Jesus healed not only bodies, but hearts.
In John 5 we learn of a man who had been unwell for thirty-eight years. That’s a long time, especially in the first century. According to Dr. Craig Evans, an archaeologist and professor, “Life expectancy was short in the time of Jesus—more than half died before reaching 30.”* That’s astounding—and a bit hard to fathom in a time when it’s not uncommon for people to live into their nineties.
Add to this man’s plight that there were virtually no social supports for struggling people, and it is exceptional that the man had lived as long as he had.
Jesus said to him: “’Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked” (verses 8-9).
The church father Cyril of Alexandria saw in this story a powerful example of Jesus’ multi-layered compassion. Not only did he offer healing physically, but internally. The desperate man had no one else to help. He had been alone, but because of Jesus was alone no more.
I’m not sure what you’re dealing with. But how would you respond if Jesus came up to you and asked, “Do you want to get well?” What would you say?
Heart work is a speciality of the one who already gave his for yours.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.
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–*Craig Evans, Jesus and His World (Augsburg, 2013), 111.