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Word of Compassion

Most of the time we read and hear the voice of Jesus giving us, and those around him, words of encouragement, words of teaching or wisdom, words of wellness and words of compassion. This week we read two stories from John that involve healing, the first of an Official’s son and the second a sick man from around the pool at the Sheep Gate. It is clear that Jesus showed compassion for these two men, and the son of the official, even though we may be challenged to find compassion in the words spoken to them.

Words of compassion and the stories of healing are all through the gospels as we are told of Jesus’ ministry and action here on earth. It is clear that these stories tell of much more than physical healing, healing that can be seen, and so I believe they challenge us to look deeper into these stories.

These words and acts of compassion lead to so much more than physical healing. In the story of the official’s son, the man has his son returned to him in health and so the deep healing work of the Spirit is revealed in the coming to faith of that man and his family and household.

The sick man is a little different, we read that he only refers to Jesus as “the man who made me well” and doesn’t appear to become a disciple within our reading. Then when he meets Jesus in the temple, he doesn’t appear to have any deeper connection and in fact promptly goes to the authorities and reports Jesus to them. So maybe the healing here is only skin deep and there is no depth in how it is received.

I am keen to explore healing, both physical and spiritual, more on Sunday morning, and we will. There are two questions I would like you to ponder in the days leading up to Sunday – which of the men are we like? The official who trusts and shows faith in Jesus that is enhanced so that the whole household is healed, or the sick man whose apparent focus is his physical healing and so he misses the chance for the spiritual healing that he also needs?

I would hope that I am like the official, but I could probably have more faith. It is deep healing that is needed and that I believe we are all looking for. I have some stories to share on Sunday, so let’s explore it more then.

Jay Robinson

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