The compassion that heals

In the Gospel of John, it’s related that while passing by a pool called Bethesda, Jesus meets a man lying there who has had an infirmity for 38 years (see 5:2–9). He tells Jesus that whenever the waters are agitated, whoever steps into the pool first is healed of his troubles. However, the man is unable to get into the water by himself, and no one will come to his aid. Others more able-bodied than he are always stepping in ahead of him.

Jesus could have shown human compassion for the man by helping him into the water. But instead he said, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” And the man walked! By making this spiritual demand, Jesus was expressing true compassion—the love of the Christ that heals.

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