Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Monday after the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on September 11, 2023 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: St. John 5:1-15 (NKJV)
5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. 5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”
7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”
8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.
And that day was the Sabbath. 10 The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.”
11 He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’ ”
12 Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” 13 But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”
15 The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
The Church has much in common with the man who was healed by our Lord at the pool of Bethesda. The man’s infirmity caused him to have no ability to go into the water to be healed; we are unable to accomplish our salvation through our works. The Lord is compassionate on him and saves him by the Word; the Lord has compassion on us and saves us by water and the Word.
When the unbelieving Jews criticized this man for carrying his bed on the Sabbath, they did not rejoice that the Lord had healed someone. They should have sought out Jesus to honor Him as their Messiah. We also face criticism and rejection from the unbelieving world despite the great things the Lord has done for us in salvation.
The man at the pool of Bethesda should help us to understand the Lord’s compassion, His power and mercy to save those who believe and are baptized, and the fact that the unbelieving world will not rejoice with us but will be skeptical and critical of our life in Christ.
Like the man at the pool, we cannot pick ourselves up to go to the water. But we are brought to the waters of Holy Baptism by the power of God. As our Lord says: “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”
Collect: Keep, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy Church with Thy perpetual mercy; and, because the frailty of man without Thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by Thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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