Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Thirty eight years is a long time to be sick. And not just to be sick – but to be lying at the place where healings happen with no one to help get the healing. We can only imagine the wild, unexpected joy when Jesus breaks into the encrusted habits of illness, chronic pain and suffering, and shines His light and brings new life.
Wonderful as this is, though, it is not Our Lord’s primary focus, for His works are signs, as He calls them, signs of a reality of another order. For He tells the man: “Look, you are well; do not sin any more, so that nothing worse may happen to you.” Was sin even on the sick man’s mind? Surely he was so ecstatic to be well again – he had just about forgotten what that felt like – that dark thoughts of sin would not enter his mind.
And yet Jesus knows us far better than we know ourselves, for He sees with the light of God, in the light of God: His all pure eye sees the hidden causes of all our maladies, and sees through our apparent health as well, to that sin which so characterizes the human condition. As we move more deeply into Lent, let us not be afraid to face the simple fact that we live in a fallen world, among sinners (just try to get on the freeway – or out of the church parking lot!) – but most distressingly, really, that we are sinners as well. And then let us turn to our healing and saving Lord with humble confidence, for though His ability to heal our infirmities is marvelous, His ability to forgive sin is infinitely more important.