Day 28 Tuesday March 17 – [P] Service
RO: Christ came to die for our sins that we can be brought to new life. And if we want to do that we have to follow His footsteps. // Things of this world can be good, but there is something greater. // Christ can be your everything. We need to journey with Him. // Pray this prayer: God, stir my affections for you. Let me desire you above everything else of this world. Let me pursue you to death to new life.
Ezekiel 47: 1-9, 12
He said to me, “…Wherever the river flows, every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live, and there shall be abundant fish, for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh. Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow; their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail. Every month they shall bear fresh fruit, for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary. Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.”
John 5: 1-16
One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.” Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.
This Gospel message is beautiful, but also a challenge. The message is about things happening in God’s time, not in our own. I’m sure if it was up to the ill man he would have chosen Jesus to heal him perhaps thirty-eight years sooner. But no, he had to be patient and suffer every day, wait and hope, every day being discouraged because his illness and weakness prevented him from accessing the waters he thought would heal him. And then at the proper time Jesus came and the answer did not reside in the waters of Bethesda, but within the healing waters of God’s love. Here is a man who for thirty-eight years wondered where God was for him in his life. And then God revealed himself to him and cured him.
What patience! I don’t even like waiting one week. I can’t imagine how hard every day must have been longing for being saved but never receiving the answer for years. But that’s just it: There was an answer and the answer was beautiful. We may have weaknesses, but if we continue to hope in the Lord we will receive the glory of God. We may long for it in this life, but at a minimum, if we are faithful, we will receive it in the next.
In moments of doubt and darkness and wondering where God is in the world we need to remember to cling to this — God is there with us. We may not be able to see it. We may not understand. We may hope for Him to intervene. But we need to be patient and trust and hope in the Lord.
And what was the greater purpose and why this was the right time? Because this act by Jesus sets the Jews on their path of His persecution. And Jesus welcomes it! The Jews wanted to persecute the man who performed the miracle, but the man did not know who cured him and what did Jesus do? Did he hide in the crowd to try to go unnoticed? No! Jesus sought the man out! He went to the man so that the man may know Him. The healed man should have gone and not sinned any more, as Jesus instructed, but being weak he instead then went and told the Jews exactly who had healed him. This is both disheartening and heartening. A man, literally just healed by Jesus and told to sin no more, immediately goes and sins (or at least I’d call turning Jesus over to his persecutors sinning; but perhaps I am incorrect in this judgment)! But the longer term result was the fact that Jesus died on the cross for us. Jesus did not shy away from staying on God’s path. He embraced it! He loved us so much that He put His Father above all else in this world, even His own life, and did God’s will.
Continue to Day 29