1) Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 min)
2) Scripture Reading - John 5:1-15
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. Crowds of sick people - blind, lame, or paralyzed - lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, "Would you like to get well?" "I can't, sir," the sick man said, "for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me." Jesus told him, "Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!" Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking!
But this miracle happened on the Sabbath, so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, "You can't work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!" But he replied, "The man who healed me told me, 'Pick up your mat and walk.'" "Who said such a thing as that?" they demanded. The man didn't know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, "Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you." Then the man went and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him.
"Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. . . " What a simple, yet profound truth! Sad things is - so many of us miss the kind expressions of His love each and every day, because our hearts are unable to receive them. For the man in this story, his life was defined by his illness and his mat. He was unable to see past his immediate circumstances. They colored his day to day existence. Over time, they became for him - a form of bondage, until Jesus set him free.
As an avid gardener, I can appreciate what it takes to make a plant grow and thrive. When plants are placed in small pots, the roots literally wrap around themselves, since there is no where for them to go. It's not until it's removed from the pot, and the ball of roots broken up and placed in a larger patch of fertile soil, that the plant is given the opportunity to thrive. The size of the pot will define its existence and ultimately its fruitfulness.
When we choose to take ownership of our lives and the circumstances that define us, and allow the Holy Spirit to show us how to go about "breaking up the ball of roots" that can sometimes limit us, we are then able to slowly embrace that simple truth. . . "Jesus loves me this I know," and begin to LIVE and THRIVE as Jesus wants us to!
4) Questions to Consider
Can you give a name to the "pot" that is defining your life? What will it take for you to be "transplanted" into a larger container, and your roots broken up, so that you can begin to thrive in the love of Jesus again?
Lord Jesus, set me free to be the person you have destined me to be. Help me pause to hear your voice today and to leave behind the "pot" that has defined me as I seek to follow you. Help me to discern your hand at work in and through my life, both in the past and the future. In Jesus' name, amen.