Daily Devotion for February 10, 2011
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof,
I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you,
Get Up and Walk
After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed.
One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be healed?"
The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me."
Jesus said to him, "Get up, take up your bed, and walk." And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.
Notes on the Scripture
Three of the things we have noticed about the Gospel of John so far are:
1) The language tends to have different layers of meaning, usually Jesus making comments on a physical event that parallels a spiritual teaching. For example, he spent a long time talking about water from a well with the Samaritan woman, but he was actually teaching about the spirit coming from the old and new covenants;
2) It is not as biographical as the other three Synoptic gospels; rather, it focuses on specific instances, each of which has a specific message; and
3) Jesus' miracles are usually presented more clearly as a "signs", to gain the attention and faith of people who will hear and understand the deeper message.
All three tendencies appear in this lesson. Rather than following Jesus in his travels, John jumps from Samaria back to Jerusalem, an unknown amount of time later, in one line.
The story presented sounds simple; in a hospice area, where very sick people lie under open roofs hoping to be cured by a pool, Jesus heals a man on the spot. This man complains that he is unable to get to the water. Christ heals him, then, for a specific reason, in order that people will know him and believe in him, so that they can hear his lesson.
The lesson is "get up, take up your bed, and walk". The water, like the water in the preceding story, is the spirit that comes from the old covenant. But Christ has just told us that living water comes from him, himself, not from the wells and pools of the Promised Land. Thus, the man does not need to walk to the pool. His implicit request, that Jesus help him to the pool, is rendered unnecessary, because Jesus has brought the new "living water" to the man.
It applies to all of us. We do not need someone to help us and we do not need to go anywhere to receive the full bounty of Christ's grace. If we are spiritually enfeebled, all we need to do is get up and walk. Christ will help us. We have his Word in the Bible (and the meaning of "Word" is deep and full of meaning -- See John 1:1-14). If we have been baptized (or in some denominations, if we have simply received the Word), the Holy Spirit is already with us. All we have to do is stand up!To summarize: This is Christ speaking directly to us. It doesn't speak to physical illness, but to our spirit. If we are spiritually ill, we can receive a miracle, once we realize that we can "pick up our bed and walk".