Hey Tribelet! Asher here. How are your summer vacations going? I guess yours have started already – I’ve still got a few more days of school to go. School can be a pain sometimes, but it definitely doesn’t compare to today’s miracle…
…Imagine being paralyzed for thirty eight years.
That’s pretty hard, right? I certainly can’t imagine that – I think it’s safe to say 38 years is over 3 times greater than your ages!
Unfortunately, that was reality for the man in John 5.
3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.  [b] 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 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?”
7 “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.”
He was “invalid”, surrounded by fellow “invalids” who had been rejected from society by no fault of their own.
He couldn’t move, not even a couple of inches to the pool, his only hope of healing.
This man was completely helpless.
Thankfully, Jesus sees him and his struggle. There must have been hundreds of disabled people by the pool, but He knew exactly what this particular “invalid” was going through.
8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
Physically, it’s remarkable that Jesus was able to heal this man. But what strikes me even more is the way he did so. He didn’t do everything for the “invalid” – no, Jesus gave him a choice.
He asked: do you want healing?
Okay. This is how you heal, and I will give you the power to do it.
Now that you’re healed, start a new life.
This is an interesting insight to how Jesus healing works – it’s a two way street. Praying “please help me ace this test” and doing nothing else about it doesn’t quite cut it. God will help us, but we need to be determined to improve, trusting to follow His instructions and willing to live differently.
So, for this example, if you were willing to put effort into the test, listening to God by not cheating in it and being committed to studying hard next time, results may look a little different.
Now you might think, well, I’m not blind or lame or paralyzed. I don’t need healing. But the truth is, we are all as helpless as the “invalid” man in other ways. By ourselves, us humans are weak. We have physical, emotional and intellectual limits. We set out to finish that project, go over and talk to the new girl, run that half marathon – and end up failing to do so because we’re not strong enough to do it alone.
We need Jesus to perform mini-miracles for us every day, whether that’s giving us the strength to swim the final lap, or not give in and stand up for something you believe in.
So Jesus performed a miracle for the man, and he was well and walking again. Was all well?
The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”
11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”
12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”
13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.
14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.
The man faced difficulties immediately after being healed – he was opposed by the Jewish leaders, who were very picky about religious traditions. Since the Bible says to rest on the Sabbath (Sunday), they thought Jesus was violating the commandment by doing work and healing the man.
There are several things to unpack here…
Firstly, Jesus’ open-minded character stands out here. Unlike the Jewish leaders, he wasn’t too caught up in the details and ‘rules’ of religion, because He understood that faith was more about having a heart focused on loving God and others. He wasn’t just going to pass a hurting man by because it was Sunday. He had compassion for the man, and knew that healing him was best thing to do.
Secondly, the man acknowledged Jesus. He followed His instructions to pick up his mat, even though it was against the preferences of the Jewish leaders, and even told them about Jesus. He recognized that Jesus knew what was best for him, and that without Him, he would still be helpless.
And finally, not all was happily ever after. Yes, the man was healed – that’s awesome! But his difficulties didn’t end there. He was immediately questioned by society. Unfortunately, that’s reality – there are always going to be hardships. Relying on God is not a one-off thing.
We’ll always need Him.
So let’s continue our journey acknowledging our weaknesses. Following what God guides us to do, even if we’re not sure about it. And learning each time we make progress, changing the way walk.
In the comments, feel free to let us know what stuck out to you in today’s miracle. (You can read more about it in John 5:1-23). What did you find most interesting?
I’d also love to know what situations you feel helpless in. Do you rely on God in these situations, and how could He help you to improve?
Personally, I feel helpless when I try to support friends who are struggling and it doesn’t seem like their situation is improving. I could definitely rely on God more by praying about this. I hope He can help me improve by making me a wiser and more uplifting friend!
Until next time,