I wonder if Jesus was frustrated by the lack of concern for the weak. In John 5 Jesus sees a multitude of people who are dying as they lay around a pool. I imagine Jesus walking through the gate in the shadow of the colonnade. It would give Him a moment of privacy, passing through the shade. I can see His eyes welling up with tears as He sees a crowd of lame, cripple people desperate for some sort of relief. Can you picture it? He sees His children desperate for someone to help. What catches my eyes, is that this pool is by the Sheep Gate. Jesus walks in and I wonder why the shepherds are not there. I can feel the frustration, “these are my sheep, where are those worthless leaders I left in charge!” They are nowhere to be found. No ministry done to these poor lame sheep. Instead, they’ve replaced ministry to the weak with a myth about a magic pool.
Beneath the shade of the colonnades, multitudes wait for an opportunity to push their way into the pool when “the water is stirred up.” (v.7) Jesus must have been furious! He charged His priests to provide for these weak invalids, and they have created some sort of goofy myth to keep them out of the way. He walks to one of them and singles out a man who had been lame for 38 years. Think about it! 38 years of waiting for healing. I wonder if he had been able to get into the water at some point in the past and it just didn’t do any good? Perhaps the priests just kept telling him to keep trying? Maybe he had tried everything else and in exasperation just decided to wait for God to walk by. Fortunate for him. Did you see the question Jesus asked in verse 6? “Do you want to be healed?” The man’s response seems like an exasperated, “come on, seriously! Another person blaming me!?” His response is a polite way of saying, “why don’t you help me into the pool, you self-righteous snot!” Jesus had another way in mind.
I wonder what the initial response of the man’s heart was. I think it would have been a frustrated. Incredulously, I think I would have thought, “you’re nuts!” Sometimes, when Jesus says for us to do things they seem crazy. We look at Him and think, “but this is the way that we have been taught to heal!?” “This is the way, we have always done things!” We reason that we have seen healing happen this way before. These are the methods that we have always used to heal the sheep! And yet, we are still sitting under the colonnades waiting for God to walk by. I think it’s because we know that our methods and myths don’t heal unless God walks by. God has walked by.
All our incredulous responses to Jesus’ questions are overcome when we rise and walk.
Did you notice that Jesus didn’t heal everyone? There were a multitude of people who were under those colonnades. Yet Christ only healed the one. This is not uncommon. Jesus heals who He heals and no one can really be mad about. After all, all we did was make up some myth to keep the weak out of our hair.