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A Place of Mercy

November 4, 2020·Scott McBride

John 5:1-10  (NIV)

“Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie — the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, He asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’
‘Sir,’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’
Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.”

John records for us a bunch of really sick and hurting people are waiting at this place called “Mercy House” in Hebrew.  It’s in this environment that Jesus goes to the one guy who’s probably been there the longest. And He asks him a simple question, “Do you want to be healed?” And instead of answering YES or NO, the guy starts making excuses. He misses the question. He starts answering why he hasn’t been healed; thirty-eight years of failure and frustration. And catch this, not only does he misunderstand the question, he mistakes the Savior for just an ordinary guy. He has the miracle-maker in his presence, and he blows it. Call it frustration, discouragement, depression, we don’t know, but it looks like, yet again, this paralyzed man will miss his healing.

And yet, in the middle of all the pain and problems, the misdirects and misunderstanding, Jesus still has mercy on him and heals him. Jesus changes his life and gives him a future beyond begging for scraps or depending on others to try and get him to the right place at the right time to get better.

I’m so encouraged when I read this, because I see a guy who blows it, and yet, his mistakes don’t put Jesus off. I have such hope that God still sees us in our pain and our problems and comes to us at our point of need. He still wants to heal. He still wants to encourage — especially when we’re discouraged, and we don’t quite catch what He’s asking or doing. I have hope, not in how well I might respond to God, but in God’s response to me and you. God is so committed to you and me. Over and over again, God reaches out to us. He comes because He loves us and is committed to us.

So, here’s my challenge to you this week — as you read through Jesus’ words, listen for Jesus. What might He be saying to you? And, as you pray, please listen. What questions might He be asking you? And then, be ready and expecting to respond to Jesus. Even if you just have a yes or no answer, be ready. Be expecting Jesus to move on your behalf, because He’s not done. He’s not finished with you.

God’s best to you this week!

Pastor Scott McBride

The Church on the Way