Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

or in renewing the springs of the heart, the earth to the spiritual mind is but a lower heaven.

Though the mystery of the “New Birth” may remain unexplained, yet it is a blessed truth—both birth and life are mysterious.

The discourse with Nicodemus occupies twenty-one verses, and touches upon such subjects as the work of the Holy Spirit, the lifting up of the Son of Man, Faith in the Son of God, Divine Love, Salvation, and Eternal Life. Is there anything suggestive in the circumstance that Nicodemus came to Jesus Christ by night? Oh! the night!

How many troubled doubters and inquirers are weary of its darkness !

Those who come by night should be encouraged. God Himself made the night, as well as the day; the moon as well as the sun.

We know little more of Nicodemus, but what we do know is sufficient. Where do we last find him? We find him at the Cross and standing in the light. He has found his way through the night to the morning, from the miracles to the Cross, a true disciple.

CHAPTER VIII.

THE HEALING POOLS AT BETHESDA.”

a

“Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep-market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.

In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the waters.”—John, v., ch. 2–3.

At what feast of the Jews this special miracle was wrought it is difficult to say; and it is not of very material moment that we should be able to determine. The feast is called feast of the Jews,” that is, it was peculiar to the Jews.

The moment, however, that Jesus touched it by His presence, that moment it was gone; for He was the end of all types; He was the substance of all shadows; and just as the shades of night depart when the sun rises above the horizon, so the feasts and fasts and institutions of the Jews passed away the moment that the Sun of Righteousness shone upon them.

Bethesda, literally translated, means the house of mercy. The place is still traditionally pointed out, and in most books on Palestine a certain pool or deep well is alluded to as the pool of Bethesda; but prominent writers on Biblical research state that it is not positively known where it was. Nor does it much matter. The local is the circumstantial and the transient; the moral and the spiritual lessons of Bethesda endure now and forever.

The pool, it seems, was either miraculously impregnated with medicinal virtue after an angel had stirred it, or it was permanently endued with that virtue, so that every one that stepped into it after it had been stirred by the angel was healed of whatever disease he had.

It appears that at this pool, whether its virtues were permanently healing or temporarily so, there were multitudes of the halt, the lame, and the impotent.

In this crowd that surrounded the pool of Behesda we have a very suggestive fact. It is this: “Men who have lost the health of the body that is day by day falling to dust will go to the ends of the earth, if peradventure they may obtain its recovery; but persons who know they have lost the health of their soul are not as eager to enter the true and lasting Bethesdas, the sanctuaries of God and the houses of prayer, into which not a created angel, but the Angel of the Covenant statedly descends, and heals the broken spirit, binds up the bleeding heart, gives beauty for ashes, and the opening of the eyes of them that are blind. Hence it happens that man needs not to be awakened to a sense of the danger of a bodily disease; but in every case man needs to be awakened to a sense of his spiritual disease.”

One invalid went to the earthly Bethesda who had labored under his disease thirty-eight years—not who had been there thirty-eight years, as some have construed it.

This invalid was despised or jostled aside by the crowds. It is a strange fact, that a certain amount of misfortune does make men sympathize with each other; but when it becomes rapid, terrible, and universal, it creates an intense selfishness in all, so that each is ready to tread down his brother in order to find a rescue and deliverance for himself.

This poor man had been so treated; the greatest sufferer had faced the worst at man's

be so.

hands. On him, however, Jesus cast His eye. The deepest affliction upon earth has ever the readiest response in heaven. Jesus cast the eye of pity, not upon the selfish crowd who had few ailments, but first on the greatest sufferer, and to the sufferer He showed the greatest mercy.

Our Lord, casting His eye upon the sufferer, asked him the question, “ Wilt thou be made whole ?” This seems a superfluous question. Why, there could be no doubt that the poor man would be made whole, for he had come on purpose, and had waited many a weary day to

And yet Christ never spoke a superfluous word, nor did a superfluous deed.

There was a reason in all He said, and a necessity for all He did. And no doubt the question that He put here was meant to quicken hopes that were dead in the poor sufferer's bosom; to revive withered feelings, affections and desires; and to create in the desponding man's soul a presentiment of approaching cure, and cast over it the first rays of that sunshine into which Christ was soon to introduce him. The sick man, roused by this question-and nothing so delights and revives a sufferer as a word of sympathy—instantly answered, “I

« PoprzedniaDalej »