The Impotent Man

March 18, 2022

The Impotent Man embedded for 38 years was desperately seeking strength and restoration of his capacity. He was stuck to the ground for probably more than half of his life and his status by the pool of Bethesda describes how the “very sinful sin” can paralyze our inner man who was born of God in His own image. In fact, straying away from our ever-loving and merciful Heavenly Father will cause a state of internal disassembly.

At the pool of Bethesda only one man got healed, the first who stepped in the pool after the Angel stirs up the water. The Angel who comes down into the pool and stirs up the water points at the Incarnate Logos who took the image of a slave in order to redeem us.

The pool represents the baptism, where believers will rebirth and the healing of sins. The number 40 highlights complete righteousness. (10 commandments×4 gospels) However, 38 (age of the paralyzed man) refers to the lack of 2 important aspects in order to reach the fullness of righteousness, namely to love God and to love man. This means that without a true reconciliation between us men through genuine unconditional love, we cannot enjoy God’s salvation, redemption and the Holy Sacraments; i.e., love is essentially required to complement the reconciliation and peace made between God the Father and the human beings through the precious blood of His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. This reminds us of Saint John the apostle’s words inspired by the Holy Spirit: “Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother”. (1 John 3:10)

Our soul will be living according to the deeds of the body not the spirit who supposedly should be guided by the Spirit of God. Therefore, the crippled man could be referred to as the “disassembled” man (“taken to pieces”) or the “invalid” man. Simply, as the old sin had “undone” the union of man with his Creator rendering him a “disfigured”, a “deformed” and an “invalid” creation who lost the good image of God, sin will always do whenever I choose by my free will to follow the ways of the world. Sin is muddy and “its wage is death”; however, it could be cleansed and even dissolved, and sinners can turn whiter than snow through Jesus’ sanctifying blood.

Lord Jesus said to the “infirm” man who did not know who Christ is, “Do you want to be made well?” This question seems very strange because it is very clear that the man is suffering and that he has been there for a very long time waiting and waiting. However, our Lord will never do anything except after our consent; i.e., God will always preserve our freedom. As a matter of fact, He already kept our freedom since the creation though He knew that this will cost the life of the Incarnate “O Monogenis”: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16). Therefore, we cannot be saved except if we are willing to. (John 5:6)

The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me. Then Lord Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk. At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath.”  (John 5:7-9)

The man’s answer was even stranger because he did not get angry at Jesus Christ, given the fact that he did not know Him beforehand. But on the contrary he responded in peace and faith that he has no one to give him a hand. Nevertheless, when all human arms are not available to help, God’s arm extends powerfully to save, heal and cure.

Glory Be To God Now & Forever, Amen

Source: Saint Mary and Saint Mark Orthodox Church