John 5.2-9 Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk.
The journey of 1000 miles begins with one step
I’d like to share a personal journey with you and one that hurts to talk about, but I hope it helps explain just how amazing Jesus really is. If any of you reading this know me, you know that I have struggled with my weight for, well, ever. I have tried special diets and killing myself in the gym. I’ve tried special supplements and shakes. I have tried special coffee, and that’s it, just coffee. I seriously have done just about everything you can think of, but I still end up at about the same place. It gets to a place were you just feel like giving up and resigning to the fact that this is it. One day my pal stopped by to see me and squared up with me, looking me straight in the eyes. He said, “boss, are you done feeling like garbage?”, “you ready to make some changes?”. I look at him incredulously, because I knew what he meant, and said to him, “bro, I’ve tried it all, nothing is going to work”. His response hit me like a dumbbell in the chest. He told me that the answer was right in front of me all along, I had to want to change with all my heart and not just wait on some magic to do it for me. He said that God gave me the power to change but it was up to me to use it. I was honestly blown away by the blunt truth, but I was also moved. Something snapped inside of me and I decided that it was really time to start my 1000-mile journey with my first step, so I have.
There was a pool in Jerusalem that had developed some significant folklore around it. It was said that every so often an Angel would come to the pool and move the waters, and if you were the first one into the water after that happened you would be healed of whatever disease plagued you. It was a popular place and there was nearly no room to walk around the pool it was so crowded. Jesus stopped by the pool one day and instead of just walking in and healing everyone with a grand gesture, he walked over to one man specifically. Jesus had to have known something about this man we don’t. Maybe there was a stirring in his heart to do something he never thought he could? Maybe he was nearly ready for change but felt trapped by the long and terrible circumstances of his life. Whatever it was, Jesus walked up to him and engaged him. You would think Jesus would have just walked up, touched the man’s legs and told him to jump for joy, but instead he asks the question, “Do you want to be made well?” Like so many before and after, the man answers with an excuse, but Jesus pushes it aside. Jesus literally tells the man to get up and go! No grandstanding, no hyper encouragement, no rah rah, just get up and go. Guess what? He got up and went! That day Jesus put old excuses to death and replaced them with tangible reality, to simply walk away from that pool.
On today’s road: No excuse is going to accomplish your heart’s desire. Jesus could but usually doesn’t simply wave his hand and make your difficulties disappear. What he does offer is a hand up, and to walk alongside us every step of the way. What excuses do you need Jesus to banish today so that you can begin walking into your new life?