S: when Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to be made well?” John 5:6 (NLT)
O: This man had been ill for 38 years – whether or not the man had ever experienced the ability to walk before it does not say, but I think we can conclude that at this point, he was doing all he know he could to be made well. Day after day, month after month, year after year the same thing – and no change.
Then, one day this man comes and asks if he wants to be made well, and he doesn’t respond with “yes,” he instead gives reason for why what he’s been doing isn’t working; not even realizing probably the confession of why he can’t get well on his own. Then Jesus commands him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”
Free will dictates that the ill man could have chosen not to, but how could he not? I can’t breeze past this charge from Jesus without envisioning that moment – without imagining what it must have been like to look into the eyes of God, to hear the love in His voice, the authority in its tone. The invitation to be made whole, to be free, right in front of him. How could he not respond in obedience?
Do not take lightly the very act of standing. When you are weary, broken, tired, and simply beat down, the idea of standing is exhausting. And yet, this is what Jesus asked of him first. “Stand up…” The first step necessary to move forward. Stand up.
A: When I’ve exhausted myself running in circles trying over and over again the things I thought would work, and they’ve left me unchanged, can I find it in me to stand up? When I’ve cried myself to sleep, wearied my soul with worry, can I usher up the strength to stand up?
When I can’t pick myself up off the floor, will I allow Jesus to?
Even if I cannot do so physically, I must do so spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. This is what it means to put my faith in Him. Regardless of what I can’t see in the present, I believe I will see in the future. This is hope. This is faith.
P: Jesus, help me to stand up. Help me to set aside all my reasons for doubt and unbelief. Transform my way of thinking so I can see what You see; free me from my own limitations, Lord. Help me to trust in You more and more.
Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini)