During Holy Week we heard Pontius Pilate, when he had given Christ over to be crucified, say to the people, “Behold the Man,” (John 19.5) and they took and He was crucified, ultimately saving us from death. In this simple phrase, unknowingly Pilate offered each of us a solution and an example. Christ is THE Man, the perfect human example for us to live our life in sacrifice for each the salvation of others, and in total harmony with the will of God. Things are a bit different for us, not because we are incapable of living as God desires, but because we often choose to ‘go it alone’ and try to save ourselves. Ultimately, trying to save ourselves doesn’t work, and we end up lying sick and paralyzed.
Four weeks after having heard Pontius Pilate declare Christ, THE Man, we hear a story of a man paralyzed for thirty-eight years waiting to be healed. According to tradition at certain times during the year, an angel would come down and stir up the waters of the Pool of Bethesda. The first person to climb into the pool, when it was stirred by the angel, was healed by God. So for thirty-eight years the paralyzed man layed there waiting for someone to lift him up and put him into the pool. It never happened. One day, Christ came along and asked the man, “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....and Jesus said, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk.” (John 5.6-8)
In that one moment, Christ revealed to the man that there was a man, THE Man, who was here to lift him up and heal him. Pilate told us during Holy Week that Christ is THE Man, and today we see Him in action, lifting us up and healing us. I say us, because when we read this Gospel WE are the ones who Christ is asking if we want to be healed? WE are the ones lying by the road waiting. WE are the ones trying to ‘go it alone’ in a world that never picks us up to help us.
Christ is much more than just an example of how to live a ‘good life’ on Earth. He is THE Man, the prime example of what it means to be a real human being. Being human, as we know from the Holy Scriptures, is to be created in the image of God, and too often we forget or ignore that image. We forget that God has created us to sacrifice for the salvation of each other and to live a life in communion with Him. As Saint Paul reminds us, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, THE Man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2.3-5)
THE Man, Christ Jesus is physically present with us in the Church at every service. He invites us to come and spend time with Him in Church. He is willing to lift us up and save us. There is no reason for us to ‘go it alone’ and try to save ourselves. He is our savior, but we can no longer just lay there waiting for someone else to come pick us up. We no longer have any excuse that we have ‘no man’ to help us, because we have THE Man to help us.