying his bed (or mattress) on the Sabbath day (it was one of their 300 + laws they had made up). There Jesus met him. He said to him, "Behold, you are made whole, don't sin any more, unless a worse thing happen to you." Now the cured man recognized Who had healed him. He went to tell the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus Who healed him.

Jesus healed this man for a greater reason, for a larger commission. He healed him to teach us a lesson about who He is and His purpose in coming from heaven to earth. He healed him, firstly, to teach us about who He is and His purpose in coming from heaven to earth. He healed him, firstly, to teach us about His love for sinners. He gave His all. He, being God, walked among the least of men-also this forgotten, pitiful man, unable to help himself. He also calls us to be like Him in this way. Are you one who cares, who knows those who desperately need someone's attention, who are ignored or ridiculed by the crowd?

Secondly, He healed to show how He comes to sinners who are helpless in their lost state. Any other way than the way of Christ is wishful. The sick hoped to be healed at the pool. There was a mad rush of sick people when the water stirred. The strongest or the one with a friend, the first one at the pool, got the prize. Not so with salvation in Jesus Christ. Jesus comes to sinners first. He favours no type of person. In fact, He delights to save the least of people. He chose one of the most helpless among the crowd of sick and healed him only.

Finally, Jesus healed to show that there's something worse than being sick or handicapped. When He met the cured man in the temple He told him not to continue in sin lest a worse thing happen to him. What's that worse thing? The worse thing is to live in hell, without God and His grace forever. It was sin that brought sickness and death into the world. For this reason Jesus came, was born into the human race to be God and man and to do the will of His Father; to bear the punishment sinners deserve. He died so sinners, people like you and me, may live forever. Jesus showed by His miracles that His forgiveness is complete and immediate.

Children, do you know Jesus as your Saviour and Lord? Do you listen to the Gospel that is taught and preached to you? Do you believe in Jesus Christ?

Jesus spoke to the Jewish leaders who hated Him because He healed on the Sabbath day. He used this event to tell them, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24). Yes, I can think of a better thing than any pleasures this life can offer. I can also think of a worse thing than being a paraplegic.

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