5 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a Jewish feast. 2 In Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate is a pool. In the Aramaic language it is called Bethesda. It is surrounded by five rows of columns with a roof over them. 3/4 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie down. Among them were those who were blind, those who could not walk, and those who could hardly move. 5 One person who was there had been disabled for 38 years. 6 Jesus saw him lying there. He knew that the man had been in that condition for a long time. So he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” 7 “Sir,” the disabled man replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when an angel stirs the water up. I try to get in, but someone else always goes down ahead of me.” 8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was healed. He picked up his mat and walked. The day this happened was a Sabbath. 10 So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath. The law does not allow you to carry your mat.” 11 But he replied, “The one who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’” 12 They asked him, “Who is this fellow? Who told you to pick it up and walk?” 13 The one who was healed had no idea who it was. Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. 14 Later Jesus found him at the temple. Jesus said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning, or something worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away. He told the Jews it was Jesus who had made him well. 16 Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath day. So the Jews began to oppose him. 17 Jesus said to them, “My Father is always doing his work. He is working right up to this very day. I am working too.” 18 For this reason the Jews tried even harder to kill him. Jesus was not only breaking the Sabbath. He was even calling God his own Father. He was making himself equal with God.
Jesus heals a man who had been an invalid for 38 years. At the time he was healed he had no idea who Jesus was. Jesus simply told the man to get up, walk and take your mat with you. The miracle was performed on the Sabbath which angered the Jewish leaders. Jesus referred to God as his Father thereby equating himself with God and this further infuriated the Jewish leaders.
Jesus was happy to see the man made whole but he also warned him to stop leading a sinful life because something far worse may happen. The guy was probably thinking what could be worse than lying here paralysed for 38 years and had no concept of an eternity in hell.
Jesus authority is clearly on display here. The paralysed man had no idea who Jesus was yet at his command he got up and walked. He did this without hesitation. There was no questioning who Jesus was and why should obey. He just did it and his obedience paid off. There must have been something so compelling about Jesus that this man took him at his word. It encourages me to take God at his word especially where I feel unable to move in the right direction or make any kind of move at all.
It is interesting that Jesus asked the man what he wanted – wasn’t it obvious! God so wants to relate to us – to chat. He wanted to hear this poor man explain why life wasn’t working for him. The hopelessness of never making it to that pool in his own strength. When Jesus tells the man to get up and walk it’s like he’s saying, “Enough of this life, no more, be healed!” It’s said in direct response to the man’s explanation.
Thank Lord thank you for the authority that Jesus has in my life to make me whole. Amen
Written by Ainslie Woods