daily 講道 Sermons

醫治癱瘓38年的病人:神蹟與助人 The 38-years Paralytic: Miracles & Helping Others

John 約翰福音 5:1-15

Miracles and Helping Others 神蹟與助人(中英文)

2013.5. 26 Sermon by Father Jonah

http://www.justin.tv/dao_love/b/408373364

讓我們一起來研讀今天的福音。有一個人患病已經三十八年,這麼長的時間幾乎可以算是一輩子,耶穌在他身上行了奇蹟。耶穌行奇蹟的地方,非常接近耶路撒冷的入口,它的名字是「羊門」。會有這個稱號,是因為當地人會把羊帶到祭壇獻祭。這裡每年都會發生奇蹟,有天使按時下池子攪動池水,水動之後,誰先下去,無論患什麼病就能痊癒。由此可知,上帝的恩典總是透過祂的能量、以不同方式來作用。

耶穌眼前這位病人,看起來真的非常悲慘。現場還有許多病人,有瞎眼的、瘸腿的、血氣枯乾的。耶穌並沒有問這個人「你是否相信我?」或「你是否接受我?」耶穌只問了一個問題:「你要痊癒嗎?」當然,在場的每一位病患都想要痊癒,但是,耶穌為什麼這樣問呢?就心理學的角度來看,往往身體疾病是心理問題的出口,當然這不是一個好的出口。大部分心理疾病之所以難以痊癒,就是病人本身不想康復,他們想要緊緊粘著他的病,即使他們花錢就診,心裡面還是沒有真正想要康復。

讓我們來看看這位病人的回答,他說:「先生,水動的時候,沒有人把我放在池子裡;我正去的時候,就有別人比我先下去。」這個回答打動了我的心,聽起來他真的很悲慘。這位病人沒有直接回答「想要」或是「不想」被治癒,而是說他很孤單,沒有人幫助他。他幾乎帶著病生活了一輩子,他已經接受了自己是孤獨的。當人們說:「沒有人關心我。沒有人讚美我。沒有人願意幫我開一扇門。每個人的人生都充滿了機會,就只有我沒有,沒有人願意給我機會。」這位病人完全沈浸在這樣的情境之中,他相信自己就是那個孤獨又悲慘的人。

儘管,這位病人身在人群中,卻感受到孤獨當中最孤獨的滋味。此人並沒有呼喚耶穌,而是耶穌主動走入他孤獨的世界。就算在極度的孤獨之中,我們還是要記得,有人一直在我們身邊,只要我們看見祂、接受祂,這個人就是耶穌基督。耶穌在十字架上曾經高喊:「父親,為什麼你要遺棄我?」耶穌最貼近那些被遺棄的人的心。他只會親聲地問:「我可以陪著你嗎?」我想,對於人類而言,孤獨是最糟糕的情況之一。地獄裡充滿了孤獨。我知道有些人結婚並不是為了愛,而是害怕老年身邊沒有人陪伴,害怕自己孤獨地死去。(這樣的結合並非不好,上帝曾說,人類在樂園中還是要成對比較好)。有時候,儘管我們身邊有人陪伴,還是覺得非常孤獨,因為我們本身缺乏營造良好關係的能力。我們不該自怨自哎:「沒有人願意找我,沒有人關心我。」而是應該自問:「我關心的是什麼?我有沒有主動關心別人?」如果我們採取主動,自然就會有人接近我們。福音中提到的這位病人,並沒有怨天尤人,也沒有說身邊的那些「壞人」遺棄了他。然而,從心理學的角度來看,我們可以看出,此人對人生已經完全絕望,根本就與死人無異。

生命的意義是什麼?這是許多人的疑問。難道人生就是:早上起床、吃飯、上班、回家、吃飯、睡覺,日復一日,直到死亡來臨的那一天。請留意,我們應該要賦予生命一些意義。我們可以選擇不要活在孤獨之中。我們可以不用自怨自唉地說:「為什麼你不相信我?為什麼你不打電話給我?為什麼你不為我做些事情?」我可以選擇走向你,聆聽你的痛苦,為你祈禱、關心你,或者說一些安慰的話語。這樣做就好像鳥兒破蛋而出,然後自由自在的飛翔。在場的年輕人都應該主動走向別人,而不是等著別人走向你。家母已經過世,當我還住在家裡的時候,我很希望我的母親能夠走出去,因為,她幾乎足不出戶,也沒有朋友。她常說自己是孤單的,因為,她不善於經營人際關係。

出家的僧侶雖然獨居,但是他們並不孤獨。僧侶儘管遠離了人群,他們的心卻在祈禱中與所有人同在。他們總是在為別人祈禱,這就是為什麼我決定成為一名出家僧侶。這位癱瘓的病人,將自己封閉在孤獨、絕望之中,就像是Gabriel Garcia Marquez的文學著作《百年孤寂》(One Hundred Years of Solitude)中描述的景象。耶穌將他從孤獨中解救出來,並且用命令式的口氣對他說:「起來,拿你的褥子走吧!」那人立刻就痊癒了。耶穌要他拿起睡覺用的墊子趕快離去。為什麼耶穌要他拿起褥子呢?讓我們想像一下,病患康復、出院的時候,並不會把醫院的病床或被褥帶回家。這個被褥象徵著他三十八年來的牢獄,耶穌讓自由之流衝破這個牢獄。耶穌治癒一個人的病,也治癒他過去所有傷痛。三十八年的歲月並沒有白費,因為耶穌基督賜下的恩典,豐富了它的價值。它瞬間成為寶貴的經驗,也成為一個活教材。當我們悔改時,耶穌在我們心中作用,我們過去的生命瞬間充滿了偉大的價值。一切都不會白費。

耶穌行了奇蹟之後總是立刻離開,不會留下來邀功或等著別人讚美他。那些法利賽人並不在乎事實的真相,只想在耶穌身上找到錯誤的地方。福音告訴我們,當天是星期六,法利賽人不允許在安息日拿褥子或是做任何事。被治癒的那個人,如果沒有馬上拿著被褥離開,而是高喊:「真是天大的神蹟,感謝上帝,我們的兄弟回復健康了!」這些法利賽人就沒有立場處罰耶穌。甚至,這個被治癒的人還對法利賽人說:「那使我痊癒的,對我說:拿你的褥子走吧。」法利賽人又問他:「對你說拿褥子走的是什麼人?」而不是說「治癒你的是什麼人?」

我們的生活充滿了奇蹟,往往,我們都沒有注意到。今日,最大的奇蹟就是我們把上帝變成這麵包和酒,然後再飲用它們。福音告訴我們,那人被耶穌基督治癒之後,竟然完全不認識耶穌基督。

後來耶穌在殿裡遇見他,耶穌想要再給予他一些靈性上的幫助(耶穌做事總是有始有終,不會半途而廢),直到他的靈性也和身體一樣得到痊癒。耶穌對他說:「你已經痊癒了,不要再犯罪,恐怕你遭遇的更加利害。」可見,這個人獲得新生之後又過著罪惡的生活。耶穌提醒他,如果再繼續下去,他的病恐怕又會復發。

為什麼有人會生病、殘障?為什麼有人會遭遇不幸。這是大家心中共同的疑問。佛教徒常常將這些病痛歸咎於前世身、口、意上不好的行為。這樣的解釋確實很簡單,有時甚至讓人感覺太過簡單。我想,受苦的背後埋藏了許多無法解釋的原因。例如:或許上帝想要磨練你,透過這些苦難來使你堅強。或許上帝讓你得病,是為了防止你犯下嚴重的錯誤,招來更慘的結果。我想,依據每個人不同的狀況,應該有不同的解釋。

約伯記的宗旨是要告訴我們為什麼好人也會受苦。最後,上帝顯現在約伯面前,祂並沒有告訴約伯為什麼,然而,約伯卻感到心滿意足,因為,他得到的答案並非一字一句,而是一種全然的心領神會。上帝像朋友般顯現在他面前、與他對談,就是一個最好的答案。耶穌說:「我就是真理。」我們對於真正的答案總是懷著期待,我們希望得到一些方程式、一些邏輯上的解釋。耶穌告訴我們,「真理」不是方程式,不是一個句子,而是一個人。在遭遇病痛或不幸的時候,我們不需要知道為什麼這些事情會發生在我們身上,重點是,在這些情況下,我們還是要想著,怎麼做才能愛別人、幫助別人。

許多研究文獻顯示,此人的靈魂並沒有完全被治癒。在他與耶穌見面之後,他又去向法利賽人說:「耶穌就是治好我的那個人。」從某個角度來看,我們可以說他在讚美耶穌,然而,從另一個角度來看卻不是。福音的下一章告訴我們,法利賽人說,他們已經知道是誰教人不用遵守安息日的規定,他們一定要找出這位叫做耶穌的人。有一位被耶穌治癒的盲人,他曾經和法利賽人爭辯,並且因此而受到折磨,只因為他說:「不,耶穌基督是個好人。」我想,此人與這位盲人的立場是不同的。

在領受上帝的恩典時,我們也必須懷著謹慎的心,好好想一想,如何珍惜它、利用它、保持它,如何把它分享給身邊的人,因為,萬事萬物充滿了各種可能性。充滿愛與仁慈的生活,就是一種很好的生活方式,它可以治療心中的孤獨。願聖三守護我們每個人。阿門。

John 1:5 After this 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 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. 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.  And that day was the Sabbath. 10 The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.”  11 He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’”  12 Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” 13 But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”  15 The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

Just to say a few things about the gospel today. Here we see this miracle of Jesus Christ for a man who had been paralyzed for 38 years, which means an entire lifetime. It was in a place near the city gate of Jerusalem called the Sheep Gate, where they brought the sheep to be sacrificed at the temple, which is why it had this name. There a miracle happened every year, in which an angel came and stirred the water of a pool, and the first person who entered the pool would be cured of his illness. First of all, we see here something that many of our Christian brothers, especially Protestants, have forgotten, that there are holy places. It is the place, but it is also the angel who came and blessed the water so that someone who entered could become well. So we must understand that the Grace of God works by many different ways. It is God who is working through his energies in places, and by any way. This is why we have holy places, not only in Jerusalem, but also where there are appearances of God or of the Holy Mother, other Saints, or Holy Martyrs or other people who died there giving their blood for Jesus Christ.

But this poor person, he obviously was so miserable. Jesus Christ went there and there were so many people there who were paralyzed on with other diseases and He found this man. He did not ask the man if he believed in Him or accepted him. He asked him only one question, “Do you want to be well, to be healed?” Somebody could ask, what kind of a question is this, is there any sick person who does not want to become well? But actually, if you understand psychology, many times sickness is a solution, not a good solution of course. With most of the psychological diseases, the biggest problem is that the person does not want to be healed, he sticks to his sickness, and even if he pays money to a doctor, he does not really want to be cured.

And there is another reason, which we can see from the answer of the paralyzed person. His answer was so miserable, it really touches your heart. He did not say whether he wanted to be cured or not; he said, “I don’t have anybody, so when the angel comes and the water is moving I don’t have anybody to help me and somebody else jumps in before me. I don’t have anybody.” He was living and he had accepted the loneliness. And I say, and I understand all of us when we say, “I don’t have anybody. I don’t have anybody to say a good word for me, to open a door for me, to give me a chance in life that others have because they know people who can help them.” This person had accepted that, and he had surrendered to the loneliness.

But He who is closer than ourselves, he came to the most lonely of the lonely there. That person did not call Jesus Christ, but Jesus came to his loneliness. And we must remember that in our ultimate solitude, the more we are in solitude, somebody is so close to us and we must see Him and accept Him, and this person is Jesus Christ. On the Cross, he said, “Father, why did you abandon me?” He is the closest to all those who are abandoned by everybody. So, we must know that the more we are abandoned, the more Jesus is there. He is only asking, “Do you want me?”

This loneliness is, I think, one of the most terrible things in the human condition. Hell is loneliness, and many people are getting married, not because they really love one another, but because they are afraid of getting old and dying alone. (This type of marriage is not necessarily bad because God said that in Paradise it is not good for human beings to be alone.) But we must understand that we can be with others and still be alone because we lack the ability to create relationships. We must ask ourselves, this is not something that we say, “Oh, nobody is coming to me nobody is caring for me.” It is what we care for: if we start caring for others, then relationships will come. This person did not complain, that the others were bad and had abandoned him, he did not say this. But psychologically he was almost a dead person.

We must understand the meaning of life. Many people say, “What is the meaning of my life?” I wake up in the morning, eat, go to my job, come back and eat and sleep: every day the same until death comes.” But we must understand that we give the meaning to life. It is not to question what is the meaning of life, but I give meaning to my life. I can choose not to live in my loneliness, not to say, “Why don’t you believe me? Why didn’t you call me? Why didn’t you do anything for me?” But I choose to come to you and to listen to your pain and to try to help you a little bit by my words by my prayers, and to care. When I do this, I break the shell like a bird breaks the egg shell so he can come out and fly. Be careful, you young people here, don’t wait for the others, you go to the others. When I lived in a family, though my mother has now passed away, I used to accuse her that she never went out and she had no friends and she was saying how she was alone. She was alone because she was not going to create relationships.

So we must understand something: for example a monk lives alone, but he is not alone. What is the definition of the monk: he who is separated from everybody and at the same time he is united with everybody by his prayers. He becomes a monk to pray for others: that is why he becomes a monk. So this paralyzed person, who was enclosed in his solitude, in his despair, maybe like Marquez in One Hundred Years of Solitude describes with literature. Jesus liberated him. And Jesus said to him, he ordered him to take this pallet – something like a mattress that he had to sleep on – take it and walk, leave, go home. Why did Jesus tell him to take it? If you are sick in the hospital, you don’t take your bed with you if you leave. But this mattress was his prison for 38 years, and when Jesus cures, He cures our past also. So his prison now became like a flood of his freedom. Those 38 years were not lost years, by the Grace of Jesus Christ; they were years that suddenly became experience, became teaching for others, like a flood, I say come here I can also teach you, it has a meaning. When we repent and when Jesus is working in us, all of our past takes value, a very great value. Nothing is wasted.

But bad people always misunderstand. Jesus did the miracle and then disappeared from there at once. He did not want praise and for people to say, “Thank you. You do miracles.” It was the opposite of what many people do today. The bad people, the Pharisees, those who did not care about the reality, but tried to find mistakes, they try to find the mistake at once: It was Saturday, and the man was carrying a mattress. So instead of glorifying God and saying, “What a great miracle happened. Thank you God, our brother is healthy,” which would be the normal reaction; instead, since they could not punish him because they knew it would be excessive to punish Him, so they just said the man should not be doing this, should not be working on Saturdays.

But this person who had been paralyzed, was not a careful person and he said, “He who cured me told me to do this.” The Pharisees asked him who had told him to carry the mattress, they did not ask him who cured him. I say this because many times there are so many miracles that happen in our lives and we don’t pay attention to these miracles. The biggest miracle today is that we made God to become this bread and wine, and then we ate it. What more could you want than this? I say this to you so we can understand that we must pay attention to the miracle, and not to say that the miracle has some aspects that were not so good, maybe that I wanted money and I did not want the Communion. But this person who had been cured did not know Jesus Christ.

Then, another day he went to the Temple to pray and Jesus came to him because when Jesus starts something, he completes it, He does not leave it halfway. Jesus wanted to give him spiritual help, so he could be completely cured. So Jesus told him to be careful now, do not sin again because maybe something worse will happen to you. This shows that the person continued to sin, though we do not know what kind of sin. But Jesus told the man that something worse could happen to him, which means that his disease was because of some sins.

Many people ask me why somebody is sick or disabled or has something bad happen to him. The Buddhists have an easy explanation: you suffer because in a previous life you were bad and so now you pay. Of course, this explanation is very simple, even simplistic, because there are many other reasons that someone can suffer. For example, maybe God wants to train you, and to make you stronger through these difficulties. Maybe God is giving you a disease to protect you from doing something even worse. We cannot give such a simple reason since it is different in every case.

In the Book of Job the big problem is why do good people suffer. At the end, when God appears to Job, He does not give him a specific answer to the question why such a good person has suffered. But Job is satisfied because the answer is not a sentence, this because of that, as in mathematics. The answer was in the presence of God to Job and talking like friends. When Jesus says “I am the truth,” We have some expectations for what truth is like, some equation, some logic like the world is hearing these questions. But Jesus is saying that the truth is a person, not an equation, not a sentence. The important thing is not to know why something is happening to us, but what to do under these circumstances, to help others even if we are sick ourselves.

But from all the commentaries that I researched, it seems this person was not really completely cured in his soul because later he went to the Pharisees and said, “Jesus is the one who made me well.” From one point of view somebody could say that the man was praising Jesus. But in the next paragraph of the Gospel after the ones that I read today, it says that from this day on the Pharisees said they knew who it was who was teaching others not to keep the Sabbath, and they were searching to find Jesus. So it is not like the blind person that we will see two weeks from now, who quarreled with the Pharisees, suffered and was punished because he said, “No, Jesus is good.”

So for this is for all of us, to remind us to be careful when we receive the Grace of God, how to use it and how to keep the Grace of God, giving it to the others because nothing is for sure. Love the others and this is the way of life and the cure for loneliness. May the Holy Trinity protect all of us. Amen

Topics

聖禮儀 Liturgy :每週日 上午 10:30~12:00  Sunday 10:30 am~12:00 am 您若想進一步了解正教會,或欲受洗,聯絡方式:church@orthodox.tw 或來電 02-82189009 與我們聯絡,感謝您!