The Sunday of the Paralytic

Healing of the paralytic by the Pool of Bethesda

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There was a pool in Jerusalem called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, which means the House of Mercy. It was remarkable because an angel of the Lord would go down at a certain time there and move the water: whichever sick man then entered the pool first after the angel was healed immediately of whatever disease he had.

One day, Jesus Christ was in Jerusalem during the feast of the Passover. As He was walking by the pool, He saw a great multitude of sick people lying next to it. There were the lame, the blind, and the withered. Each of them waited for the moment when the angel troubles the water to be the first to enter it. There was one sick man among others who sat there languishing by the pool for thirty-eight years. When the Savior saw him, He took pity on him and told him: Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus told him: Get up, take up your bed and walk (cf. John 5:6-8). The paralytic immediately recovered, took up his bed and walked. The Jews who were there became indignant and told the healed man that he should not take up his bed, for it was a feast day.

But he answered them, He Who healed me, He said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk (cf. John 5:11).

“And who is that Man?” they asked. But he didn’t know as Jesus had disappeared in the crowd.

After a while, Jesus found this man in the temple and told him, Behold, you are now made whole; see that you sin no more, lest a worse thing happens to you (cf. John 5:12-14).

This is what we should all strive for when God delivers us from sickness. When we are sick, we often beseech God to help us, but later, once we recover, we don’t think about pleasing Him. When our strength returns, we forget about prayer and fall back into our old sins instead of reforming ourselves and beginning a new, more pious life.

The fourth Sunday after Pascha is called the Sunday of the Paralytic in memory of the miracle we have just spoken about. We hear the following hymn during the service this Sunday: “As of old Thou didst raise the paralytic, O Lord, by Thy Divine presence, raise my soul which is paralyzed grievously by all manner of sins and unseemly deeds, that being saved I may cry out: O compassionate Christ, glory be to Thy power.”

Archpriest Gregory Dyachenko
Translation by Liubov Ambrose


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