5 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 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. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.  5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 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?” 7 “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.” 8 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. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.” 11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ” 12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?” 13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. 14 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.” 15 The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.
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 Ps. Ainslie Woods