(Jn 5, 1-16)
There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate
a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes.
In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled.
One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there
and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him,
“Do you want to be well?”
The sick man answered him,
“Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool
when the water is stirred up;
while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.”
Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.”
Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.
Now that day was a sabbath.
So the Jews said to the man who was cured,
“It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.”
He answered them, “The man who made me well told me,
‘Take up your mat and walk.'”
They asked him,
“Who is the man who told you, ‘Take it up and walk’?”
The man who was healed did not know who it was,
for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there.
After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him,
“Look, you are well; do not sin any more,
so that nothing worse may happen to you.”
The man went and told the Jews
that Jesus was the one who had made him well.
Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus
because he did this on a sabbath.
The Sheep Gate
The temple of Jerusalem had many gates. One of these was know as Sheep Gate. It was through this gate that the Jews passed through to bring their lamb sacrifices for their sin offerings. Outside of this gate lay the pool of Bethzatha where many sick lay on pallets waiting to be healed. They believed that when the angel stirred the pool the one that goes into the water first would get healed. It was in this area that Jesus worked the 3rd sign.
Again, what is the significance of this miracle ? Bethzatha, the name of the pool, is translated “house of mercy”. The people who gather around the pool are the sick. They all wait to receive some mercy from God. When Jesus cures the paralyzed man, therefore, he extends God’ mercy! Jesus, is the true “angel” or messenger of God who comes to grant mercy!
This miracle cure happens by the Sheep Gate, however! It also signified that the gift of mercy will be given by the true Sheep Gate, Jesus! It will be the result, too of the true Lamb of God who will be sacrificed on Good Friday! With this miracle, Jesus tells us that he will grant us mercy by becoming the Lamb of sacrifice! By his wounds we are healed! Praise be the Lord.
Fr. Paulson V. Veliyannoor, CMF