Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Shepastor: “You Can Get Up, but Will You?”

1Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 2Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesdaa and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.b 5One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” 7“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” 8Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. John 5: 1-9, NIV
Artists often depict Jesus as a soft, demure, gentle spirit hanging out with sheep or knocking on a wooden door with no handle. I’ve not seen too many pictures of Jesus throwing the money changers out of the temple or telling a sick man to “get up!” Yet the text above shows a Jesus that in so many words, cut to the chase. Jesus’ response to the man who’d been on a mat beside the pool, seemingly debilitated for thirty-eight years, appears less than compassionate. Jesus did not coddle him. He did not allow him to wallow in self-pity. He did not even encourage him to continue to talk about his condition. Jesus simply asked, “Do you want to get well?”
Jesus is asking the same question today. Maybe you, like the man at the pool of Bethesda have had debilitating experiences. Maybe you’ve been knocked down by family dysfunction, mean spirited individuals, grief, illness, financial duress, etc. Maybe you feel like no one has given you the necessary lift or assistance to get the healing that you need. Jesus simply asks, “Do you want to get well? You can get up, but will you? Will you make the decision to release the hurt, the pain, the past, take up your bed and walk?” Are you saying, “But you don’t understand. You don’t know what they did to me. You don’t know how I’ve been bruised. You have no idea how long I’ve waited for someone to give me a hand and help me to get over to the healing pool!”
Jesus responds, “Get up!” Jesus says, “I am the one that will heal you. Accept my outreached hand today.” No matter what your situation, with the help of Jesus, you can get up. Will you?
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Until next week, In faith, hope and perseverance, Pastor Chris

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