There was a thirty-eight year old man who had been crippled. He sat by the pool of Bethesda waiting for the waters to be stirred by an angel because whoever made it to the waters first became healed. However, every time the waters were stirred, the man couldn’t make it alone to the water because no one would help him. There was someone else who always beat him to the water thus resulting in waiting again and again. The man seemed hopeless year after year without change. Jesus came one day, listened to the man’s excuses and then asked him if he would like to be healed. Jesus then ordered the man to stand up, walk and go home. Instantly the man was healed so he rolled up his mat and began walking. However it being a holy day the Jewish leaders thought it was wrong to carry one’s sleeping mat and approached the man. The man went on to reply, Jesus told me to do this and I was healed. When Jesus came into the temple and saw the man again told him, “Now you are well; don’t sin as you did before, or something even worse may happen to you.”
Let us reason together on this story. I wonder what happened to the man in the first place to make him in the state he was in. Was it because of sin or was it the way he was born? Why did the man use excuse after excuse to explain the shape he was in. Why did he just wait around and expect others to help him get to where he needed to be? As we can see, once the man met Jesus his life changed. He followed the commandment even when it went against Jewish tradition to be made whole. Then Jesus tells him not to sin again, expecting the man to live right or something else might happen to him worse off than before.
Can we apply this story to our lives. Do we keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result? Insanity, yes? Long enough! Do we use excuses why we can’t do this or that? Do we just lay around and hope that someone feels sorry enough for us to help us get to our blessings? Long enough! Then when others are blessed we beat ourselves up and wonder why they got blessed first as if it was a race to see who gets a piece of the pie first? Long enough! Why do people believe just because someone else is blessed they miss out on having a piece of the pie? Don’t you know God has many pies, what He has done for one, He will also bless the other. God has given us Jesus. Jesus has walked into each one of our lives and told us to get up, take our mat and walk. Jesus is an action God. He promotes obedience, sacrifice and instructions for the future. He has given us His Spirit to lead us, to strengthen us for the task, to comfort us and to give us rest. We carry this with us. Jesus told the man to live right afterwards and He expects no less from us. It will be our sin that bounds us to a mat of infirmity, complacency and endless excuses if we don’t live right. Arise my fellow Christian, the time is now, it has been long enough! Live and claim your blessings no matter what traditions you have to break! Long enough!