Fourth Sunday after Paskha. The Healing of the Paralytic
Acts: Pericope 23. Gospel of John: Pericope 14
Christ is Risen!
Today we heard the Gospel reading about how the Lord cured the man who had been paralyzed for 38 years. He lay near the Pool of Bethesda. Once a year, an Angel of the Lord went into the pool, disturbing the waters, which for a time acquired healing properties. Whoever first entered the waters would be cured.
The Lord approached the paralyzed man and learning that he had been lying near the pool for many years, asked him: Wilt thou be made whole? He answered: Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool. Then the Lord said: Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. He immediately got well, took his bed, and went. It was Saturday. Upon seeing him later in the temple, the Lord told him: Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee (John 18, 22). Until then, he had not been aware that Christ had been the one who healed him. Afterwards he went and said that it was Christ. According to a legend, the paralyzed man was a slave, the servant of the one who stuck the Savior at His trial
Miracles indicate the divinity of the Savior. The Lord also gave this power to His followers (Luke 10,19) The Apostle Peter cured the paralytic Aeneas and brought Tabitha back to life
What the Lord said to the paralytic: Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee, this means that the reason for his paralysis was sin. But is this always so? The case with one who was born blind shows that it is not always so; but it is provident when God considers it necessary.
Often sickness is the result of sins; but it is nonetheless provident, and done for our salvation. Death and sickness both came as a result of the original sin. We cannot escape them. But sin is the worst of evils. A sin not repented embitters the soul and weakens it, as we learn from the kontakion: 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.
We need to fear this paralysis more than anything. Sicknesses, although they are physical defects, and in this sense bad things, have in God's hands nonetheless a provident meaning, restraining people from sinning in the future. Sometimes God even allows the righteous to fall ill—for example, Job the Long Suffering—for the edification of impatient people.
Thus, we need most of all to fear sin, because sin is the evil responsible not only for our physical ailments and suffering here on earth, but for eternal sufferings after death. Let us flee to our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, so that He will cleanse our souls from sins and heal us of our spiritual paralysis to make it easier for us to follow the path of salvation. May the Lord help us in this.