Tuesday, April 5, 2011

4/5/11 - Rise, Pick Up Your Mat, and Walk

John 5:1-16
There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate
a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes.
In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled.
One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there
and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him,
“Do you want to be well?”
The sick man answered him,
“Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool
when the water is stirred up;
while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.”
Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.”
Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.

Now that day was a sabbath.
So the Jews said to the man who was cured,
“It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.”
He answered them, “The man who made me well told me,
‘Take up your mat and walk.’“
They asked him,
“Who is the man who told you, ‘Take it up and walk’?”
The man who was healed did not know who it was,
for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there.
After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him,
“Look, you are well; do not sin any more,
so that nothing worse may happen to you.”
The man went and told the Jews
that Jesus was the one who had made him well.
Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus
because he did this on a sabbath.

This passage shows us how the interface between Christ and man works.

- First, Jesus asks the man if he wants to be well. That's exactly how he treats us: he offers to transform us, but only if we want him to. If we are satisfied with who we are without his help, that's how we stay. But if we want to be changed and go to Him for help, the help comes.

- Second, Jesus tells the man to pick up his mat and walk. The man has been crippled for 38 years. These words must have been absolutely crazy, but the man believed him and tried. Once again, that's exactly how Christ works with each of us. He doesn't just do things for us out of nowhere. However, if we ask him for help and have faith in Him, He can help us to do great things, even things we might have considered impossible.

Look at the response of the Pharisees. They don't seem at all concerned with the miracle that occurred, but they certainly care about a making a legalistic ruling on the case. Jesus slips away, so the issue simmers for a while, but John 7 will have much more to say about the conflict with the Pharisees over Christ's works on the Sabbath.

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