Day 29: Jesus Walks Among the Wounded
The grand opening of the new maternity wing at the hospital where I worked brought with it a day filled with celebration, music and feasting, long-winded speeches, and great promises of hope for the community's future.
But, just a few feet away from this scene of celebration, lay my nephew in a hospital bed suffering from leukemia and the effects of chemotherapy. A horseshoe of family encompassed his bed, some weeping, others trying to be strong. Ironic, isn't it, that a scene of grand celebration could be found so close to a scene of suffering.
If you could picture in your mind a battlefield covered with wounded, this would depict the scene found at Bethesda, a pool near the sheep market in Jerusalem. The streets of the city were bustling, pilgrims rubbing shoulder to shoulder, as they flooded into the city for the Passover feast. So close to this grand celebration was a scene of suffering, the pool of Bethesda surrounded with "a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered." (John 5:2-3).
On the outskirts of this scene, you will not find any disciples. You will not see any of Jesus' followers. You will not even see any of the "religious" crowd. No, they are too busy with their "religious" activities. You will see only Jesus, alone, walking among them.
Indifference. A scene of suffering so close to a scene of celebration. A religious celebration mind you. Churches today are filled with people singing, rejoicing and worshiping with hands lifted in praise. While next to them may sit people who are depressed, lonely, sick, and suffering. Every week they come, and every week they leave, leave in the same condition they came.
Every church has a pool of Bethesda. If your church is indifferent and neglectful of its suffering members, don't be surprised to learn Jesus isn't walking among your worshipers, but is instead walking among your wounded.