Friday, July 27, 2018

In the Marketplace

After these things there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
 Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes.  In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, [waiting for the moving of the waters; for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.] 
 A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.  When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He *said to him, “Do you wish to get well?” 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.”  Jesus *said to him, Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk.
John 5:1-9 (NASB)

  So often we think of the church as a place of healing but here in this passage we find that God had a special place that He would send down mercy, and it was in the Marketplace. It was in a place where people were coming and going about their daily business.

Our prayer should always be wherever we go, that in the marketplaces our eyes would be open to the maladies around us.

Blindness can be a physical condition but it can also be a spiritual affliction.
Jesus said in His word to, "Ask for eye salve that your eyes might be opened up."

There are maladies that we cannot always see with our physical eyes.

Sometimes there are abrasive people in our lives who can be so difficult and we wonder why we have to deal with them.
Well, if you knew the story of their life and could see them as emotionally crippled in an area of their life, would you have compassion for them?

If I see someone using a walking cane or a walker dragging their leg, I would not expect them to be able to run a race. Believe me that so often there are emotional sicknesses and spiritual maladies going on in the lives of people. If we could truly see it we would be merciful to them.

 It is easy to say about someone in prison for example, that they are getting what they deserve. I understand they have been separated out because they have a judgement against them, but what was it that brought them to that place? Something I heard someone say years ago, was that you would be a whole lot less likely to make a judgement on someone if you knew their story and where they came from.

I can't tell you how many people I have sat with and as they begin to tell me their story, I think, it makes sense to me. I see it. Things can look perfect but inside there are wounds that just don't get healed overnight.

There are things that people are walking through because God's purpose and intention is to make us whole. The marketplace is the place where God has called us to be aware of those who are afflicted among us.

So often we are afraid to be aware of the hurt and pain going on and choose instead to entertain ourselves. I'm not against entertainment, movies or television, but often it is a distraction to keep us from those in pain and hurting all around us.

Many times God is calling you to be an extension of His grace, kindness and love in those places. Some people have almost given up hope that they will see any kind of good in this life, much less in the next. As we are led by God's Spirit we can lay down our lives as a living sacrifice, allowing Christ to use us as an instrument of His love and peace. It's amazing how a smile or kind words can give someone hope and encouragement to get through another day. Or how a single prayer can move mountains or remove the dark cloud over a person's life.

Lord, give us eyes today, to see the needs around us in the marketplace. Help us be sensitive to your Holy Spirit's direction of how we may be a living sacrifice for your glory. Speak through us and act through us so that we may be conduits of your divine love. In Jesus name, Amen.

But Peter said, "I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene-- walk!"

Acts 3:6 (NASB)

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