Obey the Rules or Else

Jesus encounters a lame man who for 38 years was unable to walk. He is at the pool of Bethesda every day. This pool is special because it is stirred up occasionally and if someone can get into the water first they will be healed. The pool has the blind, lame, crippled and ill all waiting for the stirring. Enter Jesus. He goes directly to this man. A man who has seen others healed. A man who knows he is not fast enough to get into the pool when it stirs, but he hasn’t given up hope. He is there every day. Jesus said to him, “Do you want to be well?” The man obviously didn’t know who Jesus was because he explains how he can’t get into the water but Jesus is his true hope and says, “Rise take up your mat and walk.” And immediately he walked.

If the story ended there we would have a sense of good will, but this happens on the Sabbath. The Sabbath “police” stop the man because he his carrying his mat on the Sabbath. He broke the rule. The man is walking for the first time in 38 years, I imagine it never crossed his mind what day of the week it was except this was the day he was healed. He is totally honest and says, “The man who made me well said take up you mat and walk.” When the Jews figure out that it was Jesus who made him well they began to persecute him because he healed on the Sabbath.

Jesus wants to break into our lives and change the order. He wants to heal us. He wants to heal our children. He wants to supply our needs. He wants to have an encounter with us like the lame man and we will never be the same again.

Author: Karen Epp

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