2 Kings 24-25 John 5:1-24
“Then Jesus said, ‘Stand up. Pick up your mat and walk.’ And immediately the man was well; he picked up his mat and began to walk.” (John 5:8-9 NCV)
They were lying around a pool of water. This water was special because they believed an angel stirred the waters which brought healing to the first one in the pool after that. Some had friends or family who sought to help them be the first one in; the man Jesus encountered didn’t. He’d been sick for 38 years. Jesus asked him a question: “Do you want to be well?” The man answered in the only context he could imagine. In short, his answer was, “Yes, but I’m too sick to be the first one in.” Then, Jesus told him to pick up his mat and walk. I can’t help but imagine that people Jesus healed felt a surge of power, because we don’t see them questioning Jesus. This man picked up his mat and walked away.
Trouble started later because Jesus healed him on the Sabbath. We read a lot about healings on the Sabbath. I don’t think that was the only day Jesus healed, but those healings made the Pharisees unhappy, so those stories are more interesting. The other question is what happened to those people that Jesus healed once He left the area? Beggars could make good money back then because giving alms was a religious obligation. Those who were crippled, chronically ill, or had other conditions that prevented them from working would beg, and the religious elite would satisfy their obligation to give alms. I’ve been called a terrible Christian for believing this and there’s no biblical evidence either way, but I believe that when Jesus healed people He put them in a position to be a productive member of society. It might take a while to begin working and earning enough to live on, but Jesus didn’t heal people only to leave them in the same position they were in before. Just like we don’t receive salvation so we can keep on living a sinful lifestyle, Jesus didn’t heal people so they could continue living as an invalid. That’s a two-pronged approach we need to take in dealing with people today. We share the gospel in the belief that others will come to know Jesus Christ and share the message themselves; we help people in their difficult situations so that, if possible, they’ll grow out of those situations so that they too can help others.
Lord, You’ve given me the gift of new life in Christ so that I can share Your love with others. You’ve provided me with more than enough to meet my needs so that I can share with others. Help me to do a better job of sharing new life and find ways to help people meet needs.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.