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“When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’” (John 5:6).

This verse is part of the story of a man who had been crippled for 38 years. He used to lie on a mat by a pool in a town called Bethsaida, waiting for the stirring of the waters, which was a sign to indicate that the first person to get in the pool would get healed. When you are on the ground, though, and you cannot walk, jumping into a pool is not much of an option, is it?

The text tells us that a great number of sick people — the blind, the lame, the paralyzed — used to lie there. Not exactly the most attractive citizens in town, wouldn’t you say? This man’s zip code was close to dung, scraps of food, people’s feet, spit and all sorts of other undesirable things. He was among “the least of these.” No one in their right mind would come anywhere near that group of people. I guarantee you that a trip into town by the elites of the day would be carefully mapped out so as to avoid the place where the undesirables resided. Even from a distance people could hear the cries of those whose sickness had brought them to a point of despair. That was a place of unfulfilled dreams.

And yet we see Jesus placing himself right in the middle of that place. Yes, Jesus was headed to a religious festival in Jerusalem. He had “important” people waiting for Him. He would probably have a place of honor in somebody’s house and enjoy a delicious meal. But before He got there He made a stop at this ominous place. Was this an accident?

I don’t believe so. The story speaks of intentionality. Noticed that Jesus took some time to ask around and find out what the man’s condition was. Not that Jesus needed someone to inform Him about anything, but Jesus wanted the people to know that He cared. He already knew that the man had been paralyzed for 38 years, but He took the time to assess the situation. This speaks volumes about how much Jesus cared about people who were considered the rejects of society. In fact, He had a special place in His heart for them.

When Jesus asked the man if he wanted to be healed, his answer was “I have no one to help me.” Every time I think of those words, they almost bring me to the point of tears. Every day, if we pay attention, we meet people who have no one to help them. But Jesus didn’t just meet this type of people randomly — He intentionally looked for them and made a point of making them whole again.

This Sunday you will hear the phenomenal story of a young lady from Thailand who left a lucrative job and decided to spend time with some of the most despised and rejected people of Northern Thailand — poor minority children who have been physically and sexually abused. Her friends thought she was crazy. Her family didn’t understand why she was doing it after sacrificing and working hard to graduate from college. For her, though, she was only following the footsteps of Jesus. She was obeying a divine mandate, and God has blessed her for her obedience.

If you want to have some background ahead of Sunday, please go to grow-worldwide.com and read the story of Faa Sumitra, one of the founders of G.R.O.W. And by all means, please come Sunday. You will be blessed by this follower of Jesus!

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

G.R.O.W. President

 

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