I have been sitting in John 4 & 5 for the past few days, simply taking in the tremendous grace the Lord Jesus exercised to the Samaritan woman at the well, the disciples who were a bit slow at catching the identity of the Lord (like myself!) and the healing of the cripple.
You know, the cripple who had been a cripple for thirty eight years. Thirty eight years of living a life of inability!
One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. – John 5:5
Take a few moments to consider this man’s situation. Was he thirty eight years old when he met the Master, born a cripple, having never walked? A permanent condition he had always experienced? Or had he been struck down early in life, suffering his disability for thirty eight years, with memories of walking, running, and pursuing a “normal” life.
Try to relate to this mans expectations. Are you experiencing a day in, day out disappointment in life, a continual drip drip drip of frustration, inability, hopelessness? Have you endured a hopeless state for decades like this poor fella? My point is that after thirty eight years of this disability, the man was in a settled condition, a “permanent” situation, a settled state.
And yet this man was at the pool, a pool that supposedly provided hope, for the story goes that the pool provided healing to whoever touched it first when it stirred.
When it was stirred, that is. Was the pool stirred every Sunday at 11? What about monthly, or maybe quarterly? No such schedule is provided, and so it goes, when the pool stirred, I imagine the ruckus to get there was immense. Did a miracle occur every time the water stirred? Had the stirring ever performed a miraculous healing in the sight of this cripple, or was it just a sterile flickering hope from stories of days past?
Yet this man was at the pool. He lay at the pool day in and day out, waiting for the pool to move, to stir, to offer hope. At this point, I imagine it had the taste of hopeless, but we also have an added problem!
He had competition! A lot of competition.
In these lay a multitude of invalids–blind, lame, and paralyzed. – John 5:3
So this crippled man, this permanently crippled man who was seeking healing at this pool, which he may never have seen stirred, and if he had seen stirred, was unable to get the healing supposedly offered, was approached by Jesus.
Stage set. Okay, so what did Jesus ask?
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?” – John 5:6
Of course he wanted to be healed! But lets consider this question. Had the cripple man fallen into a life of settled disappointment, going through a habit of being delivered to the pool by a loved one, but understanding it was of no use, that his condition was forever?
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.” – John 5:7
Yes, he was in a hopeless condition and understood his place in life. Oh, he still attended the pool faithfully, at least for the chance of seeing it stirred, but realized it wasn’t for him, that his state in life was set, and the best he had was to accept it and exist.
Do you want to be healed?
This question allowed for a one word answer, yet the man dribbled on with a twenty seven word response. Jesus asked of the cripple mans desire. He responded with his obvious present condition. Oh, he may have meant to answer directly, but looking at the response, he provided Jesus reasons why he couldn’t get healed.
Don’t get me wrong – I get it. He had certainly experienced his limitations (for thirty eight years!), and understood his lack of hope. He answered the question best he knew how. But he didn’t answer directly.
Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” – John 5:8
Jesus cut to the chase, and told him to get up. Just get up and walk!
Jesus didn’t speak of the duration of his paralysis, his continual hopeless, or of the current barriers to his “best life now”! I almost get the impression the man may have continued on with his response if it had not been for the Lord’s command to get up.
Jesus completed interrupted this man’s life.
Get up and walk, oh and by the way carry the bed you relied on all these years. The fallout from this miracle was multitudinous, for now this cripple had to reorient his entire life as a fully functioning man, able to provide for himself and for others. He went from being a burden to those who loved him, to a blessing for his loved ones and potentially a witness for years to come.
Do you remember the time you were healed? Have you been healed?
I was healed over 40 years ago from a life of blindness. One night, back in 1981, the Lord told me to walk, to get up and carry my bed. (See Testimony) He interrupted my life, and I am forever thankful for His interruption. I was sliding into a pit of destruction that would eventually consume me if not for Him. I had no hope and to be honest, no desire for a healing. This crippled man at least exhibited an façade of hope.
If you have experienced the Lord’s interruption, you will agree with me that the interruption includes a redirection, a life change due to the healing. Jesus did not tell the man to get up, be healed and to lay back down again.
When Jesus interrupts your life, things change. If things haven’t changed, and you are still “attending the pool”, consider the crippled man. His meeting with the Lord brought about a complete life change.
No change from when you claim to have met Him? For sure, you may have met Him early in life, when your “crippledness” wasn’t as apparent, but the command to walk is applicable to all. Jesus, in interrupting your life, means you no longer need to attend the pool, be carried by others, define your life by limitations, or look for hope where there is none.
The hope is in Jesus, and the result of meeting Him is a changed life. The crippled man had been completely convinced of his hopelessness when Jesus approached him, but Jesus interrupted his life.
Has He interrupted yours?
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