BETA

The healing blessings at Bethesda's pool

  • Blessed the sick
  • Caused lame to walk, blind to see, deaf to hear

President Thomas S. Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency, spoke in his conference address Saturday morning of having recently visited London's National Gallery of Art. There, he and his wife, Frances, saw a 17th century painting, "Christ Healing the Paralytic at the Pool of Bethesda."

He said that as he viewed the painting his thoughts carried him back through time and he could visualize the crippled man beside the healing waters of the pool of Bethesda to whom Jesus said, "Rise, take up thy bed, and walk," beside the healing waters of the pool of Bethesda." (See John 5:2-9.)

"I have thought since of the majesty of the Master's command, the tenderness of His heart and the incredible joy His act brought to the afflicted man," said President Monson. He spoke of the question posed by Pontius Pilate: " `What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?" (Matt. 27:22.)

"The question each of us must answer is the same: What shall I do with Jesus?' He Himself has provided us the answer:Follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.' " (2 Ne. 31:12.)

President Monson said that for generations enlightened mankind in the Old and New World looked for the fulfillment of prophecies of the Lord's birth and mortal mission. He quoted from Luke 2 the record of Jesus' birth and then remarked: "Born in a stable, cradled in a manger, He came forth from Heaven to live on earth as mortal man and to establish the kingdom of God. His glorious gospel reshaped the thinking of the world. He blessed the sick; He caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear. He even raised the dead to life. He provided for you and me the greatest gift we shall ever receive: the Atonement and all that it conveys. He willingly died that we might forever live.

"From time to time the question has been posed, If Jesus appeared to you today, what questions would you ask of Him?' My answer has always been,I would not utter a word. I would listen to Him.'

"Down through the generations, the message from Jesus has been the same. To Peter by the shores of beautiful Galilee, He said, Follow me.' To the Levite who sat at receipt of customs came the instruction,Follow me.' (See Matt. 4:19; John 1:43; Luke 5:27.) And to you and to me, if we but listen, shall come that same beckoning invitation, `Follow me.'

" Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.' Have we? Of Him it was said that Hewent about doing good.' Do we? (See Acts 10:38; Luke 2:52.)

"His beloved apostles noted well His example. He lived, `not to be ministered unto, but to minister' (Matt.20:28); not to receive, but to give; not to save His life, but to pour it out for others."

President Monson related the New Testament account of the man lame from birth who asked alms of Peter and John. The man followed Peter's direct instruction, "Look on us" (Acts 3:4), and Peter said, "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up; . . . He . . . stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple." (Acts. 3:6-8.)

Not all abided by the Master's direction, President Monson noted. He quoted Mark 10:17-22, which tells of the man who was told to sell what he had and give to the poor in order to obtain treasure in heaven. He was "grieved: for he had great possessions."

President Monson read from a letter a young man wrote about his father's unwavering faith despite an illness that left him a weak and crippled middle-aged man. In the letter, the son wrote: "How I long to take him back in time to the Pool of Bethesda and to ask our Master if He would please have mercy on us, so that my father, also, could take up his bed and walk."

President Monson said: "Let us remember that it was not the waters of Bethesda's pool which healed the impotent man. Rather, his blessing came through the touch of the Master's hand."

Further, President Monson said: "On every side there are those who suffer pain, who endure debilitating illness, who battle the demon of depression. Our hearts go out to all. Our prayers ascend in their behalf. Hands that help are extended."

He related a touching story about having gone to a hospital to give a member of his ward a priesthood blessing when he served as a bishop. After he gave her a blessing, he felt prompted to pull back the sheet with which the patient in the next bed had covered her face. When her eyes met his, she exclaimed through tears, "Oh, Bishop, when you entered that door, I felt you had come to see me and bless me in response to my prayers. I was rejoicing inside to think that you would know I was here, but when you stopped at the other bed, my heart sank, and I knew that you had not come to see me."

President Monson said that he told her, "It does not matter that I didn't know you were here. It is important, however, that our Heavenly Father knew and that you had prayed silently for a priesthood blessing. It was He who prompted me to intrude on your privacy." President Monson said that he left the hospital with gratitude for the promptings of the Spirit.

He spoke of a message he recently received in a birthday card: " And what is as important as knowledge? asked the mind.Caring and seeing with the heart,' answered the soul."

That message, President Monson said, describes Bethesda's blessing.

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