The Third Sign



I’m the middle son. I have a brother a year older, and a brother just a couple of years younger. Our folks loved us... but I grew up getting the short end of the stick. For instance, when mom cut her famous chocolate cake, she always gave one of my brothers a piece a little bigger than mine. And, when we got in the car, I got stuck in the middle seat a little too often. It wasn’t fair! Do you feel my pain? I might need a therapist!

In the words of a brilliant philosopher (my mother), “Life’s not fair!”

Look at John’s fifth chapter. It contains Jesus’ third miraculous sign. The sign reads: GRACE.

John says that Jesus appeared at the pool called the House of Grace... Bethesda. This pool was located inside the walls of Jerusalem very near the Sheep Gate, where the sacrificial lambs entered the city.

As Jesus looked around, he saw “a large number of the disabled — blind, lame, and paralyzed.” (John 5:3, CSB) They were brought to the pool because they believed the superstitious claims concerning its healing properties. The pool was spring-fed, and apparently the pool would periodically ripple or gurgle due to the spring’s activities. Anyway, there were a bunch of pitiful people waiting and wanting, all thinking, “If I can get into the pool first, I might, just might, be healed.”

Poor folks! Life ain’t fair.

Jesus surveyed the scene. He could have healed the whole bunch. According to John, Jesus ignored all but one. He picked a guy in the crowd, a shell-of-a-man who had been crippled for thirty-eight years, and asked, “Do you want to get well?”

“Sir,” the disabled man replied, “I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I’m coming, someone goes down ahead of me.” (John 5:7, CSB)

That’s what I said... Life ain’t fair! He couldn’t do anything to heal himself, and he had no one to help him receive healing. He was without hope.

That’s when Jesus said, “Get up. Pick up your bed. March right out of here, healed and whole.”

All around Him, there was a gaggle of needy people watching and thinking, “Life’s not fair.” They watched as the man, crippled for a life-time, rolled up his ratty old mat, and danced out.

Stop and think about this a minute. Jesus picked one... me. He chose me. He pursued me. He convicted me. He put me in the right place at the right time. And He saved me! Me! Not the other guy. Not my neighbor. Not the millions in India, China, Russia... but me.

I need to slow down long enough to remember God’s grace. I get so busy measuring my brother’s chocolate cake that I look past the piece that was freely given to me.

Jesus, the sacrificial lamb, that willingly went to the cross for me, didn’t do it because it was fair. He did it because of grace. Grace! I’m so glad that life’s not fair!

© 2020