When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.”
I don’t know much about crippling diseases or physical illnesses that prevent a person from walking, but I am learning a bit about it as I deal with an inflammation in my hip joint and a couple of lumbar discs. I have learned how to manipulate a walker and a wheelchair, but I can’t imagine having to ask someone to carry me everyday to a place where I might be healed if I can manage to get into the pool of healing water before any other sick person. My situation is being healed slowly and hopefully I will be able to walk on my own soon without assistance. The daily exercises the therapist gave me to do are strengthening the muscles I need to use to overcome the weakness in my body.
This man saw no hope except the possibility of entering the pool as soon as the water started stirring. He had been unable to walk for 38 years, and he had someone bring him to this pool for 38 years with the hope of entering the pool before any other infirm person. Jesus helped him see that God was with him to strengthen his faith and bring healing.
When Jesus asked him if he wanted to be made well he did not answer Jesus question directly. He only told Jesus the history of his determination and hope of getting into the healing water before another. Jesus however took his answer as a YES, and then told him to get up and take up his mat and walk. Jesus’ words were simple and direct, requiring an action of faith, and the physical action that followed his faith which was given to him by God. Our faith is always a gift from God which makes other miracles possible.
I hope that no one reading this is physically disabled and cannot walk without assistance. Yet I know that all of us at one time or another in life experiences some kind of crippling element that disables us to some degree. It may not be physical. It may be emotional, mental, social, or spiritual. It may be an addiction, the loss of a loved one, or perhaps a career change that was not planned or desired. During those times we feel some degree of helplessness and we reach out for any remedy that brings hope for healing. This man recognized that he may never be able to get into the healing waters before another person, but he kept on hoping he could and so he came for 38 years to try. Jesus saw his need and persistence in seeking healing and so he made it available to him. All this man had to do was accept it and act upon Jesus’ request.
We too need to act on Jesus’ offer for healing in our crippling points, and respond with the faith he offers us, by stepping into the newness of life that Jesus provides each of us regardless of the debilitating element that is crippling us in some way. Our walk with Jesus is a daily walk of faith that Jesus gives us if we will accept it and act upon it.
- Are you experiencing something that somehow cripples or inhibits your daily walk with Jesus?
- Can you hear Jesus instruct you to pick up your mat and walk, leaving behind that old dependence on something that is keeping you crippled in some way?
- Is it possible that Jesus may be telling you to walk with the assistance of those who know well the problems you face with your dependency and will walk with you as you step out in faith?
Eric is our current Webmaster and works on the NLS Communications Team. Raised in Judaism, he found Christ and the New Testament at age 16 in a Southern Baptist Church. He searched many denominations for the real church, only to find the Holy Spirit is present in all of them. He's worked for One for Israel, a group of native Israeli believers who are sharing the gospel in the holy land in Hebrew and is part of the only Hebrew speaking seminary in Israel.