The One Who Keeps Seeking Us Out

Lingering a little longer in the healing by the pool story, we witness Jesus seeking out the healed man a second time. This time it is in the temple. Imagine that, God seeking us out in our places of worship, in our moments of inhabiting the Sabbath stop.

Jesus speaks some curious words to the man found in the temple. At first hearing, the words might sound jarring or abrupt. Notice how you hear these words each time. What do you notice? What are you feeling? You are invited to make room to stop and listen. The One who seeks us out, might have something more to say.

John 5:9-15 (NLT)
Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath, 10 so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!”
11 But he replied, “The man who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”
12 “Who said such a thing as that?” they demanded.
13 The man didn’t know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. 14 But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.” 15 Then the man went and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him.

For Reflection and Prayer:
Was there a word, phrase or image which caught your attention you as you listened to or slowly read the text? Quietly reflect on it in your prayer with Jesus. Journal your conversation.

Was there any particular emotion which emerged as you listened to the scripture? Talk it over with Jesus in your prayer.

Where have you noticed Jesus inviting you or giving you permission to stop and share sacred time with him?

Savor any consoling words or pictures as you quietly rest in God.

An Earnest Search

I wonder if the evidence of an earnest search for God is to know the security of His hand holding us up, even as we seem to be looking elsewhere. I wonder if our thirsts and longings might sometimes be satisfied before we even realize it. It’s a provocative question, isn’t it?—Am I already resting on the fulcrum of my earnest search? Am I already settled into “Oh, God, you are my God”?
What do you sense in your earnest search?

© Brenda Henry

Psalm 63:1-8 (NLT)
O God, you are my God;
    I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
    my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
    where there is no water.

I have seen you in your sanctuary
    and gazed upon your power and glory.
 
Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
    how I praise you!
 
I will praise you as long as I live,
    lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
 
You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
    I will praise you with songs of joy.
 
I lie awake thinking of you,
    meditating on you through the night.
 
Because you are my helper,
    I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
 
I cling to you;
    your strong right hand holds me securely.

For Prayer and Reflection:
Was there a word, phrase, or an image that captured your attention? What is its invitation to you?

Imagine yourself in one or more of the postures represented here (searching, thirsting, longing, gazing, praising, lying awake, singing, clinging, etc.). What is Jesus' posture towards you as you sit with him in that?

What satisfies you?

 

Coming to Jesus for Healing

The heart of God is moved as we come to Him asking for what we need, bringing these desires to God. We may need healing; we may want to feel clean, or we may long for freedom from isolation and bondage. Christ offers God's touch, God's power to heal and to cleanse.

The man in the following story experienced an instant healing at Jesus' words and touch. Our healing may not be instantaneous, but our desire for wholeness and freedom is always honored in God's way and time. The "disease" with which we struggle or suffer may be the very vehicle that brings us to desperately seek out Jesus.

What might you want to ask Jesus for today? Who might you tell about your experience with Jesus? 

Mark 1:40-45

Jesus Heals a Man with Leprosy

A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. "If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean," he said.

Moved with compassion,** Jesus reached out and touched him. "I am willing," he said, "Be healed!" Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. Then Jesus sent him on his way with a stern warning: "Don't tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed."

But the man went and spread the word, proclaiming to everyone what had happened. As a result, large crowds soon surrounded Jesus, and he couldn't publicly enter a town anywhere. He had to stay out in the secluded places, but people from everywhere kept coming to him.

**Note: In the beginning of verse 41 the NRSV says "moved with pity," the New Living Translation says "moved with compassion," the New International Version says "was indignant." The Message says "deeply moved."

For Refection and Prayer:
What phrase or word spoke to you as you listened/read?
What "leprosy" has Jesus healed in you?
What does this tell us about Jesus?
How do you hear God speaking to your life in this text?