After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralysed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’ The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Stand up, take your mat and walk.’ At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk.
Now that day was a sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been cured, ‘It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.’ But he answered them, ‘The man who made me well said to me, “Take up your mat and walk.” ’ They asked him, ‘Who is the man who said to you, “Take it up and walk”?’ Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had disappeared in the crowd that was there. Later Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, ‘See, you have been made well! Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you.’ The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. Therefore the Jews started persecuting Jesus, because he was doing such things on the sabbath. But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father is still working, and I also am working.’ For this reason the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because he was not only breaking the sabbath, but was also calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God.
Once again, be sure to practice your prayer before and after your reading. Before reading pray, “Speak to me Lord as I read your Word.” Now, read the passage and give thanks in a spirit of prayer. “Almighty God, grant me insight for this day. Amen.”
Here is a wonderful account that demonstrates the Circle of Love concept. We have a man who has a great need. He needs healing. He doesn’t recognize Jesus even though Jesus stands next to him and inquires about his situation. In a moment, Jesus invites him to take up his mat and walk as a demonstration of his full healing. He still doesn’t recognize Jesus. He just moves away and walks to the temple. Later Jesus and the man have an opportunity to meet and interact once again.
I wonder if there have been times in my life when I would be willing to do something remarkable while humbly slipping away to avoid credit. Most of us want credit. We want our name in the newspaper, our initials on the project, or our photo in the slide show.
Not so with Jesus. He came into the inner circle to worship and pray and then moved out into the world to touch lives with no expectation of obtaining credit or recognition. His life and humility becomes a model for our best service when we seek to remain anonymous.
The circle must be porous and the spirit must be humble. How’s yours? Are you willing to give without getting credit? We have a wall hanging in our home that says, “Blessed are those who can receive without forgetting and give without remembering.”