Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Praying for you, your family, your community and the rest of the world. Right now, the whole world is suffering because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Let’s pray together to God, Our Ever-Loving Father, His mercy and protection on all, and God’s healing on those who are infected by the Coronavirus. We all believe God’s grace and love rest on all who look upon Him every moment with faith in Him.
Then Jesus told them this parable:
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?
And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.
Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ (Luke 15:3-5)
Jesus always loves people. Especially, Jesus comes to those who are suffering to give His heavenly peace and comfort along with eternal life.
Jesus was on the way to the Sea of Galilee from Jerusalem. Jesus intentionally took a route that no Jewish people wanted take at that time of Jesus. The main reason was the Samaritans, who lived on the region of Samaria. The Samaritans were originally Jews, but they were mixed with Gentiles, which made them not pure. Then the Jews distanced them while treating them even worse than Gentiles. Then the Jews did not travel through the region of Samaria at all. Jesus was different. Jesus passed through the Samaritan towns and sit at a well around noon time. Jesus met a Samaritan woman, who came to the well at noon. She wanted to avoid other Samaritan women due to her very complex marriage life. She had five husbands, and she were not even married to the man she was living with. She was the prime target of Samaritan women’s gossips. Many Samaritans also treated her poorly. Knowing this, in fact, Jesus found the Samaritan woman with His compassion. Jesus first made her reveal her heart and listened to her with His compassionate heart. Jesus was different from other Samaritans who were judgmental. Then Jesus gave to her comfort and peace along with the truth, which led to her salvation. She was in joy and ran into the town, and talked about Jesus. The town people came out to see Jesus. They heard Jesus by themselves, and all believed. As a result, not only one Samaritan woman, but also the rest of her town people were saved.
Jesus, then, continued His journey with His disciples to the region of Galilee. He stayed there and preached the Kingdom of God. Many of them were comforted. Jesus gave hope and peace, and they received. Wherever Jesus went, God’s mercy was magnified.
Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. In these lay a great multitude of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. He came the pool many years to be healed. He waited and waited for the pool water moved, As soon as he saw the water moved, he wanted to go into the water to be healed, but he could not. He could not walk by himself. Someone had to carry him to the pool and put him into the water. Even so, whenever he saw the moving water, he did everything to get to the water, but he could make a progress only inch by inch. When he barely managed to the edge of the pool, the pool was already occupied by another person. It was too late. He again lost the opportunity to be healed. Although he saw the moving water first, he could not get into the water before others. Instead he had to painfully watch again another person getting into the pool ahead of him. His heart was breaking. No matter what he did, he was always late. This is not just onetime experience, but every time when the water moved, he had to watch the same scene again and again. His heart was broken again and again. But he could do nothing about it. After all, he was not able to run to the pool like others.
For so many years, he became sick and tired of watching others being healed. He seriously doubted whether he came to the pool and had to wait for the moving water any longer. The man exactly knew what would happen when the water moved. Another person would run ahead of him while he barely moved about an inch or so. Then he had to watch the other person in the pool, and to hear the joyful noise coming out of the person’s mouth. Surely it was unfair to him. His patience was worn out. He could not watch the same scene any more, because it only hurt him more. He silently talked to himself, “Enough.” He wanted to protect himself from his emotional scare getting deeper and deeper. He knew he could not take the same pain anymore. Yes, he was at the edge emotionally. Even so, he could not leave the place because it was the only hope, although he knew his hope was false. It would soon fool him again, and made him taste the bitter misery of watching yet another person being healed while thinking “It should have been mind.” He could not count how many times he thought that he would leave the place and never come back to the pool again. However, he had to come. It made him very sad. However, the reality made him to come again and again because it was the only hope that he could hold of although it was an illusive one. While thinking all these, he was emotionally and spiritually deeply troubled. However, he was at the pool every day. What an irony! He knew the moving water in the pool would not be his. For the particular time, his heart was truly heavy because all of these pressed on him – no outlet but he had to repeat. He was completely trapped in his miserable life. Thus, he even did not want to see the pool although he was at the poolside. He knew it would add another painful memory when the water actually moved.
As Jesus was getting into the pool area, He saw so many sick people at the poolside. He looked around and saw those who were waiting for the water moving. All of the eyes were fixated to the water to be the first one to jump into the water. Indeed, anybody getting into the pool area easily felt the air of the intense rivalry among the sick people around the pool. Each of them was fully ready to run into the pool as soon as the water moved like those who are the start line of 100-meter dash. Nobody can blame them. For each individual, it was a life changing opportunity by being healed by the moving water in the pool. Nobody wanted to miss the opportunity, and they all fixed their eyes to detect the water movement. They had gone through many doctors. No doctor could not heal them. The miraculous healing is the last solution that they could have. Getting into the pool as the first person was their primary reason, and it was a really daunting challenge because all had the same desire to be healed.
Among those at the poolside, Jesus immediately recognized one man with a deep pain scare in his heart. He was there many years, but he could not get into the pool as the first person because he could not walk by himself. So far, he only watched others getting into the pool and got healed. For so many years, he hurt too much, and he was about to completely give up his hope because it was impossible for him to get into the pool first.
Then Jesus asked,
“Would you like to get well?” (John 5:6b)
The man who was sick 38 years was slowly lifted up his eyes, and looked at Jesus standing before the man, while thinking what an absurd question it was! Of course, all at the pool wanted to be healed. If not, why were they at the pool? The man enviously looked up Jesus who stood before him with own two legs. The man thought “if I had two healthy legs like you, I would have been healed many years ago because I could jump into the moving water first.” It was a lamentation in his heart, which made him feel more miserable. Thus, the man did not even want to answer the question. The man, then, in a voice being emotionally charged spoke to Jesus why he was there so many years.
“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.” (John 5:7)
The man explained what he really needed instead rather than answering the absurd question of Jesus. What he really needed was one really good person who could carry him to the pool ahead of the rest at the poolside, and put him into the pool first. Other than such a person, he had no interest at all because he exactly knew the problem, and the solution also. After he clearly stated what he needed, and he looked up Jesus again to see Jesus’ response.
The man was 100% sure that Jesus would not be such a person who would together wait for the moving water and carry him to the pool. Somehow, he felt that Jesus was different from others. He looked genuine, and His voice was gentler than any others who came by him. Regardless, Jesus’ question hurt him again, which made him revisit his painful and heartbreaking past. He wished Jesus had not been there. He had enough pain in his heart. He thought, “Why this fellow made me chew again my painful past?”
Didn’t Jesus know the pain in the man’s heart? Yes, Jesus knew even before talking to the man. Indeed, Jesus came to the man because of the very reason. Jesus’ mission at the pool was to search for a lost sheep. The man was the lost sheep. Although so many sick persons around the pool, the man suffered so many years due to his incapability of going into the pool by himself. He waited many years at the pool to be healed, but the opportunity always denied him. How sad it was. His own sickness itself was the culprit that prevented him to be healed! He was in misery although he was at the poolside with other sick people because he knew he would never been healed. He was completely lost but to Jesus, he was the one lost sheep that Jesus wanted to hold into his bosom. He was at the edge of completely abandoning his hope of healing to protect himself because he could not bear his pain anymore.
Then Jesus lovingly looked at the man, Jesus’ lost sheep at the poolside, and gently said to the man,
“Get up! Pickup your mat and walk.” (John 5: 8b)
The man could not believe what was told by Jesus. He thought that Jesus was out of mind. Jesus could plainly see the man’s sickness and his miserable situation. He could not walk. While the man was thinking in his heart, Jesus left the place.
The man was struggling to erase his miserable feeling caused by yet another random event. He said to himself, “What! Get up and walk?” He was ridicule about Jesus, but he could not deny his real desire of getting up and walking. Somehow, the last word of the strange person, Jesus, “Get up! Pickup your mat and walk,” did not leave him. At the same time, what was told by Jesus made him painful because it touched the center of his inability of being healed and his real desire to walk. Yes, he knew he could walk, which was his cold reality. He thought, “Why did the person touch the very would in my heart again?” He was deeply disturbed.
Hopelessly, he looked at his feet, which was the main source of the curse that was in the way of his healing. He really hated his feet, and he even did not want to see his feet again. Strangely, the stranger’s voice did not leave him alone, but kept circling in his heart. He was starting to hear a subtle voice from his heart, “Why not trying to move your toes?” Then he followed the subtle heart voice. He tried to move his toes. To his real surprise, his toes were moving, which had never happened since he was born. He could not believe what was happening to his toes. It was a miracle. Then he remembered what was told by Jesus one by one. He could hear this time loudly, “Get up!”
Following the voice, he attempted to move his legs. Again, to his surprise, he could move his legs by his own will. He became excited. Then he told to himself, “Then can I really get up by myself?” Strangely, he also felt his legs was filling up with strength. His heart was confident of getting up as Jesus said. He leaned on his hands putting down against the mat, and he made an attempt to get up. It was a truly miracle. His body responded as he wanted, and he could get up like any other persons! He could stand with his own two feet without others’ help. He could not describe the moment with his own words because it was the first time that he ever stood up by himself. Just a few minutes ago, he was in darkness, and he was waiting for a new morning that would never come. The man was about to give up completely. However, now, he was in a bright daylight filled with thanksgiving and hope that he had never had before.
He looked down his own mat where he lied down every day. For the last 38 years, wherever he was carried by others, his mat went together. At the destination, he had to be on the mat till people came and carried him to another place. Now, he no longer needed the mat. He simply picked it up, rolled up, and carried it away with him. He believed Jesus who made him healed. He confidently took off the first step. He had never walked before, but he could immediately walk like any other persons around him. How long did he wait for this moment? How many times did he have miserable feeling in his heart while watching others dashing into the pool and getting healed?
Indeed, the man was about to give up completely. He even did not want to come back to the same pool again. However, coming to the pool was the only hope that always denied him again and again. He exactly knew the hope would betray him again and again, but he had to be at the pool. He was in darkness while waiting for a morning that would never come. But Jesus found him and reach out with His loving hand when he was at the bottom of his miserable life. Jesus then gave healing and hope by shining His light on him, which nobody could give except Jesus. Yes, Jesus always finds those who are suffering like the man who was sick for 38 years with a hope that kept denied him.
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10b)
Yes, Jesus came to this world to give life and have the life to the full. Jesus is always with us and will be with us to the end of the world, as He did to His disciples. Give thanks to Jesus, who is always compassionate and finds those who are suffering with His love. Jesus then gives His love and makes us to have our life to the full.
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
We’d like to share about how to wisely respond to the current worldwide Coronavirus pandemic. First, except our own family living together, consider all others as a potential source of transmitting the Coronavirus because people who are asymptomatic (no symptom of Coronavirus at all) can carry and transmit the virus. Thus, please avoid a physical contact with others, and maintain distance about two meters (or six feet). This social distancing saves lives. Please wash hands with soap about 20 seconds to wash out the Coronavirus that might be on our hands. Our hand skin is pretty thick and it protects well against the Coronavirus, but our hands frequently touch our mouth, then the Coronavirus on our hands will go into our body. We should prevent this type of infection by our own hands.
Most of all, this is the time to have a quality time with one’s own family and with God, Our Ever-Loving Father with prayers, and reading and medicating Bible every day. Please fix eyes on Jesus, who is the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, and follow the foot step of Jesus Christ together with our own families in this difficult time. When this Coronavirus pandemic is over, we will all find that we are one step closer to each other among our own family members in Christ’s love and have a deeper relationship with God. Then we will go out and share this Good News with our neighbors and even strangers.
May God’s grace, protection, healing on all and especially for those who are physically suffering from the Coronavirus and those who are mourning for the loss of the loved ones due to the Coronavirus.