“It was one of our school’s worst losing streaks.“
The college tour guide was shaking his head as he surveyed our group of prospective students with their parents. We were standing in front of a bronze statue of a revered football coach who led the college to numerous national championships. After he passed away, the school honored him with this statue and after its completion, eagerly looked forward to more national championships, inspired by this heroic statue. Unexpectedly, the school entered several years of consecutive losing seasons. Everyone was dismayed and searched for an explanation.
Our tour guide directed our attention to another part of the garden. Emerging from the foliage was another statue, a beautiful woman, almost angelic in appearance. Pointing at the statue, our guide instructed us. “Look at the statue of the woman. It is in a direct line of sight with the coach. Some students were concerned the coach was being distracted from watching over our football team and that’s why we were losing. One day, before our first football game of the season, they placed a blindfold over the eyes of the statue of our beloved coach. This way, the coach couldn’t gaze at the statue of the young angel across the garden and be distracted.” The tour guide was now grinning. “Well, you all know what happened. We began one of our longest winning streaks in the history of our school!” Chuckles erupted from the group. “Now, before every football game, a blindfold is placed over the eyes of the coach so he won’t be distracted and he can focus on helping his school win!”
Every college and university has unique stories and traditions. I love listening and learning about these historical windows into our great educational institutions. It is a direct emotional connection to the past, beyond the academic and athletic accolades that can readily be found by researching a school’s website or publications. It places a human face on the structures and campuses.
The Bible is replete with fascinating stories that were undoubtedly passed down through generations of believers. Like the amusing story of the statue of the coach, we may smile and wonder if there is any truth to this seeming coincidence of events. Is this a supernatural occurrence or merely an amusing coincidence?
Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.
John 5:2-4 (NKJV)
In this passage from the Gospel of John, a tradition of unknown origin had emerged from those attending the pool at Bethesda. Many were there at the pool that day, including one man, sick for thirty-eight years. He had seemingly missed his opportunity to be healed, but an even greater miracle was about to happen.
Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made 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, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.
John 5:5-9 (NKJV)
While there may be doubt over the authenticity of past healings at the pool of Bethesda, there can be no doubt over what happened when Jesus appeared. He healed a paralytic who then witnessed to all who knew him about his miraculous rebirth. This was no amusing coincidence, merely being in the right place at the right time. This was a supernatural intervention by the God of this universe! This man was miraculously healed by Jesus.
Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.
John 5:14-15 (ESV)
Jesus Christ entered into the lore of the day and created His own Truth. He showed us that by confessing and repenting of our sins, we will be redeemed and saved. We will be made well and whole through the power of His resurrection.
Jesus Christ is no lore. He is the Eternal Truth!
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.