Comprehend the Word: John 5:1-5 (HCSB)
5 After this, a Jewish festival took place, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 By the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there is a pool, called Bethesda in Hebrew, which has five colonnades. 3 Within these lay a large number of the sick—blind, lame, and paralyzed [—waiting for the moving of the water, 4 because an angel would go down into the pool from time to time and stir up the water. Then the first one who got in after the water was stirred up recovered from whatever ailment he had].
5 One man was there who had been sick for 38 years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew he had already been there a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to get well?”
7 “Sir,” the sick man answered, “I don’t have a man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I’m coming, someone goes down ahead of me.”
8 “Get up,” Jesus told him, “pick up your mat and walk!” 9 Instantly the man got well, picked up his mat, and started to walk.
Contemplate the Word
My mind was made up. The only way I would ever be rid of the anger and bitterness that brewed within me was if the one who had deeply hurt me phoned me up, confessed everything they had done, and apologized. I was certain their apology was the only path to peace. Surely it would undo what had happened and calm my storm.
But the hurt I held onto only forged a stronger storm within me. Through prayer, the Healer changed my heart and I came to realize the hurt I had caused in return. It was me He was nudging to initiate peace.
The path I thought would lead me to peace was actually the roadblock keeping me from it.
The lame man saw the Pool of Bethesda as his only chance to be made well. The sick congregated at this pool due to its reputation as a source of healing. It was believed that, from time to time, an angel of the Lord would stir up the pool and the first man to get into the waters would be healed. But after 38 years, the man had not changed. His way wasn’t working.
Much like the lame man, my way wasn’t working either. Perhaps you can relate?
The way I thought healing would come was clouded by my limited perspective. And my perspective is coloured by circumstances, past experiences, hurts, and emotions.
Unlike me, God has a big-picture perspective. He is on high, seeing the created world from above, yet also so intimately nearby that He knows the smallest details of us and our lives. Not only that, but because of Jesus’s time on earth, He also has the ability to sympathize with our weaknesses. He sees, knows, and understands everything.
What can we do when we have become overwhelmed by our storms and have lost sight of where we’re going? We can talk to Jesus.
Only in His presence can our perspective change.
As Jesus spoke, and the lame man repositioned his gaze from his surroundings to Jesus, his perspective was changed. With his attention on Jesus, he was able to hear the new instructions for healing: “Pick up your mat and walk.”
When we are talking to Jesus, our eyes are fixed on Him. When we are focused on Him, we can hear what He is saying to us.
The very thing we think we need to make us well might not be necessary for Jesus.
Though the lame man was certain he needed the Pool of Bethesda to be healed, Jesus didn’t need it. He simply gave instruction, the man obeyed, and he was healed instantly.
Through prayer I can trade my imperfect attempt for His perfect alternative.
Without God’s big-picture view, I search for a solution to my storm within the parameters of my flawed perspective. Following God is difficult when we are looking at everything but Him. When our eyes are fixed on Jesus, the details of what, how, when, or where pale in comparison to Who He is. We can trust Him with the details.
What might He want to say to us this week in order to make us well? As you spend time in His presence through prayer, invite Him to change your perspective. Ask Him to reveal what you are focused on and fix your eyes on Him instead.
Converse with the Word
AIM for HE
Father God, Your ways are perfect and You see everything. Only You know what is best for me and how to make me well.
ASK for ME
Jesus, give me open eyes that can see You and Your Way. Forgive me for holding so tightly to my own solutions; they pale in comparison to what You are capable of. Deliver me from thinking that I can handle things on my own, without You.
ABIDE in WE
Holy Spirit, guide me into all truth. Reveal where I am stuck in my own ways. Remind me to talk with You, today and everyday, so my eyes can be fixed on Jesus. Show me what you are doing in the midst of my circumstances and help me to trust Your plans.
Going Deeper with the Word
This week, set aside 20 minutes to dive into and unpack Luke 9:10-17 with Him in your Give Me Jesus study guide. There was a vast difference between the method the disciples would have used to face the problem and the way Jesus miraculously met the needs of the people. How can you position yourself before God this week, giving Him access to your ways and wants and making room for His perfect perspective?