When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.”
We like things done in a particular way – I have been reminded of this during the past few months as I’ve been taking the kids for walks. It can be difficult to get the children to understand that other people have different ideas about what is acceptable, and what constitutes 2 meters! Sometimes it can be harmless – an odd look by a passer-by, but sometimes it can be more destructive with Facebook posts highlighting the infractions (thankfully – I have not received one of these yet!)
This kind of attitude can find its way into our Christian lives, especially in how we deal with other people both within and outside the church family. We can expect certain standards, looking for certain things and a certain order in how others live their lives and respond to us.
I am not saying that we should not have expectations from each other, but I wonder if Jesus’ example here has something to teach us?
Did you notice that this man never asked Jesus to be healed? He clearly has no idea (or no faith) as to who is talking to him at the edge of the pool. If he only knew that this was Jesus, the creator of the world and the Son of God who could heal him with one word! Notice when Jesus asks him if he wants to be healed – his answer shows that he can only see healing coming from stepping into the pool, he never contemplates that Jesus could heal him.
How does Jesus react? Notice, He does not launch straight into a Torah study to show who he is, and he doesn’t expect anything from the man – he does not even wait to be acknowledged or asked. He simply heals the man. Here we see the kindness and power of Jesus. He takes the man at face value, knowing that he had been stuck by the pool for years and needed to be healed.
This week let us be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven us.
When we share our faith – let us not wait to find the ‘right person’ who we think will react in the correct way. Let us share the gospel kindly with all.
When we talk to our church family on the phone or over Zoom, let us not get annoyed when they share the same frustrations and stories as they have been doing over the past two months. Let us listen kindly and do all to help them.
When we see somebody of our household struggling, let us be kind and do good without waiting or wanting to be acknowledged. As Paul said in Philippians 2:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Steffan Job, Capel y Ffynnon