The trigger for the attack of the Jewish leaders against Jesus in this morning’s chapter from John’s Gospel was His healing of a man who spent 38 years of his life unable to walk. With a single word, Jesus healed him.
Jesus worked a great many miracles of healing during His earthly ministry.
But have you ever wondered why these miracles seemed so selective?
What about all the other people at the pool of Bethesda that day who were not healed? What about all the people in the world who never met up with Jesus, who died from their illnesses?
And what about all the people Jesus did heal? Didn’t they all eventually die from something else?
It is true that Jesus raised from death the daughter of Jairus, the young man of Nain, and Mary and Martha’s brother, Lazarus. But what about all the other fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, husbands and wives, and sons and daughters whose loved ones did not get up and walk out of the cemetery?
Over the years, we may see a friend or family member wondrously raised up from a bed of illness, even at the very door of death. But what about all those who did not recover?
The psalmist sang: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits, who pardons all your guilt, who heals all your diseases,” Was the psalmist wrong?
Obviously not! You are sitting in church today – reading this bulletin. You are still here! Most of us have been ill any number of times throughout our lives. Colds can become deadly pneumonia. Influenza can kill. Physical and emotional stress takes its toll on our bodies over the years. But here we are – still here! Why? Because God has – sometimes with medical means – sometimes without – healed us countless times.
The question is not whether Jesus could, did and still can heal our diseases. He clearly could, did and still can. But why did Jesus exercise such restraint of His power? Why were there not more healings and empty tombs? Is it not simply because Jesus did not come to create heaven on earth? By His tender mercies He gave us previews of coming attractions, snapshots of a world infinitely better where the curse of sin, sickness and death itself shall be reversed and abolished. Christ’s tender mercies point us back to the Paradise we lost and forward to the infinitely better Paradise we shall regain.