“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?’ 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.’” (John 5:6-7 NKJV)
There are rules to life. Things must be done decently and in order. The guy lying down at the healing pool known as Bethesda knew that, and the rules kept him from getting any relief. Only one could enter the pool after an angel stirred the water – and he was never fast enough. Imagine Tim Conway doing his old man shuffle at the 100 meter dash in the Olympics. When Jesus asked him if he wanted to be made well. The guy repeated the rule and Jesus scoffed at the regulations and told the guy to pick up his bed and get out of there. I’d have loved to see his reaction. Did he pick up his bed in faith so he could walk away, or was he thinking, “Sure, easy for you to say,” as he pushed himself from the ground to show Jesus that it couldn’t be done – only to realize that Jesus didn’t follow man-made rules when He blessed people with His power.
A lot of religions are based on rules. You do this, you do that and bing! The deity has to do what you want him/her to do. Christianity’s a little better in general, but for some reason we stray from grace and start trying to follow those rules. We follow our rituals – well, y’all do. I’m a Baptist and we don’t have rituals. We have rutuals. Someone once quipped that the seven last words of the church are “We’ve never done it that way before.” Perhaps the guy at the pool had those words running through his mind before he picked up his mat. What would happen if God’s people stopped following the man-made rules that box us off from God and let God’s Holy Spirit do His work the way He wants to? I think we’d see an amazing revival of love for God.
Lord, break through my rule following lifestyle and work miraculously. Go beyond any human rules that keep us from fellowshipping with You and show the world Your greatness.