One of the things I’m learning as I read through the gospels (Mathew, Mark, Luke and John) is how Jesus interacted with people while he was here on earth. For example: In John’s gospel, we see Jesus as he meets the needs of people where they are. In John 5, Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem for a special feast. The Bible doesn’t tell us that it was necessary to take the route around the pool of Bethesda in order to get to the fest but that is the route he and his disciples had chosen to take. Near the pool were five covered porches where sick people were lying.
In John 5:5 we read that there was a man who had been sick and lain under the cover of one of those porches for 38 years. Can you just imagine? The Bible doesn’t tell us what his illness was. But can you see the struggle of this man? He wanted to get into the pool but there were others who beat him to the punch. This man had to be tired and worn down by his illness. Jesus saw his struggle and asked “do you want to be well?” SIDEBAR HERE: I know if I had been sick for 38 years I would have probably been a puddle of tears trying to get the word “YES” out. But this man said “there is no one to help me get in the pool.” My human response to that is “what?!?”
Someone asks you if you want to be well and all you come back with is “I just want to get in the pool.” I didn’t really understand the man’s response at all. Maybe it’s because he had been sick and overlooked/outcast for so long the thought of being “well” was a mere pipe dream; something too good to be true.
In an instant Jesus changed this man’s life forever. “Stand up. Pick up your mat and walk.” I don’t know about you, but have you ever put yourself there at the scene? Would you have thought Jesus was for real? What do you think your response may have been? Perhaps something like:
“Come again? You want me to just get up? Ummm, I’ve been lying here for 38 years!”
Can you hear that inner voice?
Scripture says that IMMEDIATELY the man was well and he picked up his mat and began to walk. Whoa! This man acted WITHOUT HESITATION and was made whole. Did you notice that this guy knew something miraculous had just happened and he acted immediately? He didn’t second guess what had happened; he was well for the first time in 38 years.
Jesus met the needs of many people when he walked this earth. Everything he did was to give us an example of how we should live and walk through our lives.
Even today, He can meet the needs in our lives. Pick up your mats and walk! He doesn’t want us paralyzed by our doubt and fear. He wants us to be free to live the abundant life He has given us to live.
If you are struggling to “pick up your mat and walk” I encourage you to find a Christian friend or mentor you can share your burden with and pray for healing in this area of your life. Jesus will meet us where we are when we call on His name.
Don’t need healing in a specific area at the moment? Are you helping to meet the needs of those people in your community? Can you see where Jesus is working? The needs around us are great. When given an opportunity consider doing something to meet a need for someone in your community. Jesus came to serve; so it is up to us to be his hands and feet and serve as he did. Who knows, you just may point someone to Jesus in the process.