Fifth Sunday of Great Lent | The Sick of Bethesda

Jesus went to Jerusalem during the feast. In Jerusalem there was a pool by the Sheep Gate, which is called Bethesda. Around the pool lay great multitudes who were sick, blind, and lame paralyzed waiting for the water to be stirred. For an angel came down and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Among the multitude of the sick laid this paralyzed man, who had an infirmity for thirty-eight years… When Jesus saw him, and knew that he had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” (John 5:6). The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” (John 5:7). Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” (John 5:8). And immediately the man was made well, took his bed, and walked. But it was the Sabbath… Afterwards Jesus found him and told him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” (John 5:14).

We wish to recognize that when Jesus looks at us… It is not an ordinary look from an ordinary individual, but as it is written, ‘Man looks at the eyes, but the Lord looks at the heart.’
Jesus’ look is full of all the affection which God has towards us. Every time, it renews within us the power of a new life. When I search for salvation, He looks at me with acceptance and encouragement to start the salvation work, as He looked at Zaccheus. When I am with tears of repentance, holding to the feet of Jesus, as He observed the sinful woman, and He told Simon, “Do you see this woman?” (Luke 7:44). But when the soul is sunk in sins, seeking salvation and peace, then Jesus looks at it and weeps for it, as He looked at Jerusalem and wept at it. When I am inclosed in the tomb of my desires with my foul smell and defile, the loved ones approach Jesus, on my behalf, and request, “Come and see.” (John 11:34). Then His eyes, full of tears and raised to heave, lifts me with great power like Lazarus. When I fall denying the love of Jesus, almost losing faith, then His looks toward me are like those when He looked towards Peter, during that evening of torment, He expels my soul out of the circle of despair. His look full of pity fills me with hope. This is how in all my tribulations, I find Jesus looking towards me, and every time His looks contain new salvation.

He saw him laying

What kind of look did Jesus direct towards that sick person, laying in his bed for 38 years. Later Jesus made it clear that the reason behind this illness was sin, “Sin no more.” (John 5:14). For sure, Jesus looked at him as the good Samaritan, who saw the man who was stripped naked by the thieves of sin, and left him between life and death. So when He saw him, He had pity on him. This was the same look when He saw the widow of Nain?. Those are our appearance when we are laying in the bed of sickness and are paralyses from doing the spiritual work for salvation. We are not even able to walk in the path of virtue. We can’t lift our hands for prayer, nor kneel to worship. We seldom direct our eyes up or are able to move towards God… Here the spiritual paralysis kindles the compassion of our Lord Jesus towards us. Therefore, He directs to us a pitiful look, approaching us and saying, “Do you want to be made well?” (John 5:6). For the Lord Jesus doesn’t question us about our condition in sin, or brings up inquires about the cause of the illness. But He directly asks about wanting to be made well, and this might be an anomalous question. Why does He question in this way? But Jesus wants to place us before the great truth with respect to our salvation, which is our desire.

He came for our salvation, and He fulfilled it through the cross and His resurrection. But we can not enjoy any of this without our own desire. For the human desire is the prime and a responsible entity. For Jesus doesn’t force or pressure the human desire. But on the contrary, He came to test the human desire, which was subdued by Satan. The human desire, by being alone and distant from God, doesn’t move anything or utters a thing. For the sick desired to be made well. But is his desire capable of curing him? The true cure is for his desire to accept the blessing of the work of Jesus and the power of His salvation. Therefore, his desire is strengthened by Jesus, and from there, the will of Jesus will be within us, which is our desire and our rejoice… This is the will of Jesus and His desire to be the entities we need. It is the enjoyment of the cure of our souls, the salvation of our spirit as well as our bodies. Isn’t that what we ask for in our hourly prayers… So be it Your will. I have no one to…

  •  A man appeared to Paul the Apostle in a vision, saying to him: “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” (Acts 16:9). A lot of souls around us screaming these calls, asking for help and for a word of salvation. A lot of souls have bloomed for harvest, but there is no one to stretch out his hands and do the work.
  •  And here is the sick from Bethesda, screaming today and complaining from the selfishness of man, everyone going his way… Everyone serving himself. Even the spiritual workers, labor for his own salvation, he wants to go down to the pool before others… He doesn’t care about the sinners. No one thinking about those around us, sick in sin… Multitudes standing before the Lord complaining about us, no one is helping them. We were satisfied with our repentance and we forgot our brethren around us.
  •  The blessing is in the baptism, the where the Spirit flutters over the water. It is also the repentance, the tears to cure and the return to living with God… And a lot don’t have a man to throw them in the pool. A lot of times we delay God’s work in our souls because of our selfishness and not caring for others.
  •  Also the time when the others are denied though the Spirit says, “I have no man.” (John 5:8). You find the Lord Jesus standing carrying our illness, and our pains… He is closer than the friend and is nearer than a brother. He is the helper for those in distress… And He is close to those calling on Him. He is standing at the door knocking, during our desperate moment at the fourth watch of the night, after 38 years. He is the hope of the hopeless.

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