Able to Rise

John 5:8-9
Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.  And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.

It was something he hadn’t been able to do for a very long time.  It was something he was seeking a cure for that as yet had eluded him.  It was something he knew was impossible, something he wished he could do, and perhaps something he feared he would never be able to do again.  And so he comes seeking a miracle cure at the temple but meets Jesus instead.  And when Jesus gives the command for him to rise up and walk, the man could immediately obey, even though he had nothing within himself to do that very thing just moments before.

Before, he could only lie down, but now he could walk.  Before, he was dependent, but now he was free.  He had struggled for 38 years, but now he was whole.  The change in his life didn’t come from his own efforts, because he couldn’t do anything for himself.  It didn’t come because he was more worthy than someone else, because he had no one to help him and it seems like maybe no one cared about his condition at all.  But Jesus made all the difference through His power and by His grace.

And when Jesus tells us to rise up and do something, we will be able to do it.  When we have no ability within ourselves to do what He says, He will give that ability to us.  He can get us to a state we would have never gotten to on our own.  He can make things possible for us that we could never achieve or gain without Him.  He has the ability to transform any part of our lives, to work in any lack or unwellness or need.  Truly He can change our whole lives.

What must it have meant to this man to have experienced the power of Jesus in his life that day?  How many things changed for him once he was made whole?  Where could he go now that he couldn’t before?  What could he do that he couldn’t before?  What could he focus on now that he wasn’t all-consumed with his unwholeness?  Truly Jesus has the power to transform us in similar ways.  By His mercy He gives us salvation and makes us new, but He continually works in us, strengthening and enabling us in new ways, to new callings, to new purposes.  All we have to do is obey that command to rise up and walk.

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