“In the porticoes was one man who had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been sick for a long time, he said to him: ‘Do you wish to get well?’ The sick man answered him and said, ‘Yes, Lord. But I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred; while I am coming, another steps down before me’ ” [John 5:5–7].

Why did Jesus pass by all the others and come to this man? He did it so that he might show his power and his loving kindness.

A Long Misery

Let us not lightly pass over either the place or the 38 years the man had been in the grip of his infirmity. Let all men listen carefully—all those who have grown old in unending poverty, all who live with the weakness of their infirmity, all who endure the crises of worldly affairs, all who have lived with the surging storms of unexpected troubles. This paralytic lies before us as a haven open to all, as a safe port from human disasters.

No one is so foolish, no one is so miserable and distressed that, if he looks at this man he would not generously and willingly endure whatever troubles may befall himself. If he were sick for twenty years or ten or only five, would not these years have been enough to destroy his strength of soul? Yet this man did not leave the pool but stayed there for 38 years and proved his great patience.

Perhaps you think the length of time he stayed there is a marvelous thing. But if you listen to what he said, then especially will you come to know the virtue and discipline of his whole way of life.

Great Patience, Great Glory

Christ stood there and asked him, “Do you wish to get well?” and who would not have known that he wished to get well? Why, then, did Christ ask him?

Christ knew what the man was ...

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