Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions. Enjoy.
We’ve been traveling for awhile and the time for one of the festivals in Jerusalem was approaching. As we walked near the sheep gate near the Pool of Bethesda, I looked around. It was huge, with five covered porches to keep the sun from beating down on the crowds there. It was deep too, four men can stand on each other to reach the bottom.
Among the crowd, there were a large number of disabled people. Lame, blind, and paralyzed. Jesus stopped by one of them, crouching down to get closer to his level, striking up a conversation with him.
We learned that he had been paralyzed for 38 years. That was longer than I had been alive. He had friends bring him there because it’s believed an angel stirred the waters and the first one in was healed.
He never could make it in time. For all intents and purposes, he had given up.
Jesus asked, “Do you want to get well?”
“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.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
I watched as small shriveled legs filled with muscle and began to move. He stood, amazed, as he looked around. Quickly he rolled up the mat and tested his legs, leaving us at the Pool.
A thought struck me, it’s the Sabbath, he shouldn’t be carrying his mat. That’s considered work. “Jesus, why…” I turned to find no one there. Looking around, I couldn’t see him so I followed the former paraplegic.
Quickly I caught up because some Jewish leaders had stopped him.
“It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”
But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”
So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”
I hid in case he saw me and pointed me out. One does not want to anger the Sanhedrin, the Jewish High Court. It could get you 40 lashes or banned from the temple.
“I don’t know, I never got his name. Excuse me, I need to go to the temple.”
On the way to the temple, I saw Jesus coming. I stopped and waited as the man disappeared inside, probably to give a thanksgiving offering to God. We waited until he came out. His expression brightened when he saw Jesus.
“It’s you! I was asked about you.”
“See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”
What, I wondered. He must’ve done something wrong. Suffering is usually linked to sin. The man quickly left. It wasn’t long and we were confronted by the Jewish leaders…