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A Day Late and A Dollar Short – Theology Essay

John came to me depressed and hopeless. As he talked, he painted a bleak picture of unemployment, old age, ill health, and feelings of failure and helplessness. “Whatever I do and whatever I try, it

always seems that I’m a day late and a dollar short,” said John dejectedly. Perhaps you can identify with John in some aspect of your life. One day Jesus met a man at the pool of Bethesda. It was a famous pool. Multitudes of sick and infirm people came to the pool seeking healing. It was believed by many that at certain seasons an angel would go down into the waters and stir the waters up. Whoever was first into the waters was healed of their disease. (See John 5:1-17).

The man that Jesus encountered at the pool had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus asked him if he wanted to be healed, he replied, more or less, “I’m always a day late and a dollar short.” Actually the man said, “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.” (John 5:7). But that encounter with Jesus changed his life, brought healing, and hope. If you can identify with being a day late and a dollar short in some aspect of your life, come to the pool of Bethesda. Don’t look for an angel, look to Jesus, who is.

MERCIFUL. Even in the old covenant, before Jesus went to the cross, God displayed His mercy in various ways and occasions. During the Israelites trek through the wilderness, they began to murmur, complain, and rebel against God. God sent fiery serpents among them. Multitudes were bitten and died. When they cried out to God, He instructed Moses to make a brazen serpent and put it on a pole. If someone was bitten by a poisonous snake and looked on the brazen serpent, they were healed. David blessed such a merciful God with thanksgiving and praise. (See Psalm 103).

Even before Jesus went to the cross to provide salvation and healing, God would send an angel down to trouble the water at the pool of Bethesda and bring healing to some. (See Isaiah 53; John 5:1-17). Why did He do it? Because He is merciful. Why did Jesus bother with this invalid who was always a day late and a dollar short? Because His compassions fail not.

EXPECTATIONS. Jesus raises our expectations and hope. Jesus asked this invalid of thirty-eight years a very unusual question. “Do you want to be well?” One would think that would be a forgone conclusion. But Jesus knew that unless we raise our expectations, we will never be healed. We will be paralyzed by hopelessness, despair, fear, and doubt. This invalid was looking for someone to help him into the water. He had no one. But God wants us to raise our expectations from others, or even ourselves, and focus on Him. He is our expectation and hope. (See Jeremiah 29:11; Psalm 62:5; Luke 3:15; Romans 13:13).

RAPHA is the Lord who heals (Jehovah-Rapha). When Moses led the Israelites through the wilderness, they had no water. They finally came to Marah, but could not drink the water because it was bitter. Moses cried out to the Lord and the Lord showed him a tree. Moses threw the tree into the water and the water became sweet. God made a covenant with Israel and revealed Himself as Jehovah Rapha – the Lord your Healer. (See Exodus 15:22-26). I believe that tree, thrown into the water, is a type of the cross of Christ and God’s provision for us through the atonement of Christ. What do you need to be healed from? Is it sin? Bitterness? Sickness? Look to Rapha – Jesus your Healer.

COMMANDMENTS and obedience go together with healing, health, and hope. Jesus told the sick man at the pool to take up his bed and go home. The man was healed as he obeyed Jesus’ command. Read carefully God’s condition for healing in Exodus 15:26. Faith and obedience work together.

YAHWEH’S LORD. For years, this invalid had been looking to people to help him. God many times uses people, but only one Physician can heal our soul. Only Yahweh’s Lord Jesus is the all-sufficient one. When the religious leaders asked who the man was who healed him, he didn’t know. Later he met Jesus in the temple and discovered that Jesus is “Yahweh” (Jehovah). The name is derived from the Hebrew root “to be, to become.” It is the most sacred name for God. He is totally self-existent. Jesus said He is the One who “has life in Himself.” (John 5:26).

Why do we look elsewhere? Why don’t we rest in His unchangeableness? He has never failed. He cannot! The Lord (Yahweh) sent the man on his way with this admonishment. “Behold, you have become well; do no sin anymore, so that nothing worse comes upon you.” (John 5:14). Have you dealt with the sin issue in your life? Perhaps you’ve noticed that each points of this article forms an acrostic – MERCY.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).