The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
The situation at the start of John 5 is difficult to understand. There’s a challenging variant reading, verse four, which is left out of many editions. It talks about the idea of an angel coming to disturb the water and heal whoever gets in first. We do notice that verse seven, which is not disputed, describes the very same situation. There is no evidence that Jesus contradicted the disabled man in any way.
What means might God use to heal people? Could he send an angel to do something? Could he heal the man at the pool by his word, as he healed other people by his touch? Does he sometimes bring healing through physicians, through dietary changes, through medications, through rest? Regardless of the means used, the text in John 5 describes a Lord Jesus who cares for people and who brings healing. The man who had no other hope found not only hope, not only comfort, but also a life in which he was able to be a productive member of society, something he had not been able to do for a very long time.
Do we turn our troubles, our concerns, our inabilities to Jesus? What do we find that he does for them? He will work in those troubles according to his good pleasure. What about the people who were near the pool and were not healed? Does Jesus care about them any less? No, we can also trust that in his grace he was doing what was right in the situation he found. A miraculous healing is just that - miraculous. We do not expect signs and wonders. We are, however, very grateful when we receive them.
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