“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.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.” He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’ ” Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.””
John 5:6-14 NKJV
I remember the years leading up to the day I came to Jesus. Many a day had been spent thinking of going to church, of getting myself straight with God. Regardless of my thinking, I always found a reason or excuse to not do it. Had grown up in churches where dress was important, for people wore their best on Sunday. Most of my working life was spent working jobs where I could not afford nice clothes, creating what I thought was a stumbling block keeping me from worshipping the Lord.
I also had a sense that I needed to clean myself up before I could go to church. I had built up many sinful strongholds, and I felt wretched, most unworthy to darken the church house door.
I was like the sick man in John chapter five, lying so near the place of healing, but coming up with only excuses. Whenever the Holy Spirit would convict me, I would lean own my own reasons for not going to church, or even reading my bible. When the Lord sent people, I would have an excuse for not accepting invites to church, or even engaging in spiritual conversations.
I figured I would get around to it at some point. Somewhere in this journey, I encountered a deaf woman who gave me a gospel tract. It to of a couple of vignettes that told of two people who were presented with the Gospel, but chose to put it off until a more comfortable time. In both cases, the people met a sudden death just before they were to see to the matters of their souls.
I kept that tract as a reminder of the need to deal with my sin.
Finally, the Lord began to send people and situations that I could not ignore and I knew that change was coming, as the Holy Spirit began to woo me.
“Take up you bed and walk.”
On Easter Sunday 1998, I responded to the command of Jesus, and I took up my bed, the very bed in which I had lain spiritually paralyzed, blinded to my own sinful state, and complacent, and walked down the center aisle of Grace church.
I walked into newness of life, entering the unknown, into the arms of my now known God. I emerged from my own spiritual Babylon, now free from chains of my own making, coming to the realization that this God I did not know, knew me, and had a plan for me, and a future and a hope.
“For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:10-11 NKJV
From the first step, to my frail steps now, to what will be my last, some day, I rejoice in being consumed by my increasing love for Jesus. I desire to be holy, to glorify Him, representing Him as one sick, now made well.
Brothers and sisters, let us be mindful of all the Lord has done for us. Just as we each took up our beds, let us be faithful to go and tell others of Jesus, who saved our souls. We are living in a world with many needs, but the greatest is salvation in Jesus Christ.
“Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God.”
Acts 3:1-8 NKJV
We are to take this message of healing and restoration into the world, regardless of the opposition we may experience. Just as we responded to the command to take up our beds, let us also be prompt in taking up the command in going to all the world to preach the Gospel. Time is running out and the days are few.
The world has a sin problem, that is the foundation of everything that we are seeing. The Lord is preparing for His return, and we will see evil in all its forms come upon the world.
May we be prompt, may we be those who do get around to it, to the spreading of this saving message of the Cross.
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