“Jesus said to him, "Get up, take up your bed, and walk."”
(John 5:8 ESV)
After listening to the invalid share about his inability to get into the pool, that he might receive the healing he desired, Jesus addresses the man. However, his words seem almost cruel and uncaring. He simply tells the man to get up and walk.
Imagine telling an alcoholic to clean up his life. This would be cruel because he obviously can’t do this for himself. Imagine telling a blind man to see or a deaf man to hear. Again, they can do nothing to change their condition. Such a statement would be cruel because we’d be telling them to do something that’s beyond their ability.
But we fail to understand something that this man seemed to grasp. Jesus didn’t tell him to get up to insult or to mock his condition. Jesus also didn’t expect this man to get up and walk by his own strength or ability. Jesus told the man to get up because he had the power to make the man get up. He had the ability to grant healing.
It’s clear to me that the man understood this. It’s clear because, upon hearing this command, he didn’t grumble. He didn’t complain of his inability to get up, or continue to lay. He simply did as he’d been told. He picked up his bed and walked.
In the same way, we’re told to resist the devil not because we can do it on our own, but because Jesus can empower us to do just that. We’re told to flee from immorality and youthful passions not because we have the strength in ourselves to do it, but because Jesus can empower us to do it. We’re told to repent not because we have the strength or the willpower to accomplish this task, but because Jesus can empower us to turn from sin.
If we want to be healed, if we want Jesus to work in our life, we must trust in his power to grant that healing. We must surrender to him as he calls to us and follow his leading. It’s when we respond to him in faith that we’ll receive the gift he’s offering us.