After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. Now that day was a sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been cured, “It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” But he answered them, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your mat and walk.’” They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take it up and walk’?” Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had disappeared in the crowd that was there. Later Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you have been made well! Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. Therefore the Jews started persecuting Jesus, because he was doing such things on the sabbath.
“Do you want to be made well?” Lord Jesus asks a man who has been invalid for thirty-eight years! What a question! I have spoken about the reason for this seemingly stupid question earlier and you may want to check it out. Here is the link: https://youtu.be/1KFCiApIZOw. Today, I want to reflect upon something else that our Lord says in the passage. “See, you have been made well! Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you.”
We would not have sickness in this world if not for sin, although do note not every sickness is because of personal sin. Once, when Jesus passed by a man blind from birth, “his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (see John 9:1-3). However, this also implicitly recognizes the correlation between sin and sickness.
Jesus came to take away both. After our Lord healed all the sick in the town of Capernaum, Scripture says: “This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases” (Matthew 8:17). Which meant that our Lord came to take away our sins AND our sicknesses. Which leads to the obvious question: Why, then, are so many of us sick? The answer should be equally obvious: Because so many of us continue to sin!
So, what is the solution? Let us get it from Scripture. Let me read something that James wrote: “Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.
“Therefore,” he continues, “confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective” (James 5:13-16). James seems to identify sickness with sin, and healing with repentance. So repentance is the key. And the truly repentant get a bonus. Their prayers are powerful and effective.
So, what say you? Shall we all get right with God and start praying for an end to the sicknesses that plague humankind?
If you find these reflections helpful, may I invite you to subscribe to this channel by clicking the SUBSCRIBE button below and the BELL icon alongside to ensure you don’t miss them.