Blue spring flowers on the Cathedral grounds

Today’s Gospel: John 5:1–18

Wow. What a story. It is so typical of John’s gospel to give us such detail, whereas Mark’s accounts of Jesus’ healings tend to be the Cliffs Note version.

I want to note three things about Jesus’ healings. First, his healings are always instantaneous and complete. The man in today’s lesson had not walked in 38 years, and he took up his mat and walked. Second, Jesus is called out by the Jewish leaders in this passage for healing the man on the Sabbath.  The Old Testament taught that a person should not work on the Sabbath. Interestingly, there are actually seven instances where Jesus heals someone on the Sabbath. Coincidence? I think not. I think Jesus in his badass way breaks the rule on purpose to make the point that if someone is in need of healing that trumps following the law. I also believe Jesus performed miracles deliberately on the Sabbath to show the religious leaders that he is Lord over the Sabbath. Third, the miracles result in the religious leaders rejection of Jesus. “For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.”

So what is our take away from this healing today? Somehow this broken man was able to leave his excuses behind and trust Jesus enough to stand. Will we too trust and believe that something more is possible for us?

Friends, I’m not about to tell you that every illness can be cured. But I do know there are times when we are content to believe we can’t be healed. Sometimes it is our attitude, a mind-set that holds us back. We say to ourselves, “If only I could get in the waters.” And it’s at these moments that I believe this miracle at Beth-zatha offers us hope. For Jesus Christ will not leave us where there is no hope. Jesus says: “Wake up! Stand up! Take up your pallet and walk!” And just maybe some of us need to hear those words today. Listen for Jesus’ voice, “Do you want to be made well?”


Melissa Hollerith +


By:  Elisha A. Hoffman

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning, leaning,
Safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning,
Leaning on the everlasting arms. Amen.