“Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda[a] and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.  [b] 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” 7 “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.” 8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.” 11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ” 12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?” 13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. 14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jewish leadersthat it was Jesus who had made him well.” John 5.1-15
Today is Mother’s Day. It’s a day in which we honor our mothers, show our appreciation for the years of care they have given to us. I have an awesome mother who loved, nurtured and trained me up in godly and holy ways. I am married to my wife who is a good and godly mother to her children, and I have a mother in law who is a woman of prayer and also seeks the Lord. Today I honor them and thank God for our mothers.
And speaking of mothers, the man who laid by the pool of Bethesda for 38 years must have had a mother. A mother who loved him but was unable to help him. Unable to help cure him of his paralyzed condition. Unable to tend to his specific needs, to heal his broken body, to comfort him in his sorrow.
The man had been essentially living at the pool. This pool, which I have visited in Jerusalem, is still as the writer in John depicts — five colonnades, near the Sheep Gate, with cool water in it’s basin. The pool which drew many sick and infirmed to it’s water for healing, strength and life.
Although he was at the pool, he could not get into it by himself. Or at the time the waters stirred, legend has it “by angels.” He could not get in and could not be healed.
When Jesus hears of this man’s condition he approaches the man and asks, “Do you want to get well?” The man should have said, “Yes, Lord!” But instead he makes up an excuse which he has been living with for years, “I have no one to help me into the waters…” Jesus is having none of it. He says, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” And the man picked up his mat that very moment and walked.
Now the rest of the story depicts this miracle on the Sabbath and the persecution the man faces because he is “working” on the Sabbath. But what I want to focus on is how Jesus is attentive to this hurting and paralyzed man. Like a mother, Jesus sees the need and meets it. Like a mother, he doesn’t wait for the appropriate answer before doing what he can for the hurting.
I’ve seen this thousands of times in the lives of those mothers I mentioned earlier. Mothers who, like Jesus, attend to the needs of those who need them, who are hurting, in pain, and in need. (And as I write this my wife brings her son an allergy pill for his “healing.” Case in point.)
Today we have a God, and mothers, who love us, care for us and attend to our needs. Will you give thanks to God and these mothers today? Will you give thanks for a Christ who heals the sick and cures the broken? Will you give thanks to mothers who do all they can to love, nurture and care for their families and their children? I know I will.
“O Lord God, thank you for your healing, Lord Jesus. For being attentive to the paralyzed man who did not seek you out but you sought him out and healed his body. We have mothers who are loving caregivers, selfless servants, working tirelessly to attend to their children, friends and spouses. Thank you Lord for putting your nature into mothers specifically that we might see you in them. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen