John 5:8-9a (NIV): Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
This man had been an invalid for 38 long years. He had tried cure after cure, all to no avail. He had only grown more discouraged and more hopeless, with each failure. Finally, he had become a man resigned to being an invalid his whole life. He still sought healing at the pool, but held out no hope of ever really receiving it.
But then came Jesus. Jesus had listened as the man explained that he really did want to get well, but that, due to his condition, someone always beat him into the water, in effect “stealing” his healing. But Jesus stopped his whining and excuse-making with a single, short command: “Get up, pick up your mat and walk!” The time for excuses and explanations was over. The time for obedience was here.
The man believed Jesus, and he could feel strength flooding back into his long-unused muscles. The stronger he felt, the more his faith grew. Finally, in the space of just a few seconds, the man felt fine. He stood up, rolled up the mat he had been laying on, and started walking home to share this amazing news with his family and friends.
Father, You make things so simple. We tend to want to complicate things, to dress them up with rituals, and rote prayers. But Jesus’ few words spoken into this man’s life, plus the man’s obedience to Jesus’ commands, worked a mighty miracle. Father, help us to worry less about “technique,” and to focus more on simply obeying You, so that You can continue to do mighty miracles in our lives, and through our lives into the lives of others. Amen.