Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” (John 5:8)
In today’s Scripture passage, we find both a word of comfort and a word of challenge. Let’s take a look.
Jesus was in Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals and came upon the pool Bethesda near the Sheep Gate. This was the place where countless disabled people would be brought because it was believed that on special occasions an angel would stir the waters in the pool, and the first one into the water would be healed of his or her affliction. On this day, Jesus saw a man lying by the pool who had been paralyzed for 38 years. What happened next was as shocking as it is strengthening. Jesus looked at this man who could not walk, and told him to do what he simply could not do . . . “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
There is much to be gleaned from this account, but one thing is certain: there is a time in life when we are to do what we simply cannot do. Why? Because Jesus is calling us to do it! From our human perspective, Jesus often asks the impossible. This is the stuff of faith. If all Jesus ever did was ask us to do what we can do, faith would not be required. We would work out our lives in our own strength and not in the strength of God. We would live a purely natural existence.
There are numerous examples of this principle throughout sacred Scripture. Perhaps none is greater than when Jesus commanded Peter to step out of the boat and come to Him on the water. This was the time for Peter to do what he absolutely could not do . . . because Jesus was calling him to do it. And in an amazing leap of faith, Peter actually got out of the boat and walked on water! Yes, we know that Peter took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink, but that is not the point I wish to emphasize today. Rather than focus on Peter’s “little faith,” I want to show you something else.
Peter stepped out of the boat in faith, knowing full well that, humanly speaking, no one can walk on water. But Peter also knew that with God all things were possible. Peter learned many lessons that day, and perhaps the most important one was that there is a time to do what you cannot do.
So, where in your life right now is Jesus calling you to do the impossible? Listen, what cannot be done can be done when God in Christ is doing it! If you ask most Christians if they believe in miracles, they usually answer “Yes.” But if you ask those same Christians if they believe in a personal miracle, sadly, their answer is frequently “No.” Christian, please hold this thought close to you: There is always a miracle in the making when the Miracle-Maker is at work. And right now—right at this moment—Jesus is at work in you.
Perhaps this is the time in your life to do what you cannot do?
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!