“One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well. 7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” 8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.” John 5.5-9
Throughout the New Testament Jesus heals in a variety of ways. Sometimes it’s gradual and sometimes it’s instantaneous. Sometimes when Jesus heals it’s done publicly and other times he does so privately. In this instance, Jesus heals just moments after conversing with a paralyzed man about getting into the Pool of Bethesda.
The man in the story has been unable to walk for thirty-eight years. That’s a long time. Almost four decades of lying around, relying upon others, waiting for someone to do something for you. I’m not saying this guy was lazy, I have no idea what he was experiencing personally. What I do know is that it seems he was making an excuse for not getting into the water when it was stirred and at it’s most potent point for healing. Surely in 38 years he could have made it at least once into the pool (or perhaps the pool couldn’t actually heal this man.)
Jesus sees the paralyzed man lying on the ground and asks him, “Do you want to get well?” The man doesn’t say, “Heck ya Jesus! Make it happen!” Rather, he says, “I have no one to help me into the pool. Others always get in before me.” Sounds like a sad sob story.
But Jesus, who can create life in a moment, says- “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” And at once, the Bible says, the man was cured. “He picked up his mat and walked.”
Jesus speaks with authority. When he says go, we go. When he says, “Get up,” we get up. When he says “Take up my cross daily,” we do just that. We who are called Christians (i.e. “little Christs'”) are called to imitate. We are called to obey and we are called to action.
The paralyzed man’s life was radically changed because he heard and obeyed the voice of Jesus. Will you do the same?
“O Lord God, you are good. I praise you for your unending love and faithfulness to your people. We often fail to hear your voice and heed your word. Come now, Holy Spirit, speak words of truth so we might be all you have called us to be. Help us walk in truth and know the power of the resurrection. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen