In this mini-series, we're looking at the story of the invalid man who laid beside the pool of Bethesda. You can read this story in John 5. And if you haven't already read the previous devotionals on this, you can do so here. We've already learned that Jesus commanded this man to rise and in the middle of our sickness, our need for healing, He says the same to you and I -- Rise, get up, move on, walk out of it, walk away from it.
Jesus told the man next to "pick up your mat." Verse 8 says "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." Jesus meant for the man to pick up and pack out. He had something different for him, but that meant the man had to choose to do something different. For 38 years he had sat. Just sat there. Now Jesus comes onto the scene and says, move and pick up your mat. Jesus asked him to do something totally different than what existed in his normal routine.
Many times we look to Jesus to heal us and we may even ask for the change, but we don't want to do anything different. We don't want to be pushed out of our comfort zone. This man was pushed way out of his box and it served as evidence of his faith.
Lastly, Jesus told the man to "walk" - go forward, move on, leave the past behind. We may want healing and we might even start to see it happening. But we allow fear, feelings of unworthiness, distractions, doubt to drive us back to our past. Jesus commanded the man to walk. There was no question about it. In order for him to see complete wholeness, he had to move forward, leave the pool behind and fully embrace a new life. You can't set sail and head out to sea if you always want to keep an eye on the shore. If you aren't OK with a different scene you will be stuck in the same place. Let go of the comfortable, complacent past and walk away. That is life- walking, moving, living. Death is standing still, stagnant, never evolving.
So where are you? Do you want to be healed, changed, transformed? Are you really ready to go what it takes to experience a new life? There's plenty of room for those who'd rather lounge by the pool. But notice Jesus singled out one man. The choice to change is not a popular one. In fact, later int he chapter you see that this transformation ticked off the Pharisees. There will be some who don't think you need to change and they won't like it if you do. If that is too much for you, then stay by the pool. But if you're ready to be made well, then rise! pick up your mat and walk!