Gospel: Jn 5:1-16
After this, there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now, by the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem, there is a pool (called Bethzatha in Hebrew) surrounded by five galleries. In these galleries lay a multitude of sick people: blind, lame and paralyzed.
All were waiting for the water to move, for at times an angel of the Lord would descend into the pool and stir up the water; and the first person to enter the pool, after this movement of the water, would be healed of whatever disease that he had.
There was a man who had been sick for thirty-eight years. Jesus saw him, and because he knew how long this man had been lying there, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?“ And the sick man answered, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is disturbed; so while I am still on my way, another steps down before me.“
Jesus then said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk!“ And at once the man was healed, and he took up his mat and walked.
Now that day happened to be the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had just been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and the Law doesn’t allow you to carry your mat.“ He answered them, “The one who healed me said to me, ‘Take up your mat and walk!’“ They asked him, “Who is the one who said to you: Take up your mat and walk?“ But the sick man had no idea who it was who had cured him, for Jesus had slipped away among the crowd that filled the place.
Afterwards Jesus met him in the temple court and told him, “Now you are well; don’t sin again, lest something worse happen to you.“ And the man went back and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. So the Jews persecuted Jesus because he performed healings like that on the Sabbath.
The Sheep Gate
The temple of Jerusalem had many gates. One of these was known as the Sheep Gate. It was through this gate that the Jews passed through to bring their lamb sacrifices for their sin offerings. Outside of this gate lay the pool of Bethzatha where many sick lay on pallets waiting to be healed. They believed that when the angel stirred the pool the one that goes into the water first would get healed. It was in this area that Jesus worked the 3rd sign.
Again, what is the significance of this miracle? Bethzatha, the name of the pool, is translated “house of mercy.“ The people who gather around the pool are the sick. They all wait to receive some mercy from God. When Jesus cures the paralyzed man, therefore, he extends God’s mercy! Jesus, is the true “angel“ or messenger of God who comes to grant mercy!
This miracle cure happens by the Sheep Gate, however! It also signified that the gift of mercy will be given by the true Sheep Gate, Jesus! It will be the result, too, of the true Lamb of God who will be sacrificed on Good Friday! With this miracle, Jesus tells us that he will grant us mercy by becoming the Lamb of sacrifice! By His wounds we are healed! Praise be the Lord!