Arise Take Up Your Bed
6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”
7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”
8 Jesus said to him, Rise take up your bed and walk.”
9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.
Jesus asks of the crippled man who lay beside the pool of Bethesda the question: “Do you wish to be healed?” It was rhetorical in nature, but it served the purpose to turn the sufferer’s attention immediately to Jesus.
One of the most difficult things to do when life is at its darkest moment and we feel incapable to reach out for help is to redirect our thoughts. The longer we continue down the path of despair the harder it is to change our focus.
Often Christ needs to jar us into action as he did this poor man beside the pool when he asked the question “Do you wish to be healed?”
It was obvious the man wanted to be healed, released from the burden of his disease. But the question did turn the sufferer’s attention upon Jesus and ultimately the problem of healing this man from his affliction.
The reply of this poor man lays bare a story of physical misery, of desertion by friends, and of repeated revival of hope, followed each time by bitter disappointment. At this point his hope was still centered on the supposedly miraculous pool.
How often have each of us placed our hope for healing upon someone or something else that brings at best only temporary relief. As the man started talking with Jesus his hope rested with others for he did not recognize Him who stooped to talk with him, a poor miserable cripple.
“Rise” came the words of Jesus to this crippled man. These words are strikingly similar to those in Mark 2:11. The abruptness and directness must have inspired confidence in the sick man.
Jesus made no attempt to refute the superstition regarding the pool, nor did He question the causes of the man’s disease. Rather by a positive approach He enjoined the man to demonstrate his faith.
Christ never worked a miracle except to supply a genuine necessity. God is not honored in being called upon to do that which men are able to do for themselves. Only when men recognize that their needs are beyond human wisdom and skill to supply, can the ultimate purpose of a miracle be realized. Indeed, there must first be a profound sense of need. Next, there must be faith that God can and will supply the help so desperately needed. There must also be an earnest desire, and intense longing, that God will supply this need.
There must also be a willingness to change one’s life to live life in harmony with the principles of the kingdom of heaven, and to bear witness to the love and power of God.
It is also important to understand that all miracles Jesus performed not only have a physical application, but a spiritual application as well.
The cripple that lay beside the pool was not only physically crippled but was spiritually crippled as well. Jesus not only offered him physical healing, but spiritual as well. One is not without the other. Many a person lies beside the pool of spiritual Bethesda waiting for the water to heal them. But they on their own are unable to achieve the healing needed to make their life better. They lay there in despair waiting for their friends to help them to the water.
Christ in Luke 10:2 when Jesus was about to send out 70 disciples to bear witness of the gospel message, he said to them “The harvest is truly great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
There are countless people who are spiritually crippled and waiting for the laborers to come and help them to become healed. Their faith is weak and failing and if there are not enough laborers, then the crop will spoil upon the stock and become worthless. Therefore, God is calling all his faithful followers to enter upon His field for the harvest is truly great.