Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Get Up, Take Your Bedroll, And Start Walking!

Jesus went up to Jerusalem to celebrate a feast. In the city, near the Sheep Gate, there was a pool called Bethesda in Hebrew, with five alcoves. In these alcoves were hundreds of sick people, some blind, some crippled, and some paralyzed. One man there had been ill for thirty-eight years.

When Jesus saw him lying by the pool, and found out how long he had been there, he asked, “Do you want to get well?”

The invalid answered, “Sir, I have no one to put me in the pool when the water is stirred. While I’m struggling to get there, someone always gets to the water first.”

Jesus said, “Get up, take your bedroll, and start walking.” The man was healed instantly. He picked up his bedroll, and walked away.

That day happened to be the Sabbath. When the Jews saw the man who had been healed, they stopped him and said, “Don’t you know that you can’t carry your bedroll on the Sabbath? It’s against the law. He told them, “The man who made me well told me to. He said, “Pick up your bedroll and start walking.” They asked him, “Who told you to take it up and start walking?” But the man didn’t know, because Jesus had slipped away into the crowd.

A while later, Jesus found the man in the Temple and said, “You are well! Don’t go back to a life of sin or something worse might happen to you.”

The man went back and told the Jews that it had been Jesus who made him well. That is why the Jews were out to get Jesus, because he did this sort of things on the Sabbath. (John 5:1-16)

“Do you want to be healed?” Jesus asked. The man had been waiting to be healed for thirty-eight years. Every day for all that time he had tried to drag himself to the pool, but someone else always got there first. Of course, he wanted to be healed.

Then Jesus said, “Stand up!” Doesn’t that seem odd? Jesus is asking the man to do the very thing he is unable to do!

But, for some reason, the man listened to Jesus. After he had heard Jesus’ words, things began to happen. In a real sense, Jesus did not heal the paralyzed man. He spoke, but he didn’t act. The man listened, and his mind and will cooperated, and it happened. This miracle was not worked “on him”, but “with him”. Jesus was the director of the action. Jesus spoke, the paralyzed man heard and believed, and he walked. He was a full partner in his own healing.

Until today, the man lay in the alcove day and night, unless someone carried him to the water.  Now, having been healed by the Lord, he picks up his bedroll and walks back to the alcove. What sort of paraysis do you have? Or do I have?  How long will it take before I take Jesus up on his offer?  Will it take 38 years of paralysis before I can undestand that Jesus wants to heal me now, and all I have to do is allow him to? If I want to be healed by Our Lord, I have to be willing to do whatever he asks of me.  He tells us to rise, to lift ourselves up from our sloth, or our vanity, our greed, or our anger.  There is only one sort of person that Jesus cannot heal.  Not because Jesus lacks the power; but because that person doesn't really want to be healed.

No comments: