“One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, ‘Would you like to get well?’ ‘I can’t sir,’ the sick man said. ‘For I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.’ Jesus told him, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!’ Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking.”
Yesterday, we talked about the fact that faith requires action. Here’s another story that speaks to the same issue, but in a very different way.
Picture this scene: An old man is lying beside the healing pools of Bethesda. He had been sick and paralyzed for 38 years. Jesus walks by and says to him, “Do you wish to get well?” Now come on, could there be a more obvious question than this? Everyday, people have been carrying him on his mat, laying him by the pool, and hoping for healing. Then Jesus comes up and asks if he wants to get well. Why in the world would He ask a question like that?
Jesus asks this question because He knew that for 38 years this man had been totally dependent on others. He lived a life of dependency. And if he is healed, then he’s going to have to start showing initiative and taking personal responsibility for himself. And that’s why Jesus asks him, “Do you want to get well?” Jesus had the power to completely transform this man’s life.
You see, Jesus was highlighting an interesting facet of human nature: dependency on anything is incredibly addictive. So, how does this man answer Jesus’ question? With classic victimization mindset, he blames someone else for the fact that he is still unwell. “I can’t get well, because I have no one to help me into the pool,” the man says (My Paraphrase John 5: 7). Because of his disability, he’s blaming others and seeing himself as a victim. Jesus said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”
Let’s break down what’s happening:
- “Stand up.” — It took a lot of faith for that man who’s been trapped in that paralyzed body to stand up, but the man stood up.
- “Pick up your mat.” — The man had to take responsibility for himself; he couldn’t depend on others carrying him anymore. The man picked up his mat.
- “Walk.” — In other words, it was a command for this man to leave his former life where he had been totally dependent on others. So, what happened? The man began to walk!
That man left his old life, where he had been so incapacitated for all those years, to live a new life, all thanks to the supernatural healing power of Jesus.
Are you caught in the trap of dependency? Look to Jesus. Through faith, He will give you the power to change your life — whether you are supernaturally healed or not!