Get Up!

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?””Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”

But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”

So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”

The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.

Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. – John 5:1-15 (NIV)

I’ve been reading through John and I’m noticing things I never noticed before. Here we have a man who has been unable to walk for thirty eight years. Now this man has been hanging out at this pool for a while, because he says that every time he tries to go in, someone else goes ahead of him. Supposedly the deal was that the waters of the pool had healing power whenever an angel would come down and stir the water…but the deal was only good for the first one in and this man was never the first one. So that was his reasoning for not being healed. 

Jesus comes to this place and sees this man hanging out and learns that he has been unable to walk for thirty eight years. I think it is also important to note that “a great number” of people are at the pool. There are many disabled people there, but Jesus approaches one man. One. He asks him a simple question. “Do you want to get well?”

At first I was surprised by the response of the man. I’m thought this dude was crazy. Jesus just asked you if you want to be well. I’d be shouting “YES YES YES!” But this man says, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Woe is me. I just can’t seem to get myself healed cause someone else is always jumping ahead of me. 

But here is the thing: this man has no idea that he is speaking to Jesus. He doesn’t know who He is. So, he has no faith in Him and this man’s response to Jesus is probably the same typical response he would give to anyone else who asked him. Jesus responds to the man by commanding him to get up and walk. At once, the man is healed. At that very moment. Jesus said “Get up!” And it was done. He tells the man to pick up his mat and walk and the man picks up his mat and walks. 

Let’s recap from this point:

  1. Jesus asks him if he wants to get well.
  2. The man makes excuses for himself.
  3. Jesus commands him to get up, take his mat and walk.
  4. The man is immediately healed, gets up, takes his mat, and walks.

This in and of itself is amazing. Jesus has healed this man! Why him out of the greater number of people there? He didn’t tell all these people, “hey if you want, I’ll heal you.” He healed a specific man, not because the man said “yes, heal me,” but because He commanded it. “Get up,” is a command. The man doesn’t think about it. At once, everything is changed. 

And so the man is going on about his business, carrying his mat because Jesus told him to do so. And what happens? OH! You can’t do that! It’s the Sabbath! How dare you carry your mat on the Sabbath! I love the way this man responds: “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ” And he still doesn’t know that ‘the man’ was Jesus. The Jews want to know who this man is that thinks its okay to do this on the Sabbath. And the man doesn’t know because Jesus has slipped away into the crowd. But later, Jesus finds this man at the temple. Jesus finds him. He tells the man, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” And the man knows that it is Jesus and he goes and tells the Jews. 

This is how Jesus responds: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.” (John 5:19-22)

Wow. God does the work through Christ, who will give life to whomever he is pleased to give it. We do not “heal” ourselves and there are many who are ill but God will heal whom He pleases. Ill isn’t the best word, because sin is not an illness. We are dead in our sin (Ephesians 2:9). Dead people only do one thing: be dead. I find it interesting that when Jesus asked this man if he wanted to be well, the man basically says, “can’t do it.” And he is right! He can’t do the work himself. He is unable. But Jesus gives the command and it happens. We are not saved of our own doings. It is God who draws men (John 6).

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” (John 5:24-25)

Published in: on November 10, 2008 at 11:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: