The Paralytic: Faith and Obedience

Sunday of the Paralytic  2011       Gospel Lesson:  John 5:1-15

“After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Bethzatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed. One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be healed?’ The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Rise, take up your pallet, and walk.’ And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured, ‘It is the Sabbath, it is not lawful for you to carry your pallet.’  But he answered them, ‘The man who healed me said to me, “Take up your pallet, and walk.”‘ They asked him, ‘Who is the man who said to you, “Take up your pallet, and walk”?’  Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place.  Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, ‘See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you.’  The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.”

Get Up and Walk

The Paralytic confronted by Christ must make a decision: to obey Him or not. Archbishop Puhalo writes of obedience and being human:

“Not discerning good from evil, Adam did not have to be constantly making a choice between the two, with the obvious risks involved. All that was required of him was the simple act of obedience, for in obeying God, he did good without the burden of his own as yet weak reasoning powers, and so long as he simply obeyed, the possibility of doing evil was not present.” (Rev. Lev Puhalo, The Creation and Fall, pg.14)

 The Faith of the Paralytic

The Paralytic believes the command of Christ and gets up and walks.

“In prayer, God’s personal will and ours meet. Christ’s will is sharply focused upon our own salvation, renewal, and rescue. Nothing can thwart Christ’s will for us except our failure to pray. All the sick, blind, lame, and paralyzed who prayed and asked Christ to heal them are those whom he healed. Never did Christ cast out any man who believed in him and asked him. The will of Christ, which is ever present, is always willing and able to save completely all those who come to him by prayer in faith. Through prayer, our will becomes like that of Christ. Through prayer we gain his Spirit and are conformed to his will. His power thus rests upon us.” (Matthew the Poor, Orthodox Prayer Life – The Interior Way, pg.35)