Another lesson on grief — will you be made whole?
It’s a very simple question, but it demands an answer. The LORD asked it in John 5, and He is asking it today. He’s asking it of you.
He’s asking you, “Will you be made whole?” He’s asking this because He loves you so much, and He doesn’t want you to live forever in the throes of grief-induced sorrow. Will you be made whole? Sometimes I have to answer, “I have no clue, LORD. You alone know”.
It’s a very tender question. It’s not a condemning question, and it’s not a rhetorical one either. If we answer it correctly, we can receive some wholeness.
John the beloved disciple tells the story.
John 5:1-9 1 LATER ON there was a Jewish festival (feast) for which Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2Now there is in Jerusalem a pool near the Sheep Gate. This pool in the Hebrew is called Bethesda,having five porches (alcoves, colonnades, doorways). 3 In these lay a great number of sick folk—someblind, some crippled, and some paralyzed (shriveled up)—waiting for the bubbling up of the water. 4 For an angel of the LORD went down at appointed seasons into the pool and moved and stirred upthe water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was cured of whatever disease with which he was aﬄicted. 5 There was a certain man there who had suﬀered with a deep-seated and lingering disorder for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus noticed him lying there [helpless],knowing that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, Do you want tobecome well? [Are you really in earnest about getting well?] 7 The invalid answered,
Sir, I have nobody when the water is moving to put me into the pool; but while I am trying to come[into it] myself, somebody else steps down ahead of me. 8 Jesus said to him, Get up Pick up your bed(sleeping pad) and walk 9 Instantly the man became well and recovered his strength and picked up hisbed and walked.
But that happened on the Sabbath.
Verse 1 says, “After this …” After what? What does this reference? Our story occurred immediately after Jesus performed a healing for a nobleman’s son. Somebody just got a miracle, and when someone else is healed or touched by GOD, it can be a hard time for the grieving. It’s hard, not because we are jealous or spiteful or because we aren’t genuinely happy for someone else who is blessed. We are happy for them. It just hurts.
After this, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. There was by the sheep market a pool with five covered colonnades. It was Feast time in Jerusalem, and here, beneath the covered colonnades, was a shady area near the Temple of GOD.
It’s a shaded pool beside the Presence of GOD. It almost sounds like something out of Psalm 23. There were only a few problems.
❇️This place was also by the sheep market.
❇️The sheep market was the place where sheep were bought and sold for sacrifices.
❇️This lovely setting was actually a sheep pen.
Although at first glance, it looked like a place of peace and rest, it probably smelled like a barn as the hot summer sun cooked the sheep droppings. The pool may sound nice, but it was probably filled with wool clippings, sheep backwash, and its fair share of sheep slime.
“In these lay a great multitude”. Sure, it’s surrounded by five covered colonnades, but it’s still a hot, stinky, slimy place — and it’s packed with a great multitude. Here, everyone had a problem. “In these lay a great multitude of impotent people”. Impotent people. People with no power lay here.