How does the world identify 21st century churches?
John 5:2 – Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
Our Text for Today comes from a larger passage with which, I am certain, most Christians are at least somewhat familiar. As a minister of the Gospel of Christ, I realize, perhaps more than most folks, the keen importance of words, and in particular NAMES that are given to people and places. Of course, a person’s name is generally chosen immediately after birth, if not before. My mother chose my name years before I was born. Often the Lord has instructed a parent as to the name they were to give their child. Regardless of the manner of choosing a name, they mean something. Abram (father) became Abraham (father of nations). This is clear throughout the Scriptures. Consider the name of the pool in our Text for Today – Bethesda. It means “house of kindness.” Think of that; “house of kindness.”
And what was this “house of kindness?” (1) It was a pool with five porches; (2) a place where an angel was known to come at a certain season to trouble the water; (3) a place where the first person in the water at its troubling was healed; (4) a place where everyone else, including many who had lain there for a long time were NOT healed; (5) a place where the healing of only one on rare occasions drew multitudes of possible recipients; (6) a place of waiting without any guaranteed outcome; (7) a place where only a glimmer of hope held multitudes captive.
Dear one, I intend no critical commentary of any kind toward any church on our planet. I simply want to draw our attention to how much our churches across our globe, in general, have become their own “Pool of Bethesda;” at best, a “house of kindness,” and that likely in name only. How many houses of worship are populated, not by willing worshippers thrilled with the opportunity of experiencing the manifest presence of the Lord, but by people in deep places of need with just enough hope to come week after week with the hope of possibility that something might happen to stir a service where they might be the one who receives that marvelous touch that heals? Sadly, I believe this has become more of a norm for our churches of today than that place where Jesus shows up and “heals them all.” I know I have offered some deep food for thought. Allow the Lord to take you where you need to be in your thinking and action. You may be that person in a crowd who will offer your loaves and fish to the Master Who doesn’t just meet the needs of one, but of EVERYONE. Consider this, and consider your role.
Manna for Today – John 5:1-17
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