daily 講道 Sermons

醫治癱瘓38年的病人 The 38-years Paralytic

 

當我們處於艱難之中,無人伸出援手,孤單落寞之時,神對我們說:「在你的孤單之中,我為你而來。」

 

【 主日讀經 約翰福音5:1~15 】

 

這事以後,到了猶太人的一個節期,耶穌就上耶路撒冷去。在耶路撒冷,靠近羊門有一個池子,希伯來話叫做畢士大,旁邊有五個廊子;裡面躺著瞎眼的、瘸腿的、血氣枯乾的許多病人。(有古卷在此有:等候水動;因為有天使按時下池子攪動那水,水動之後,誰先下去,無論害什麼病就痊癒了。)

 

在那裡有一個人,病了三十八年。耶穌看見他躺著,知道他病了許久,就問他說:你要痊癒嗎?病人回答說: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。耶穌對他說:起來,拿你的褥子走吧!那人立刻痊癒,就拿起褥子來走了。

 

那天是安息日,所以猶太人對那醫好的人說:今天是安息日,你拿褥子是不可的。

他卻回答說:那使我痊癒的,對我說:拿你的褥子走吧。他們問他說:對你說拿褥子走的是什麼人?那醫好的人不知道是誰;因為那裡的人多,耶穌已經躲開了。後來耶穌在殿裡遇見他,對他說:你已經痊癒了,不要再犯罪,恐怕你遭遇的更加利害。那人就去告訴猶太人,使他痊癒的是耶穌。

 

 

【 東正教 李亮神父 講道 】

 

關於今天的福音書,是一位癱瘓病人得到醫治的奇蹟。其中細節意味深長,我們一步一步地來了解。

 

首先,我們有時會看到神使用「物質」來醫治。並非每一次,但這次是「水」,醫治了進入水池的人。神的恩典也臨在其他神聖之處,並使許多人得到醫治或受到安慰。這樣的地方對教會來說,是非常自然的。從這個角度來看,我們可以明白,當神的恩典通過「物質」運作時,恩典就在其中。

 

但是,這水池帶來的只是小小的醫治,每年也只發生一次,人們需要浸入水池才能療癒。許多人等待著奇蹟,但是他們卻不曉得真正的奇蹟就是耶穌基督,因為他們不認識他。耶穌看見了癱子,耶穌心中比任何人都明白癱子的痛苦,他已經躺在那裡30多年了。所以耶穌走向癱子,而不是別人。當然,我們不知道究竟為何耶穌選擇他而不是別人,但其中必有意義。我們可以說,38年來,這癱子一直在等待,卻沒有任何人幫助他。當沒有任何人伸出援手時,神就來到。

 

耶穌問癱子一個十分奇怪的問題,祂沒有問癱子是否相信祂(或其他類似的問題),耶穌只問了一件簡單的事:「你要痊癒嗎?」有人可能會很驚訝,耶穌怎麼會問一個受病痛折磨的人是否想要痊癒呢?但是從現代心理學和現代醫學的角度來看,人們雖然付錢給醫生,但心底卻不想要治癒疾病。特別是在心理方面,會產生很強的防禦和抵抗。病人實際上不想被治癒,而醫生最艱難的任務,就是克服病人心中的防禦和抵抗,唯有如此,療癒才會開始。

 

我們不知道癱子的心中隱藏著什麼,使他膠著在那兒30多年。癱子沒有給耶穌明確的回答,他沒有說我想得醫治(當然他是想要的)。但是,我們可以聽到他的哭喊:「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」。「沒有人……」,這句哭喊,如同刀插在癱子的心上,無比痛楚。為什麼沒有人願意幫忙他呢?其中可能也隱藏著導致疾病的原因。

 

他的家人也許全都過世了,但他為何沒有朋友呢?這樣的孤獨,有時是因為人格上的疾病,有時是因為面臨極大的試探,有時則是邪惡的人們憎恨良善的人。如同聖經舊約中,出賣約瑟的不是朋友,而是自己的親兄弟。他們把約瑟賣了,讓他變成奴隸,徹底遺棄了他。我們也看到,無可指謫的義人約伯,在他貧病交迫之時,人們不但沒有幫助他,甚至控訴指責他。

 

明顯地,疾病和「社會性」(sociality)是有關聯的。實際上,「社會性」可以帶來療癒。但有些人的疾病,就在於他們在自己和他人之間,築了一道牆,將自己的疾病隱藏在對別人的控訴之下。這是非常大的疾病,也是非常大的罪惡。

 

所以請記住,基督教對於「社會性」的理解非常深刻。教會歡慶的就是「社會性」,教會的希臘原文是“ecclesia”,我不知道相對應的中文概念,但它意味著人們一同相聚,這就是最重要的事。沒有人可以獨自走向神,信仰不是「我和神」的關係,而是「我們和神」的關係。正因為我們同在一起,神讓麵包與酒,成為耶穌基督的聖體與寶血。

 

癱子是痛苦的,他主要的問題其實是社會關係,而不是身體障礙。他在社會關係方面的問題,可能是自己造成的,也可能是控訴他的人造成的。但是,請謹記,如果每個人只是為了自己來到教會,不和任何弟兄姊妹交談,而且在心中憎恨他人,教會是無法臨在的,這不是教會。昨天下午的晚禱唱道:「你說你沒有任何人。但我是神,我為了你,而成為人。」

 

因此,耶穌基督走向癱子,祂靠近癱子,恢復了他的社會性。耶穌沒有叫癱子浸入池裡,因為沒有必要,耶穌就是真正的醫治者。為了完全的醫治,也為了使每個人都明白,耶穌告訴癱子:「起來,拿你的褥子走吧!」許多時候,耶穌會使一個人的痛苦轉變為醫治的工具。38年來,癱子所躺的褥子等於是他的監獄,耶穌基督卻把這監獄轉變為勝利的旗幟。因此,這人歡欣鼓舞地回家了。

 

我們可以明白,這38年的痛苦是有意義的。什麼意義?這些年的痛苦是值得的,因為他終於遇見耶穌基督。我請問各位,你們當中是否有人願意犧牲38年的時間,只為了遇見耶穌基督,而且只遇見這麼一次?也許有人會回答:「不只38年,即使一輩子我也願意!」但是我們沒有必要這麼做,因為在聖餐禮中,我們就能遇見耶穌,就是那位醫治了癱子的耶穌。請記得,我們不需要受苦多年,因為耶穌就在聖餐禮中,我們可以看見祂,我們可以敬拜祂,就像當今許多東正教信徒所做的那樣。

 

我不知說過多少次,如果要把聖餐貼上價格標籤,請問耶穌基督的聖體值多少錢?或者,如果我餵養每個人的,不是耶穌基督的聖體,而是一顆顆的鑽石,你知道教堂會發生什麼事嗎?我們會需要警察來維持秩序,因為人潮會從教堂門口一直排隊到小碧潭捷運站。數以千計的人,只想得到鑽石,即使鑽石遠遠比不上無價的聖體。從這一點就可以看出,對於聖餐,人們其實毫不在乎。

 

當法利賽人看到復原的癱子舉起他的褥子行走,他們驚訝不已。首先,我們必須留意一些奇怪的事,復原的癱子沒有對醫好他的耶穌說任何一句感謝的話,這很奇怪。接著,耶穌隱匿到人群之中。癱子沒有表達感謝,這不是好預兆。當法利賽人看見癱子時,他們質問癱子:「難道你不知道,在安息日當天搬運東西是有罪的嗎?」法利賽人雖然看見癱子得到醫治,但是他們一點也不高興。他們眼裡只看到癱子違背了一條小小的律法:在安息日搬運東西。

 

其實有一個清單,載明安息日不能做的39件事。猶太人數算一切,這卻成為他們的悲劇。癱子的情況不是非黑即白的,因為癱子並不是像搬家那樣,把全部家當從一個房子搬到另一個房子。況且,癱子得到醫治是一件如此獨特的神蹟。癱子對法利賽人說:「那使我痊癒的,對我說:拿你的褥子走吧。」他這麼說,是為了避免受到法利賽人的責備。他們的對話延伸到另一個層面,法利賽人問:「對你說拿褥子走的是什麼人?」癱子說他不知道,因為耶穌在行神蹟之後就消失了。

 

從這個角度,我們可以看到,人們並不關心癱子復原的奇蹟。但如果水池開始攪動,有人浸入其中並得到醫治,人們卻會把這當成一個偉大的神蹟。我們再次看到,人們如何扭曲一切、濫用一切、誤解一切。

 

過了一會兒,耶穌再次找到癱子,並且告訴他不要繼續犯罪,因為如果他繼續犯罪,那他可能會發生不好的事。耶穌來找癱子是件好事,因為耶穌告訴他,他的疾病是出於他過去持續所犯的罪惡。我們不知道這個癱子的罪過是什麼,福音書也並不是說每件壞事或疾病都與罪有關,但是某些疾病可能是因為罪過導致。

 

但癱子似乎真的是個罪人。我們怎麼知道呢?當癱子得到醫治時,我們沒有看見,就像其他福音書記載的奇蹟,痊癒的人跪倒在耶穌腳下說:「謝謝我主!」等等,癱子一句話也沒有說。但是癱子復原之後,卻立刻跑去告訴法利賽人:「你們問我是誰叫我拿起褥子來、是誰治好了我。現在我知道了,那就是耶穌。」他背叛了耶穌、出賣了耶穌,只因為他想被社會接受。如果我們繼續閱讀福音書,我們將會看到,從那時起,法利賽人就在計謀如何對付違背律法的耶穌。耶穌之前曾經告訴癱子,他可能會發生更不好的事,這更不好的是什麼?福音書沒有寫明,但我們看到,他已經背叛了耶穌。

 

最後我想談論的,是關於濫用信仰。將我們與神的關係,變成一套規定,是非常容易的。不幸的是,許多東正教信徒就認為教會是一套規定,特別是關於歌唱方式或教會程序的某些細節,例如:怎麼做復活節紅蛋。這其實與復活節無關,但人們卻固守某些細節,最終失去耶穌基督。我們應該明白,我們不應該輕率地指責法利賽人,因為我們自己也讓教會變成一套規定。我剛來台灣的時候,一些東正教信徒問:「這算教堂嗎?燭台在哪?穹頂在哪?這根本不是教堂嘛!」他們不明白這些東西不是教會,教會是神的恩典,透過主教和神父代代相傳。

 

這座祭壇,可以是任何一種桌子,只要我們舉行的是符合法典的聖餐禮,這也就是為何我能在某些信徒家中舉行聖餐禮。這樣的聖餐禮符合教會法典嗎?當然符合。舉行聖餐禮時,我們儘可能完整地誦讀所有祈禱文,但是如果你在監獄裡,或者其他緊急狀況,當然就無法吟唱聖詩,也只能讀誦某些最重要的祈禱文。所以,再次強調,我們不應該像法利賽人一樣,那麼容易誤入歧途,誤以為教會就是一套法律規定、一套國族慣例。

 

我們都應謹記,當我們處於艱難之中,無人伸出援手,孤單落寞之時,神對我們說:「在你的孤單之中,我為你而來。」

 

願至聖聖三一保守我們每一個人。

 

阿門。

 

我們繼續舉行聖餐禮。

 

 

東正教 App 繁體中文版 Traditional Chinese


 

东正教 App 简体中文版 Simplified Chinese

promote-all-large simplified Chinese

 

John 5:1-15

At that time, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Bethesda which has five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water; for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and troubled the water; whoever stepped in first after the troubling of the water was healed of whatever disease he had. One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your pallet, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked.

Now that day was the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured, “It is the Sabbath, it is not lawful for you to carry your pallet.” But he answered them, “The man who healed me said to me, ‘Take up your pallet, and walk.’ “They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your pallet, and walk’?” Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.

 

Sermon by Fr. Jonah

Just to say a few things about the Gospel for today. Today is the miracle of the healing of the paralyzed person. Some of the details of the Gospel are very interesting and we could look at them one by one.

First, we see sometimes that God can be using using things to heal. So water this time, not every time but sometimes, was healing the people who entered it. And we also have other holy places where the Grace of God is present and many people are healed or find some comfort, so it is a very natural thing for the Church to have this kind of place. And from this point of view we can understand that when the Grace of God is operating through things, it is in these things.

But you see, this was just a small healing and it happened only once a year, and somebody would need to enter inside in order to be healed. This time there were many people there, waiting for the miracle, but they were unaware that the real miracle was Jesus Christ since they did not know Him. Jesus saw, better than anyone else, this person who had been there for many years, and so He went to that person, not the others. Of course we don’t know why Jesus chose him instead of the others, but there is a meaning there. We can say that for his whole lifetime of thirty-eight years, this person had been waiting and he could not find any help from anyone. And when there is no help from any person, God goes there.

Jesus then asks this person a very strange question. He does not ask if this person believes or other things like that, He asks only one simple thing: “Do you want to be healed?” Some people could be surprised that when He was asking a sick person He would need to ask the person if he wanted to be healed. But we see from modern psychology and modern medicine that in practice, people may pay money to their doctors but they don’t really want to be healed of their disease. Especially with psychological conditions, and there can be a very big resistance to healing. The person actually does not want to be healed, and the hardest task for the doctor can be to overcome the resistance from this person who does not want to be healed, and only after this can the healing begin.

We don’t know what hidden things were in the mind of this paralyzed person, holding him there. This person doesn’t give Jesus a clear answer, saying that he wants to be healed; he does not say this, although of course he does want it. But we can hear his cry for help, that “I am here and I don’t have anyone to put me inside.” The words “I don’t have anyone,” are so painful, like a knife, a cry of pain from this person. It is probably also the reason for his disease, why he has no one to help.

It is possible that his family are all dead. But how could he have no friends? We can see that this loneliness can sometimes arise because a person has a problem with his character, sometimes because there is a very big temptation, sometimes because the others are bad and they hate a good person. You can see in the Old Testament that Joseph, who was sold by his brothers, not friends but his own brothers sold him as a slave and abandoned him. And we see that with Job, who was such a good person, when he was sick the others went to accuse him, not to help him.

But it is clear that disease and problems with sociality are connected, and that actually sociality can be the healing. There are sick people whose sickness is that they have built a wall between themselves and the others, hiding their own sickness in the accusation of others. And this is a very big sickness and sin together.

So remember that Christianity speaks very deeply about sociality. The Church is the celebration of sociality. The Greek word for the Church is ecclesia, though I don’t know how to translate it into Chinese concepts, but it means a gathering of people together, and this is the most important thing. And nobody can go alone to God: it is not a situation of “me and God;” it is “we and God.” And because we are together here, this is why God can come to become the Body of Jesus Christ.

So this person was suffering, and his main problem was with sociality, not with his physical handicap. He may have cause this to himself, or others accused him for some reasons. But remember, the Church cannot be present if everybody comes only for his own reasons, he does not talk to his brothers and, instead, hates them in his heart. This would be no Church. There is a psalm for the celebration of vespers yesterday afternoon that says “You say that you don’t have anyone. But I am God and I became human for you.”

So, Jesus Christ found this person and he became a person close to him, restoring his sociality. Jesus does not tell him to go to the pool because there is no need for that; Jesus is the real healer. And for the healing to be perfect and for everybody to understand it, this is why Jesus tells him, “Rise, take what you were lying on and go home.” Many times Jesus is using the instrument of a person’s pain, and in this case that had be going on for thirty-eight years the person’s small bed was his prison. And Jesus Christ is changing this prison to a victorious flag, so this person held it high and went home, so happily.

We can see that the thirty-eight years of suffering then had a meaning. What was the meaning? It was that it was worthy because finally he met Jesus Christ. I could ask any one of you, would you be willing to sacrifice thirty-eight years of your life just to meet Jesus Christ, and only once? Someone could answer, “Not only thirty-eight years, but all my life!” But there is no need for us to do this since we meet Jesus in the Eucharist. We meet the same Jesus who cured this person. So remember this: we don’t have now to suffer years, Jesus is here and we can see Him and pay attention to Him, as many Orthodox today do.

How many times have I told you that if I put a price on the Holy Communion that you would have to pay, what would be the cost for the Body of Jesus Christ? Or if, instead if the Body of Jesus Christ, I was giving a diamond to each one of you, if instead of putting the Body of Jesus Christ into your mouths I was putting a diamond into your hands, do you know what would happen here? The police would be putting people in line from here to the Xiaobitan Metro station because there would be thousands of people would want to get this thing that was so much less valuable. But you see now that people don’t care.

So, the Pharisees and others saw the man walking with his pallet, and they were very surprised. And we should first note something very strange here, that this person did not say any word of thanks to the person who cured him. This is very strange, and Jesus then left concealing himself within the crowd of people. But that the person did not say thank you is not a good sign. And when the Pharisees saw him they asked, didn’t he know that it was a sin to carry something on the Sabbath day. Of course, the Pharisees knew that this person had been healed, but they were not happy about that. They saw only a small infraction of the Law in moving his pallet.

Actually there was a list of thirty-nine tasks that you could not do on the Sabbath. The Jews were counting everything, and this was their tragedy. But this case was not so clear since it was not like the person was moving his things from one house to another; it was a very unique thing. And this person told them not to accuse him since it was the person who had cured him who told him to do that. Then the Pharisee continues and the conversation continues on another level, with the Pharisee asking, “Who is the person who made you well?” And the person said he didn’t know, since Jesus had disappeared after the miracle.

From this point of view, we can see that people are not caring about the miracle that had happened to the paralyzed person, although if the waters had started to move and a person entered them and was cured, they would care about that as a great miracle. So we see again how people can distort everything, misuse everything, misunderstand everything.

Jesus then appears to this person again, finding him after some time, and He told the person not to continue to sin because if he did continue to sin, then something bad could happen to him. So Jesus appears to this person, which is a good thing, and tells him that the reason for his problem was some sin he had committed, and he had continued to do. We do not know what this sin was, and the Gospel does not say that every evil or disease had some sin as its cause, though some diseases may be because of some sin.

But it seems this person was truly a sinner. And how do we know this? When Jesus tells the person that He had cured him, we do not see, as in other Gospel stories of other miracles things such as the cured person falling to Jesus feet and saying, “Thank you my Lord,” and other things. There is nothing. But we can see that this person immediately runs to the Pharisees and tells them, “You asked me who made me well and told me to move my bed. Now I know: it was Jesus.” So he went and betrayed Jesus to the Pharisees because he wanted to be accepted by society. And if we continue to read the Gospel beyond what was read today, we can see that it was from this time that the Pharisees were considering that Jesus was breaking the Law. Jesus had told this person that something worse could happen to him, and what was this worse thing? The Gospel does not tell us, but we can see that he betrayed Jesus.

The last thing that I will say to you is about the misuse of religion. It is very easy to make our relationship with God into a set of regulations. Unfortunately, many Orthodox people think that the Church is a set of regulations, especially in things like the way of singing or some of the procedures of the Church. For example, making red eggs on Easter. That really has no connection with Easter. But people can insist on preserving some details and end up losing Jesus Christ. We should understand that we should not so easily accuse the Pharisees because it is very for us to make our own Church into a set of regulations. I have heard in the past, when I had just come to Taiwan, some Orthodox people asking, “What is this church? Where do you put the candles?” Or, “Where are the covers? This is not a church.” And they didn’t understand that these things, the candles and so on, are not the Church. The Church is the continuation of the Grace of God through the bishop and the priest.

This altar table, can be any table where we do the canonical Liturgy. This is why I have done Liturgy for some of you in your houses. Is that not a canonical Liturgy? Of course it is. And to say as much of the text as you can if, for example you were in prison, with no singing but just the text of the Church. So, once more I say we should not be like the Pharisees because it is very easy to be that way and to think the Church is a set of rules and a set of national habits.

And all of us should remember that, when we are in difficult times and feel that we have no one and are all alone, God says to us, “I come for you in your loneliness.” So we can continue with the Liturgy at this point.

 

(Transcript by Professor Timothy Baker)

 

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