John 5:8 - Jesus told him, "Stand up, pick up your sleeping mat, and walk!"
John 5:12 - "Who said such a thing as that?" they demanded.
In the book of John chapter 5 we meet a man, who was an invalid. The man had been lying by the pool known as Bethesda for 38 years. Other invalids too with various disabilities were at the poolside for it was said that from time to time, an angel would stir the water and the first person to step down into it afterward would be healed. Jesus found this man besides the pool and asked him if he would like to get well. Instead of a quick yes, the man answered that he had no one to help him into the pool whenever the angel stirred the water for the last 38 years he had been there. Others would manage to get in before he did as he tried to make his way.
Most of us would wonder why the man began giving explanations instead of jumping at the opportunity to get well. But how many times do we find ourselves explaining our situations to others maybe because along the way of life we feel judged as not putting in enough effort to solve whatever issue we have? Have you been putting in enough effort to find a job? If you had faith you would have already been healed…. why aren’t you married? Why are your children immoral and yet you claim to have brought them up in the ways of the Lord? Couldn’t you prevent your divorce……
Similarly, the man besides the pool at Bethesda had probably heard it all. When difficult situations remain unchanged for a long time, our areas of struggle and pain become touchy issues. The invalid man by the poolside probably had family, yet he chose to stay by the pool in expectation and in seemingly endless struggle. Maybe they brought him there in the morning and took him back at night or perhaps they brought him everything he needed there. It may be that because the angel stirred the water at unknown times, even the family members hadn’t been fortunate enough to be there at one such time to help him into the pool. However, his persistence is indication that he had faith, which he put to action.
It must have been a matter of awe when suddenly a hitherto incapacitated man was seen walking with strength and carrying his mat. How trivial is it then that carrying his mat on the Sabbath becomes a major offence to ‘those who matter’?
After this man is healed, instead of celebration, the Jews and Pharisees accuse him of working on the Sabbath by carrying his mat. They further accuse Jesus of breaking the Sabbath by healing the man. An obvious healing became a matter of negative debate. In John 5:42, Jesus makes it clear that the love of God was not in their hearts and therefore they were incapable of glorifying God for this sign that had happened in their midst. Further in John 9, we meet a man who had been blind from birth and Jesus heals him too. This healing happens on a Sabbath as well and what ensues is a negative debate and hate because of an obvious miracle.
Nevertheless, the remarkable quality about these two men is that nothing could shut down their testimonies as they told everyone who cared to know who had healed them avoiding the controversies about Jesus’ person, his breaking of the Sabbath, whether he was a sinner and whether they themselves were sinners or even deserving. They gave God the glory.
And so many times we too will get delivered from big and small challenges in life. Some will be due to our own or others mistakes and some are just the afflictions in a fallen world.
May you never allow the dissenting voices of the enemy to cloud your testimony to God’s glory. Always make your voice heard that God is able to deliver and in actual fact, He has delivered you. Remember you are responsible for giving God the glory so that others may know Him and Christ’s hope may circulate. Do it because God is worthy and in this way, your deliverance is sustained.