Have you tried walking?

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. –John 5:2-9

Sometimes, we get caught up in our routines and forget that there just might be another way. We even call it a tradition…”that’s just how things are because that is how they have always been”. Well, here in this scripture, we see Jesus challenging that to encourage us to step forward into the “new thing” that God is doing (Isaiah 43:19).

The man here had been waiting at the pool of Bethesda for his healing for 38 years. He was respectfully observing the traditional “rules of engagement”. When the waters began to stir, it was supposed to be the first invalid to step into the water who would receive the healing. So, when Jesus approached him to ask, “Do you want to be healed?,” He gave the only answer he could, the one faulting tradition as the reason why he couldn’t have what he wanted. His excuses were, …”there was no one there to put him into the pool”, and, “whenever he got close enough on his own, someone else jumped in ahead of him.” There’s a spirit of co-dependency and rejection, right there.

Have you ever been in circumstances which seemed so insurmountable that you felt you had to have someone else come to deliver you out of them? Or, have you ever tried so hard to achieve something that it seems that just as you were at the brink of  success, someone else came in and snatched it out of your hands, leaving you standing (or lying) there in disbelief that “this is just how it is gonna be”.

Well, let me tell you that “that is not how it is gonna be” if you don’t want it to be like that. It took the power of Jesus coming to this gentleman and commanding him to do that which he never could do. And, because of his obedience in that instance, the man was healed. However, let’s consider the possibility that this gentleman had been healed years, or months, or weeks, or even days early than this moment in which we see him walk in verse 9. Perhaps he had been healed as a result of his faith to remain at the pool to wait for his healing. I mean, the scripture says that he had been there for 38 years, so he obviously believed that that is where he needed to be in order to be healed. But I think he erred in the fact that he let tradition set the pace for him.

Because the tradition he was taught said that he had to be the first in the water when it stirred, he saw that inability as a road block to reject him from his healing manifestation. But, this need not be true. We serve a big God who heals in numerous ways. His one requirement is that we have faith (Matthew 17:20) and it seems to me that this man had plenty of that. But what he lacked was the courage to just WALK! and that is what Jesus gave him in his command.

I reflect greatly upon my life as I write this and I know first-hand how difficult it is to have the courage to do something that you have never done before, or were always told you couldn’t do. And in each of those situations, the answer was for me to just walk. Though I encountered even more opposition, the only thing I could do was begin to and continue to walk.

Healing comes in the journey. It is an instantaneous miracle that is unveiled as we press through and venture down the path. Maybe this man would have realized earlier in his life that he could walk if only he had tried. But I am not speaking negatively against him, just using him as an object lesson. To hear the direct command of Jesus and exercise instant obedience is definitely an honorable thing, but what more of an exercise of faith than to press through even when confidence is waning and you don’t feel secure (John 20:29).

For as long as I lay there thinking of my lack of others to help me or understand, I only glued myself more tightly to my “sick bed” of depression, rejection, co-dependency, and oppression. But when I attempted to walk, and yes, I needed the stern, yet gentle and gracious, command of Jesus resonating in my ears (Mark 5:41), I found my healing in my journey.

Just like the ten Lepers in Luke 17. They shouted from a distance for Jesus to heal them and he commanded them to go show themselves to the priest. In obedience to Jesus’ words they started walking to the priest, and scripture says that as they walked, they were healed. They made conscious action to act according to their request.

Have you tried walking?


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