The Faith Needed to Receive a Miracle
This morning for my devotional reading I read the story of a crippled man who was laying by the Pool of Bethesda in the Gospel of John, chapter 5. What struck me about the story is that when Jesus comes up to the man he asks him, “Do you want to be healed?, the man does not respond with ‘Yes, Lord, please heal me for I know you can. I believe you have the power to do so for I have heard such wonderful stores about you.’ No, instead he says, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” His response tells us that he had no idea who Jesus was. He had no idea he was talking to the Son of God, the one who walked on water and turned water in to wine. Very likely he was simply hoping Jesus might be willing to place him in the water so that he might be made well by its healing power. (The Jews thought the water in the Pool of Bethesda had healing properties.) But then notice what happens next: “Jesus said to him, ‘Get up, take up your bed, and walk.’ And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.” So how much faith was needed by this man to receive a miracle? —zero. The man not only had no faith in Jesus, he didn’t even know who Jesus was. This should bring us great comfort in knowing that when we pray for God to perform a miracle, to heal our loved one of cancer, to save our children from their sins, to bring our son or daughter serving in the military safely through combat, the answer to our prayers has little to do with our faith and everything to do with God’s mercy and grace. We serve a God who is all-powerful and is rich in mercy and grace and compassion, and it is upon those attributes we should plead our case when asking God for a miracle, and not couch our prayers in how much faith we have. It must be this way so that in the end, like the story of the invalid healed by the pool of Bethesda, God receives all the glory and we receive none.
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