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Jesus Heals on the Sabbath

The lame man in this story may have been taking advantage of his physical malady—perhaps by asking for money. To be healed is to give up his only means of survival. Jesus’ pointed question—“Do you want to be made well?”—may also be intended for us to engage the challenge that all of us can more easily hold on to our disease, both physical and spiritual, as a piece of our identity, rather than surrender our lives fully to the healing grace of God.

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.

The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Jn 5:1–9). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.