The Race for the Cure

August 31st, 2006 • Category: Encounters with Jesus
by Jenni Clarkson

Today’s scripture: John 5:2-15 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts (Jenni Clarkson):

Jesus has a way of asking questions.

When he sees the man lying there on his mat, he knows intuitively that the man has been ill for 38 years. Jesus walks up to him and asks, “Do you want to be made well?” Today I can hear some of my sarcastic brothers and sisters answering with a question, “Well, what do you think, Captain Obvious?” But Jesus has a way about him, a way of asking questions that seem to have obvious answers but often have deeper meaning, going straight to the heart. Surely the man wants to be well because he’s there at the pool, waiting for the healing waters to bubble up. When the waters are stirred up, the first into the waters will be healed. The man explains he has no one to help him. (It gives a whole new meaning to “the race for the cure!”)

He has been ill a long time. Is he really ready for a change? Really wanting to turn his life upside down? Will he know what to do with his life if it’s suddenly completely different? This is a man who has, for the last 38 years, known and understood his life and his place as one of the invalids by the pool at Bethseda. Who will he be and where will he go without that as his life? But something in the way he answers Jesus says, “Yes, I’m ready.”

Jesus tells him to take up his mat and walk. When the man is questioned about carrying his mat, which is unlawful on the sabbath, he realizes that he doesn’t know who the man was who told him that. I picture him as being so excited that he doesn’t bother to take names — he just runs because he can! It’s a far cry from the man who couldn’t move fast enough to get to the healing waters.

Jesus finds him later in the temple. The significance of this should not be lost on us. The temple is a place where the man, as an invalid, and therefore by the ancient standards “unclean,” could not have gone. That’s where Jesus finds him, in the house of the Lord. This says to me that he really is ready for his new life, his new identity. He’s ready not only for physical healing but also for a fresh start with God.

Thought for the day: Maybe there’s some question Jesus is asking you, and the answer seems terribly obvious. Think about that, meditate and pray on that. Seek the deeper meaning. Are you ready for a new life?

Today, let’s join together in prayer for: the Office Ministry Team and all the members who do a myriad of tasks in the church office, and for the Team’s leader, Shane Booker.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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