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.
As soon as Jesus came upon the scene, the possibilities for the lame beggar changed dramatically. Christ saw him through different eyes and came to help with different power than the beggar had ever encountered before.
Learning about how long the man had been lame – 38 years – Jesus did not shake His head in hopeless resignation, but He asked him if he wanted to be made whole. He came right to the central point in the man’s situation, whether or not he wanted to be made whole again. Honestly, I have discovered, many do not. Often we prefer to remain on a bed of sickness and hope for the pity of others than to be made whole. We seek vindication or excuses over wholeness. We look for some justification for our condition, rather than seek the solutions that God offers.
The man complained that he had no one to help him. The common belief of those people was that from time to time an angel would stir the water and the first person in would be healed. The man had come to that spot at one time with hope for healing – hope founded on a false superstition but hope nonetheless – but over the years he had begun to forget about the healing and simply look for the sympathy he could get from others.
This is the typical human condition of the heart. Someone hurts us with hard words and we are wounded emotionally. Rather than seek the healing and the forgiveness that the cross brings, we instead mope around complaining to others about our plight. We show our wounds to others, seeking to justify the pain we feel, looking for vindication instead of wholeness. There was a time we had come to church seeking for inner healing, but instead we have traded that in for sympathy for our wounds. So we carry around in our hearts un-wholeness, spiritual and emotional sickness.
Instead of saying “Look what he did!” and pointing to the one who wounded us, we should say “Look what He did!” and point to the One who was wounded for us. By His stripes we are healed, and in the cross there is sufficient healing for our heart’s deepest wounds.
Christ commanded the lame man to take faith and stand. The miracle of healing was required before he could stand, and the Scripture plainly explains that it happened just that way. The man believed and was healed and he then picked up his mat and stood and walked.
Where are you laying lame among the beggars today? Among the children of
God there is to be life and hope. God does not always bring physical healing, but He always brings to our hearts all that we need for life and godliness through Christ (2 Peter 1:3). Leave the emotional sickness that has bound your heart and stand by grace through faith in the power of God.
Lord, we are all wounded in some way or another, and need Your grace and healing. Show us how we can learn to hope again, to forgive, and to live freely. Heal our hearts. Amen.