February 10, 2016


Occasionally worshipers will complain about their seating. From their vantage point they can’t hear or see well, the temperature is either too hot or too cold, and the chairs are not as comfortable as those in another location. I once suggested to a friend that she arrive earlier and she could have a seat more to her liking. She said, “But I can’t get around any earlier.” It strikes me that the invalid at the pool at Bethesda might have had a similar thought process. The man had been an invalid for 38 years and Jesus asked him if he wanted to get well. “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me” (John 5:7 NIV). I’m reminded of those in Scripture who would do anything, and risk everything, to be healed…their preparations and perseverance were rewarded — the woman with an issue of blood, the man lowered through the roof and the synagogue ruler Jairus pleading for the life of his child.

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----The Bible doesn’t mention another man of preparation and perseverance, but the earliest church history does. And what can be known today about his city soon thereafter, modern day San Liurfa in far south-eastern Turkey, just a few miles across the Syrian border, confirms that early history. King Abgar II of Edessa had taken ill; most legends say it was leprosy. And as the Gospels were accurate about Jesus’ fame spreading to all regions, Abgar also came to hear of how Jesus was healing all manner of illness. So he wrote Jesus, asking Him to come heal him too. Although the letter Jesus supposedly wrote back bears all the indications of being spurious, it is most probable that Jesus spoke His reply to Abgar’s servant to be carried back verbally. Most likely He told Abgar that He was sent to the children of Israel (same as He told the Canaanite woman,) which became in the legendary letter to Abgar, “…I am too busy here…” He told him He would send someone when He was finished.
-----Although this rich story is attacked by “scholars” (tell me which rich Bible story and other early Christian history is not,) the fact that Edessa is known to be a kingdom dedicated to Christianity before the end of the First Century AD speaks volumes. Something happened. Pagan kings don’t just change religions because, because, because.
-----What strikes me about this story is that not only would Abgar have prepared (he even offered Jesus sanctuary from the Jewish authorities,) but Jesus’ telling Abgar He would soon send someone was itself the beginning of preparation. It is true we need to make preparations for receiving the Lord in all ways, to receive Him actually first, then in receiving knowledge, wisdom, and spiritual understanding thereafter. The bigger preparation, though, has been on the Lord’s part. Immediately after they disobeyed, God was making preparation for the gospel in His responses to Adam, Eve, and the Serpent. World history until the Day of Pentecost was preparation for the gospel, right down to the thousands of miles of Roman roads leading throughout the Mediterranean world. The history thereafter has been preparation for Jesus’ return. In fact, a little bit of reasoning applied to the Word indicates this entire mess of a corrupted existence, complete with Satan’s first deed of rebellion, has all happened in preparation of a quite remarkable and glorious change to God’s eternal kingdom. When I ponder the implications of that possibility, I feel fully prepared to get going there.

Love you all,
Steve Corey