Week 2 Day 3: Jesus, the Healer
“Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Bethzatha, 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?’”
Jesus, the Healer
Perhaps at times, like me, you have questioned the value or importance to God of your personal well-being or of your health in body, mind, or spirit. You’ve found yourself unable to believe that the love of God could include you.
-Br. Jonathan Maury
This week as we meet Jesus in John’s Gospel we reflect on the Word made flesh who lived and lives among us. Today our focus is on the Word made flesh in the person of Jesus, the healer. Perhaps at times, like me, you have questioned the value or importance to God of your personal well-being or of your health in body, mind, or spirit. You’ve found yourself unable to believe that the love of God could include you and the fullness of your being as important as anything else in the world.
In a life-long struggle with clinical depression, I found myself at many stages finding this feeling and turning away from God. From adolescent resignation to the feelings as being just part of human existence to later frightening and destructive thoughts and actions, I have at times lost a sense of God’s love for me. Yet, we have before us today the story of the man at the pool of Bethzatha. This has become a touchstone for me, a touchstone of a means by which I gradually and gratefully accept the compassion and love of Jesus to heal me, to heal me as I need in any given moment and time in my life and in my illness.
It amazes me that Jesus – in hearing a litany of complaint and hopelessness from the man to his question “Do you wish to be healed?” – can hear deep inside this a feeble desire for that healing, a hope for that healing. Jesus does bring about his physical healing to that man who walks again. Now, the same man is later confronted by the religious authorities and fears the consequences to himself of Jesus’ loving action toward him and so he betrays Jesus to those authorities. But this does not negate the freely-given, sacrificially-given love of God and Jesus for this man’s healing and wholeness. That love, that sacrifice, now abide in this man to be renewed in the future, to be renewed for his continued healing, his wholeness in body, mind, and spirit and his well-being of soul at just the right time for him.
I bid you today to pray with me to remember those instances in which you have perhaps been reluctant to accept or even refused the loving kindness of God for healing that Jesus has come to you to offer. Then turn gratefully and vulnerably toward that Jesus who offers that loving kindness to us in ways beyond our imagining – to us and to others around us, and through those others around us to us as well. Live in the gratitude and knowledge of Jesus’ continuing love for us, that the Word made flesh indeed dwells in our flesh, continually healing, forgiving, restoring us to well-being at each moment along the way just as we have need – not as we may believe we have need, but as we truly have need. Then offer your gratitude and loving kindness back to God for this gift of healing in Jesus’ life.
We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus
Like many others, I have sought Christ’s healing power, especially in time of need. Sometimes, I am calmed and thankful as the particular intercession passes. At other times, I wonder where Christ is. I have become more able to say, Your (God’s) will, will be done and in fact, it has been done. I just keep trying to believe that the love of the Divine Three surrounds me.
The phrase “loving kindness” has recently become more important to me and resonated the most with me today. I often practice loving kindness meditation as taught by Sharon Salzberg, a central figure in the world of Buddhist meditation and a strong proponent of this type of practice. I believe we are meant to co-create with God. If so, we should then be offering loving kindness to others.
For all who read this today:
May your hearts be open. May you be safe; be happy; be healthy. May you walk in the Way. May you know god’s presence and the spirit’s grace on this day.
Thanks for a wonderful devotional on healing. I prayed for God to heal me today and have been happy to say feeling great. The impact of natural disasters and traumatic incidents of late left me as I drew nearer to Jesus in silence today. I did not talk more about what I felt but was able to move away from it by being silent before Jesus. It is always said that he doesn’t move away from us we move away from. Him. These devotionals have been life changing. Keep sending them!
Thank you Jesus for healing inside of myself & showing that I was part of the problem I knew I had to be open to heard God’s voice in this healing process . I prayed to the Holy Spirit to help me to write an apology letter. The person liked the apology letter, but hasn’t spoken to us for 2 years . I have left this problem in God’s hand to sort it out.
Thank you, Brother Maury for sharing your thoughts on this passage.
The question Jesus asks the man “do you want to be made well?” Seems odd at first. Why does Jesus ask that? was my first thought. As I reflect on it I see it shows the depth of Jesus’ ministry and his love for us. Jesus doesn’t heal everyone, but he looks to make a relationship with those he heals – a reciprocated relationship between himself and the one he heals. It’s so much more than the healing that is important. It’s the unconditional love, and the compassion that resonates from Jesus. I believe this is what the inflicted man felt and accepted. Dear Lord, I am so thankful for Jesus’ power to heal us physically and to bring his love and compassion to heal our brokenness. I pray for those in need of healing that they open their hearts to Jesus and welcome his healing powers; and make a right relationship with him. Amen.
I can think of many times in my life that God sustained me with his love and carried me. I felt insecure depressed and sad things happened, but he was always there to help me start over. I did not always climb out of my dark pattern of depression and anxiety and would fall on my face again. Threw the ruined relationships and wreckage I left behind he has brought me toward a healthy relationship and was there all the times I fell.
The last few lines of this meditation, especially the line that says, “…..as we have need, not as we think we have need.” Made me think of times when I may have thought Jesus didn’t know my needs. I later reflected that He indeed MET my needs and always does, just not “as I think I have need.” That really struck me because it’s so true.
Jesus has always been faithful to do what He said he would do
This is Sunday, and I’m catching up. From Feb. 20, reading this deeply healing message is good for me and good for my sister. I am with her in California while she is recovering from not one but two strokes. She will make a full recovery. So we are claiming the promise that is promised unbegrudgingly through Jesus. Despite the weeks and weeks that it will take, this was the perfect message for this time, this day. Blessings.
I’ve never doubted God’s value in my well- being, there is far too much evidence to the think otherwise. Even now, also living with clinical depression, my happiest times are when I’m paying attention to God’s presence. The stories of Jesus’ healing though have always struck a chord with me, in particular one’s like this where Jesus asks “do you want to be well?”. There have been times when I have, with great shame, admitted that “no, I don’t” because it meant leaving the familiarity of where I was. And sometimes God has stepped into my life and firmly, and in spite of all my resistance, re-orient me anyway- whether I liked it or not. Sometimes parents have to do that… firmly and lovingly put their child to bed or give them a bath, etc, even if they resist– because the parent knows that sleep and good hygiene are good for health. God knows what is best for us too- and will sometimes step in, even if we don’t enthusiastically welcome it.
Week two day one – In the Beginning
W — God’s Word was made flesh in Jesus of Nazareth
O — God who is LOve speaks of love in Jesus Christ
R — I Remember this mystery of God and my humanity as made in the image and likeness of God.
D –Does my life speak love, light, life, grace or truth?
“difficult to believe that the love of God could include you and the fulness of your being as important as anything else in the universe.” Yes, it is difficult
Br. Jonathan, thank you for your message. A message from the heart and experience. Psychologists tell us that one cannot receive genuine help and healing unless he/she owns the problem. You certainly owned your depression, and sought help from God. I think there could be many reasons why one might come asking for healing, maybe because someone advised it, or because he seeks to look better to others, etc., etc. So Jesus looks deeply at the man and asks, “Do you really want to be made well?” I could say for him, “Why, Jesus, why do you think I am here?!” But, apparently, he did not question the question. Jesus saw his motive, touched him and healed him.
I, too, have a physical problem for which I long to be healed. I know Jesus can touch me. My faith is renewed. Thank you for your words of hope and encouragement.
I have been questioning, the action of healing at Bethsaida This past week I researched the location of Bethsaida (House of Mercy) near the Temple at the Sheep Gate and thought about the other Beth Saida in the NORTH I phoned the closed library at JCC in Toronto.. Why were there two Bethsaidas.? WERE they related? I didn’t find the answer.
The Bethsaida, in this passage, IS located near the Sheep Gate, where all Passover sacrifices were brought . It was taught to me in Israel, that Christ may have passed through the Sheep Gate upon entering the city from the Mount of Olives, during our PALM Sunday( Holy Week). Just a thought. However?? Was Bethsaida related to the Gate? Was mercy related to Sheep?
So I questioned why Beth? Was it privately owned property? Inside the Temple? Didn’t seem reasonable. So I looked at other Beths. Bethlehem, Bethany, then I realized I was questioning again.
Then I thought about the question Jesus posted to the INVALID . Do you want to be well and then I said YES in my head – my answer to the question. What was the answer of the Invalid? He had the reasons why he wasn’t healed.
Then I came into another thought: “ SILO”. There are definitions on the internet for “Silo” and one has to do with SILO mentality. Why not reference my thought, SILO, to this question and think about the discernment of the answer.
Organizations can have a SILO mentality. Can churches have a SILO mentality ? Can individuals have Silo mentalities? Can Silos exist in our understanding of God and our beliefs? The invalid’s answers were peculiar. Where was his understanding of healing? Well the individual was healed and went on his joyful way!!! He came to the religious authorities who may have been responsible for his beliefs on healing. As he approached them he was afraid. Did he betray Jesus to the authorities, and where did his fear come from?
Looking at another BETH, Bethany
Simon, Mary and Martha had lived before in an area of Nazareth, where they knew Jesus as a childhood friend.. Bethany means House of the poor… Did Simon live with them? Why were they poor? He had his own house? Was it a cave or a house as we see it? In Bethany, we know the he died too and was buried there. But Jesus came to him and raised him from the dead . Was this leper allowed to live near or with Mary and Martha or were there two SIMONS? Why was Bethany a name meaning house of POVERTY? Can this house or domain have other meanings? Yes! Explore and discover and in the question there is richness!
Just another question in our quest to love and know our Jesus… He is the great leader, healer, redeemer and we know Him as our Saviour and our Lord.. and we will accept His answers with confidence because in His question the answer will be there!
There is no doubt in my mind that Christ can and does heal but me? I live with a chronic pain condition. And have lived with it on and off for 25 years. Yes I have prayed. But have I really asked and expected healing. I remain confused. The last few months have been marred because of insidious low level pain. Not dramatic. Not life threatening, but life spoiling. What do I do? How do I pray?Lord please – I do want to be free from pain and all it does to you life. Then I can shout it from the mountain tops……
I myself had issues with depression in the past. The lost of my beautiful fiancee took a toll on me for some time. But God’s amazing grace was with me the whole time and it took some time for me to wake up and see it, but when I did, the healing and restoration came upon me like a mighty stream of water. I’m truly blessed.
Thank you for this reflection Brother Jonathan. For me, it is the image of the despairing but hopeful woman reaching out to touch Jesus’ robes as he walks through a crowd, and his turning toward her, that moves me deeply. I can actually feel the depth of Jesus’ care in that movement. When I believe myself to be rejected or unloved, caught in my own shadows, it is the kindness and care of others in faith community that reminds me that I am not alone. It is hard to be open to a healing that transcends, surprises; and that is often comprised of steadfast witnesses acting in Jesus’ name.
I too feel, sense a rushing wind within me, my heart is stirred up and moved, agitated. My whole body seems old and worn down, bent out of shape, crippled by work and broken, shattered by disappointments and failure, cracked through misuse and neglect. My mind is scarred and furrowed by years of worries, concerns and anxieties… I have been long detached – wondering and waiting in loneliness for someone to come… and all this time I have been tormented by fluctuating emotions, precariously balanced between heaven and hell – torn apart by anger, jealousy, hate and greed. For no reason I can adequately explain or comprehend I have been crushed and have suffered too much, I feel as though I am trapped in a prison cell – of my own body, and unable to escape. I was humiliated and tortured by the world – mute as a child, not able to express my feelings. I have been cut down by the judgements of my fellow human beings and discarded often like dross. I feel no greater than the dust of the ground. And, as I complain of my misery, you say,
“Do you want to be healed?”
At that, I hear the sweet sound of birds in the distance, the heavens seem to open – letting in a new light, a breath of fresh, invigorating air… ‘Here I am Lord, I lie before your feet, an emotional cripple, bruised and broken, O my Lord and savior, yes! Heal me and make me whole.’ I confess that I neglected your help in the past, I turned away in ignorance and believed that I could make a success of my life on my own – but I was wrong. I see now that all my ailments were self-inflicted – I was too arrogant to accept responsibilities for my actions, and never forgave others for their errors and mistakes. I only ever expressed concern for myself – never thinking of my neighbor.
A great burden is lifted from me.
Lord, I am grateful for your love and healing, and I ask that you visit others too in their sickness to restore them back to health.
Pax Christi – David
I love the Gospel of John! When I first opened my heart to seek Jesus, before I actually converted from Judaism to Christianity–I was advised by a qualified person to read the Gospels first several times–before going further in the New Testament. I already knew, within my heart, that I needed healing. After my conversion took place I prayed to Jesus for 2 physical concerns to be healed. I fully believed when I read the Gospels that Jesus was the Healer and could heal me. Instead, Jesus wanted more healing than that for me. Through my conversion, transformation and healing journey He brought physical, emotional, spiritual and even inner healing to my life. I had a lot of brokenness! Then He called me to the healing ministry after my journey of several years. I joined a Christian healing ministry, studied, shared my experiences and pray for and encourage others on their healing journeys.
Healing is a journey to wholeness–not perfection, through continual transformation and relationship with our Savior. And, the first particular physical healing I had asked for came 8 years after my conversion. To God be the glory.
Lately, I’ve been feeling as though I’m crouched near the Sheep Gate. My illness is not physical. More so, my illness is ineffectiveness, inability. Do I want to be healed? Yes. Then, a short while back, just before worship began, a gentle soul approached me and handed me a small, shining red, stuff heart. She said, “Here. The note on the bulletin board said, take a heart and give it to someone who shows you the love of Christ. I can’t think of anyone who shows me the love of Christ more than you.” Jesus was there, making me well. Thank you God for revealing yourself to me in ways I’d never expect.
I can’t help but to be reminded of that scene in Monty Python’s “Life of Bryan” where the blind man was running up and down an alley complaining how this man named Jesus cured him of his blindness and thus took away his livelihood and source of income as a beggar.
Sometimes I think the reason Jesus would ask the question of whether or not we’d want to be made well is because our afflictions become our identity. It becomes who we are, and when it is taken away we lose control over the one thing we thought we controlled in our lives. Why else would Jesus ask this question? Isn’t the answer obvious? Of course, I want to be made well. Or do I?
Do I want Jesus to make my tinnitus well? Or how about my bad shoulder and neck pains? Or any of the many other possible vexing physical, spiritual, and mental health concerns? The answer should be self evident. But what am I willing to give up in order to receive His healing?
Am I willing to give up self and be crucified with Christ? Am I willing to give up my life and allow Jesus to live in me? How much resistance do I put up when asked to daily take up my cross? Wow, that seems like a lot to surrender, doesn’t it? But Jesus tells us that his “yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Matthew 11:30 NIV
So what is it going to be? Are you going to continue to live to self and to persist suffering in your afflictions, or are you going to surrender your mind, body, and spirit to the Lord, to receive His continual healing and love?
It’s up to you. That’s why Jesus asks “Do you want to be made well?”
Love the points you made!
I am thankful for continual spiritual, physical and emotional healing. When I remember my first few years as a believer in Christ I was sceptical that He could heal the many addictions, relationship troubles, and depression but with every time I turned to God for healing and was healed it strengthened my faith in Him. St. John of the Cross’ writings about The Dark Night of the Soul encouraged me to believe and trust God’s goodness even when He felt far from me and healing was slow in coming.
Thank you, Brother Jonathan and thank you to all those who have shared their response to this meditation. It seems to be a part of our human struggle that we have difficulty believing that Jesus wants to heal our individual sicknesses. But he does. And we need to keep reminding one another.
Thank you Brother Jonathan. Your personal testimony was so helpful to me and I am sure to others. Your suffering and compassion have made a healer of you. I have benefited from you advice in the past, and once again today. On my way to France as my sister Christine lost her husband from cancer. I thank God. The timing of your message could not have been better.
Thank you Brother Jonathan for sharing your personal struggles with us. And, Susan, I have placed you in my prayers. I’m so glad you have found this place to heal with so many of us who are healing along side you in God’s love.
Yesterday’s message was that God invited me to bring to him in prayer the deepest concerns that trouble me. And today asking Jesus to come to those areas in my life to heal me. God help me to pray for those deepest concerns for Jesus to heal me and renew me. Amen
There are indeed times when I feel like God has forgotten about me or just ignored me. I’m in one of those ruts now. I need to look for His presence and know that He is there. And recall that God’s time isn’t my time.
Than you Brother Johnathan for opening yourself to us, and sharing your pain. And sharing too the Living Hope that is the Son of God, our Saviour Jesus. I truly believe He loves us and wants us to be well, and I strive to share that whenever I can.
God be with you Brother.
how to show god the places that don’t want to be healed. how do we release those. I notice that I protect some of the most toxic aspects of self. frustrating!
Me too. I show them th God, but there are some hurts that seem to have grown enmeshed with my self-identity, and I wonder whether external changes could work, or whether I am clinging to them as part of me. I am afraid of hurting others by big changes, but I am hurting and I wonder whether external changes would make a difference, or if I need to change from within. I pray myself in circles and see I need a trusted confidante to process this out loud.
Didn’t Jesus say, “Physician, heal thyself.” I BELIEVE we have the God given ability to heal ourselves, literally,… To move mountains, literally… If we believed enough that we could. I wish I had that much belief… God help me truly have that knowing… Insha Allah…
Everyday I thank God for all he has done and is continuing to do in my life. It’s truly a blessing to know that I’m loved more than words alone can describe. The amazing grace that shines upon me daily is more than sufficient. Not that I did anything so good or great, but God shows his love for me every day by looking beyond my faults and seeing my needs.
if we truly believe we are loved as we are, we would all be healed
Thank you Brother Jonathan for your personal story. I now ask Jesus to heal me from my recent devastating surgery and from the emotional pain it has caused.
Thank you, Brother, for your words on how depression can turn us from the love of God. I’ve been there and I know, and you tell me I am not alone, whether in the darkness or filled with grace.
May each breath be for me a reminder to open to the healing love and life of the Lord.
Thank you this is a hard and healing study i hope brings me to a peace God intends. I have not known much of unconditional love. I search often for it in church and scripture. I find much comfort and challenge in this study. In the end i hope for a deeper connection with God Comunity and self. Im getting there with tears of hope.
Thank you. I struggle and pray alongside you.
Thank you Brother Maury for sharing yourself, and thank you Agatha for your insight: “But Jesus wants to look us in the eye, to have us acknowledge our brokenness to Him, in effect to acknowledge our “dirty feet”. In engaging the man in a relationship first, Jesus is not just healing the man of his immediate physical ailment, but instead is giving him a new life in Him.”
I have been through a tough road of addiction. It was only when I was willing to admit my sickness and say that I wanted to be whole, that the healing could begin. I went from believing that a spiritual force was helping me to realising that force was the Holy Trinity. I am now living a very satisfying and full new life with personal serenity. I thank God for this daily and all day. And what remains really powerful is that I still share ( admit) to others when appropriate that I am a recovered alcoholic. By doing so, I affirm that God’s healing love remains, strengthening my free will to reject my demons.
Dear Jonathan, Thank you for your thoughtful and deeply personal meditation. It was lovely to see you on my screen after so many years. I hope you are well. Blessings, Mino
I’m so grateful, Jonathan, for your vulnerability in this video. It helps me understand more deeply the wisdom and compassion you have given me over the years. And you’ve reminded me that though I’m now in a place where old wounds have less power than they once did, I still need to come to Jesus for healing. Thank you.
Thank you, Brother Jonathan, for sharing your experience and emotion with us. I have also suffered from depression for decades, and you identified so well those times when I turned from God and God’s lesson of the moment. You also helped me feel anew the hope of those times (including now, since I’m following the SSJE’s Lenten journey through John) when I come to God in vulnerability. Thank you for making God made flesh more real to me through your own vulnerability.
Thank you, Jonathan, for this healing and your deep sharing. It is in the sharing that we heal. I, too, have struggled with deep darkness, and Christ has met me there. “I am hope for all who are hopeless. I am eyes for all who long to see. In the shadows of the night, I will be your light. Come and rest in me.”
Thank you for sharing yourself, Jonathan. In June of 2011 I was at Emery House during a time when my daughter was struggling mightily with depression. You asked me about prayer requests, I shared a bit about her, you told me that you too knew what it was to struggle with depression, and you said that you would pray for her. That connection made a big difference to me, helping to soothe my soul at a troubled time. God redeems your illness when you are able to reach others because of it. Your ministry blesses others, thank you.
Thank you. I have always been struck by Jesus’ question, “Do you WANT to be healed?”. I always ask it of myself in times of doubt. Sometimes I realize that I am getting in the way by my refusal to accept the loving healing and compassion of Christ. It has been a struggle at times.
Let me begin by thanking Brother Jonathan for the thoughtful meditation and by thanking all the Brothers for their ministry. I too have found myself “unable to believe that the love of God included” me and found myself “turning away from God”. Then, by damn, God’s love was there for me. I needed no touchstone. God gave me His “compassion and love”, a freely given gift. I try, and will continue to try, to live in the gratitude and knowledge of God’s continuing love. The Brothers and the “blessed company” help me do so. Peace!
Thank you so much for today’s comment.
That God heals shows how much He cares. May we do our best to repay this day by day.
Thankyou for this. God does move in mysterious ways. Im a south african living in london and saw a link to u and this on fb.
I too have been depressed and send healing and well being to your soul. I like the gentleness you exhude as i too like to share my gentleness with others around me.
God Bless you. Lisa Sutherland.
My heart goes out to anyone who is afflicted. (That must be the Christ in me).
It is a comfort to know that Jesus sought out the cripple and desired to see him healed.
I pray likewise that same Savior will heal me, and all those that are afflicted in mind and body.
In today’s video, Br. Jonathan Maury talks about Jesus’ question to the man who had been ill for thirty-eight years, “Do you want to be made well?” (John 5:2-6)
I’ve dwelled on this story many times wondering why Jesus asked the man the question instead of just healing him. Wouldn’t that have been more dramatic to just heal everyone in His path?
But Jesus wants to look us in the eye, to have us acknowledge our brokenness to Him, in effect to acknowledge our “dirty feet”. In engaging the man in a relationship first, Jesus is not just healing the man of his immediate physical ailment, but instead is giving him a new life in Him.
An outward sign of cleanliness may be physical footwashing, but it is when our soul is cleansed and healed by God’s love that we truly begin to live.
Thanks, Agatha. Thinking of foot washing as a metaphor for cleansing of the whole body is great way for me to remember Christ’s healing gifts.
Agatha, thanks for your point above. I agree whole heartedly that that is the case, Jesus wants us to take his love into our lives, to be committed to accepting that love. It’s not just that we receive but acknowledge the wonderful gift. A gift given doesn’t always mean we make a commitment to accept it with love. We need to make that commitment ourselves. We have to be part of the relationship.