Take Up Your Bed and Walk
We live in desperate times. Our nation is in need of a spiritual awakening and a revival among her churches. The Word of God tells us that there would come a time when that which is evil would be called good, and that which is good will be called evil…WE ARE LIVING IN THAT DAY! We live in a day where addictions run rampant…pain killers, drugs, alcohol, pornography, other immoral addictions, addicted to acceptance by one’s peers, addiction to greed and power, and the list goes on and on and on. We live in a world that is spiritually sick and dying, because it is made up of people that are either spiritually dead or spiritually sick. We need help! We need spiritual renewal. We need a real revival. We need GOD!
In today’s passage of Scripture we are introduced to a group of people, and one man in particular, who seems to be representative of the scenario I just described on a physical scale. However, I believe there is more than just a physical application here. No doubt, Jesus can heal physically if He so chooses, but His greatest desire is to heal us spiritually! In John 5:1-9 we see the (1) Sick Man, the (2) Sympathetic Messiah, and the (3) Striking Miracle
The Sick Man
In John 5:2-3 we find the setting of this event. The TIME is around a Jewish feast day, more than likely one of the three main Jewish feasts during the year. The PLACE is close to a pool of water situated near the “Sheep Gate.” Albert Barnes says that the sheep gate was the area through which sacrificial animals were brought into the city, therefore this gate was probably located near the temple.
The WHO is found in vv. 3 & 5. There are a multitude of people at this pool who cannot help themselves. They are what we would call “invalids.”
- Some are blind and they, nor anyone else can rid themselves of the blindness they have
- Some are lame. They are incapable of walking. They cannot change their condition and neither can anyone else.
- Some are paralyzed. Once again their condition is unchangeable.
- However, Scripture calls our attention to ONE MAN that stands out from all the rest.
- This man is DISABLED (see v. 5a)
- One man was there who had been an invalid… (John 5:5a)
- This man is DESPERATE (see v. 5b)
- …who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years… (John 5:5b)
- “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool…” (John 5:7b)
- This man is DISSAPOINTED (see v. 7)
- Jesus asks him if he wants to be healed and he replies: “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going down another steps before me.” (John 5:7c)
- He had been sick for 38 years and had come to a place that offered hope. Yet he is still hopeless!
Application: YOU might not want to admit it, but we are no better spiritually than this man was physically. As a matter of fact we are much, much worse!
- We are not just spiritually disabled apart from Christ, but we are spiritually DEAD apart from Christ!
- But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. (Isaiah 59:2)
- And you were dead in the trespasses and sins… (Ephesians 2:1)
- Apart from Jesus we have a Desperate Need!
- John 3:18b- …but whoever does not believe in Him is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
- Apart from Jesus we will always be Disappointed
Application-Your sin problem isn’t going to get any better on its own. You can pretend it doesn’t exist, but it does. You can look for your own solutions, but the problem will be there as real as ever. It will not go away when you get older, it will not resolve itself, it will not heal itself and there is only One cure. We see the Cure coming walking by in verse 6.
The Sympathetic Messiah
- Jesus knows his place
- “When Jesus saw him lying there…” (John 5:6a)
- Jesus knows his predicament
- “When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time…” (John 5:6b)
Explanation of Verse 6-Do you want to be healed? It seems like an obvious answer to the question.
Application-I think there is a desire in everyone’s heart to be free from this blight that curses us and separates us from God. There are all kinds of false hopes out there that are given to others. Some try to find an answer through religion, but religion only leaves them empty and still laying at the pool. Some have chased after so many answers they have given up hope. Some want to ignore their condition and it seems that they believe if they will only ignore it, it will go away. Others want to beautify their condition with “good works” and “good deeds” in hopes that these things will slowly erase their problem.
Verse 7-The man begins to give an indirect answer to Jesus’ direct question. “I want to be healed but…” I’m depending on someone to put me in the water, but someone else always gets there first.
Application: This man had a legitimate problem and the selfishness and problems of others hindered him from experiencing the pool of water that his hope rested in. We also have a legitimate problem. There are also many roadblocks and obstacles that keep us from experiencing the restoration of the soul that we so desperately need. Sometimes our problems persist and grow worse because our hope rests in the wrong place or person. Sometimes our problems persist because of the selfishness and problems of others that confuse us and hinder us from finding the healing and freedom that only Christ can bring.
The Striking Miracle
Verse 8-Then Jesus just blows the man away with a command… “take up your bed and walk.” He commands the man to get up. This man hadn’t gotten up in 38 years. He was an invalid. Yet the solution to the man’s problem was standing right in front of him. The solution to this man’s problem wasn’t a little pool of water…it was an overflowing fountain of water! This man didn’t need someone’s help to get him to the pool…this man had the divine Son of God speak healing to his body and would enable him to “get up, pick up his bed and begin walking around!”
Jesus’ healing did not leave him lying where he was and did not leave him how he was!
Verse 9-The man got up. The man was different, the man was changed. This all took place through the power of Jesus Christ!
- What does this miracle have to do with us?
- Just like his disease has messed him up physically, our sin has messed us up spiritually.
- We are in a helpless and hopeless situation apart from Jesus Christ who can take our sin away and give us abundant and eternal life.
- The mass of humanity is represented by all here at this pool. Needing desperately God’s healing touch. Looking for something to satisfy their soul. Trying to find answers and hope in all the wrong places. Under the wrath of God because they refuse to turn to and trust in their only HOPE!
- Jesus stretches His nail-scarred hands out to YOU today and says, “Take up YOUR bed and walk. You can have forgiveness. Your soul is broken and NOTHING, NOTHING else can repair it except ME,” Jesus says.
- There are many Christ followers who have stumbled and fallen along the way. They live in constant fear, they feel like they can never overcome their past and can never overcome certain habits or addictions. Let me ask YOU this…if it is God’s will for YOU to live a holy, godly, Christ-honoring, God-glorifying life, don’t YOU think He is going to provide for YOU the power to GET UP AND TAKE UP YOUR BED AND WALK?
- He says to the drug addict…through ME take up YOUR bed and walk
- He says to the girl addicted to the approval of others…through me take up YOUR bed and walk
- He says to the men and women deceived and disappointed through empty religion…take up your bed and walk
- He says to those who are consumed by lust and have their lives scarred because of past sexual sins…take up your bed and walk!
- He says to those who are trusting in their good deeds to get them to Heaven…You can only take up YOUR bed and walk through me!
- He says to those who try to laugh away the pain inside their hearts…take up YOUR bed and walk!
- He says to those who feel inadequate and do sinful things to try to please others…take up YOUR bed and walk
- He says to those who are being destroyed inwardly by bitterness…take up YOUR bed and walk
- He says to those who are living a double life and would hold their heads in shame if anyone found out…take up YOUR bed and walk
Philippians 4:13-I can do all things through [Christ] who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:19-And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.