“Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, ‘See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you.” (John 5:13-14)*_
To the man Jesus healed by the pool of Bethzatha, he said: “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you.” In a similar vein, to those who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate mixed with their sacrifices, he said: “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered thus? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish…” (Luke 13:2-5).
As much as God is not interested in the death of the sinner, the truth is that there is something about sin itself that predisposes us to danger. As we see in the story of the prodigal son, sin takes us away from the Father’s house; it removes us from the protective embrace of God. We soon find ourselves at the mercy of the devil and his agents like the son who hired himself to strangers who wouldn’t even give him food to eat.
Jesus warned the man who had been cured to avoid sin so that nothing worse would happen to him. What else could be worse than suffering for thirty-eight years? What else could be worse than spending half of your lifespan in pain, discomfort, and misery? This is exactly what sin does to us. The book of Proverbs says: “Can a man carry fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk upon hot coals and his feet not be scorched?” (Proverbs 6:27-28).
Jesus asked the man a simple question, “Do you want to be healed?” This is a very important question. It is a question that Jesus is also addressing to us: “Do you want to come out of that life of unnecessary pain and sorrow?” As terrible as sin is, there comes a time we become so used to sin that we begin to enjoy that which should ordinarily give us sleepless nights. We reach a point when we assume it is impossible to live differently.
The man told Jesus how he had often tried without success to get into the water once it is stirred. For thirty-eight years the man remained there hoping that one day he would enter the pool before anyone else. You may have been trying unsuccessfully to overcome the same sin. Don’t give up. You may have failed countless times but let your answer to Jesus’ question remain: “Yes, I want to be healed.”
In today’s first reading, God opened the eyes of Ezekiel to see a river flowing from the sanctuary of the temple. God said to him: “This water flows toward the eastern region and … wherever the river goes every living creature which swarms will live, and there will be very many fish; for this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so, everything will live where the river goes.” (Ezekiel 47:8-9). Do you seek healing from the trap of sin, do well to drink this living water. Return to God today and He will surely grant you healing.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, may the dry bones within us receive life again. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: Ezekiel 47:1-9,12, Ps. 46:2-3,5-6,8-9ab, John 5:1-3,5-16).*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu