Imagine being an invalid for 38 years.
You live in Jerusalem and are an outcast of society.
You’re sickly and bedridden and no one will take you to the pool of Bethesda where you could potentially be healed.
And then one day this strange voice is directed at you, asking if you want to be healed.
Well, of course you want to be healed. That’s a silly question. But you explain how no one will take you to the pool and how you wouldn’t need only one person but two to help you in the water, and all the other reasons why you can’t be healed.
Does this sound familiar? It’s what happened in John 5 when Jesus approached this invalid, knowing he had been there a long time.
After the man lists the reasons he can’t be healed, Jesus said to him,
“Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” (John 5:8)
The next verse is crazy:
“And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.”
Most people zone in on this story because Jesus healed on the sabbath, which almost put the Jews in cardiac arrest, but that’s not what stuck out to me this time.
Why is this verse crazy? Because the man actually took up his bed and walked.
But what if he hadn’t? What if he believed healing was too good to be true so he just remained lying still on his mat, unable to believe there was another option?
I can imagine someone lame for 38 years laying there laughing at Jesus, “You want me to get up? Oh, that’s hilarious. Make fun of the lame man, you’re a riot.” And all the while he was free of his infirmities.
How many of us have been healed but still live as though we are sick? How many of us have been given all things that pertain to life and godliness (the answer is all those who have been born again, John 3) yet live as if we are poor lifeless creatures without the hope we say resides within us?
May God make all grace abound to us so that He is glorified in our getting up, taking up our beds, and walking in the freedom He died to secure.