REFLECTION ON JOHN 5:5-6 - TESSA YEAKLEY, SAINT AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY EPISCOPAL CHURCH, OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA
John 5: 5-6 (NKJV)
Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”
Jesus did such a wonderful thing for this man. Imagine lying on a mat for thirty-eight years and watching countless others find restoration in the refreshing pool of Bethesda while you inch your way to the fountain in vain. I wonder how many times it would take before I, too, gave up trying to make it there by my own power. This man needed mercy, and he waited decades for it.
The question Jesus asked is important though. Do you want to be made well? When we are unwell for a long time, we develop ways of coping with our infirmities because we have no choice. The hard part is unlearning those coping mechanisms when they no longer serve us. For some, that’s the most frightening step of healing. Jesus asked this man to consider whether he was ready. Then, He spoke these healing words.
“Rise, take up your bed and walk.”
I hear Jesus say, don’t leave the mat for the next person to stumble upon. Rise, clean up the mess, and move into your abundant life.
I don’t know about any of you, but I have unhealthy survival instincts I picked up and carried with me even after I encountered the mercy of Christ. Thanks be to God that He has the patience to help me unlearn them.
Merciful Lord, help us to outgrow any unhealthy habits that hold us back. Let us lift our eyes to you as we move into the love and light of a new day. Amen.
Submitted by Tessa Yeakley, Saint Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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