Scripture Focus: John 5.14
Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”
From John: In this repost from 2019, we see Jesus find a man of weak faith who is fearful, hesitant, and paralyzed by more than his physical condition. No matter what has paralyzed you in this past year, no matter how scared you are, no matter how weak your faith, Jesus is reaching out to you. Take up your mat and walk.
Reflection: Take Up Your Mat
By John Tillman
The paralytic at the pool is one of the more unusual miracles of Jesus. In most miracles of healing, someone comes to Jesus with a request.
The Centurion sent to Jesus on behalf of his servant and the leaders of the Jewish community supported the Centurion’s request due to his kindness to them.
Bartimaeus called out to Jesus over the noise of the crowd, “Son of David, have mercy on me,” and asked directly, “Lord I want to see.”
Jairus, a synagogue leader, humbled himself to come to Jesus openly, begging for his daughter to be healed.
Along the way to Jairus’s daughter, the woman with the issue of blood braved the crushing crowd, to touch Jesus.
But in the case of the paralytic, Jesus seems to initiate everything. Jesus sees the man. He discovers how long he has been there. He singles him out. He questions him. He heals him.
Another common element of other miracles is a moment in which Jesus comments on the person’s faith. That is absent in this account as well. The paralyzed man’s faith is questionable—perhaps so weak that only Jesus could see it.
Sometimes, a miracle is the beginning of a journey of faith instead of the end. Perhaps the reason Jesus told the man to pick up his mat and walk, was so that he would not be able to come back to the same spot in which he had been lying for years.
In the case of the paralyzed man, Jesus wasn’t done with him after being healed. Jesus once more sought him out. Jesus found him in the Temple—a place the man was forbidden to go before being healed. There Jesus called him to repentance and warned him that there were worse things than being paralyzed by a pool for 38 years. Jesus had more for this man than simply taking up his mat and walking. He has more for us too.
Jesus sought us out when we were paralyzed and deformed by sin. Though our faith might have been so small only he could detect it, he healed us, granting us access to God at the Temple. But he isn’t done with us after this miracle. He still seeks us out. To warn us, to call us to continued repentance, to transform our lives.
Jesus isn’t done with us after the miracle of our salvation. When we take up our mat and walk, we are just beginning to follow him in faith.
Pick up your mat and walk. Then take up your cross and follow him.
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