Today’s reading: John 5:1-15
God, may our faith not stray away from yours.
“Do you want to be made well?”
“Stand up, take your mat and walk.”
“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’?”
One of the miracles Jesus worked was healing a man who had been physically disabled for 38 years. In the passage, Jesus encounters a man who was living without the same access as others in society and decides to approach him. In the process of healing, multiple steps took place:
Jesus notices. He notices that someone was in need.
Jesus engages. He communicates with the man in need.
Jesus listens. The Bible does not state if the man simply answers, “yes,” when asked if he wanted to be cured. Instead, we see that he explains what his problem is.
Jesus gives him tools. He directly heals the man’s physical disability.
The man now has the power to be autonomous and will be less ostracized.
One would think that this was an occasion to celebrate. It took faith for the man to drop his doubt, to leave behind all the pain of living in neglect, and to get up on his feet. After 38 years of living on the margins, this must have been a very joyous affair.
Then, some of the religious leaders notice something out of the ordinary on the Sabbath. Surely, if I were to run into a healthy-looking person doing something he is not supposed to do, I would wonder, too. So, they decide to engage him, but they do so differently than how Jesus did it:
They are quick to judge and point out his disobedience to the law.
They are not interested in the man’s well-being.
They are interested in who is responsible, not for the healing, but for authorizing him to go against the rules.
They ask him a question, but to find blame, perhaps blinded by their own religious biases and fears.
Being at first clueless, upon knowing Jesus’ identity, the healed man, perhaps out of naïve joy and excitement, goes out of his way to follow up with the authorities to credit Jesus with his healing.
We see that while Jesus acts out of love and care, the faith leaders act out of judgment and perhaps fear of being unfaithful through their cherished rules. However, if we had enough faith, would we have so much fear that it constricts us from seeing goodness?
I think we often miss out on the goodness we have been given. For one, we are given Sabbath to rest because we need to: We can get caught up looking for more things to do to just get by or to satisfy our interests and neglect to take proper care of ourselves. I believe it is intended for the well-being of our humanness, for taking care of our bodies and minds to heal. This is meant to be a grateful and joyful process–not one laden with obligation and guilt.
As we set boundaries for ourselves to rest and heal, my hope is that we are not constricted by so much fear and rules that we become blind to the Light–a miracle–present in our daily lives. We ought to fear God in a way in which we see the joy in our faith and know that it is good.
How are you seeing God’s love and healing today?
Created by & image by: Miya Kim
About the author/artist: Miya is a realistic optimist who sees all things as art. Through her gifts and beliefs, she is on a journey to help this world be a better place.