Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie - the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’ ‘Sir’, the invalid replied. ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’ 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. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, ‘It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.’ But he replied, ‘The man who made me well said to me. ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ SO they asked him, ‘Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?’ The man who was healed had no idea who it was for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, ‘See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.’ The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well. - John 5:1-15

In this passage, Jesus interacts with a disabled man who had been lying on a mat near the same pool for years. When Jesus learns of the man’s condition, his first response is an offer: “Do you want to get well?” This simple question carries a lot of weight when it comes from Jesus because He is able to make us well. The man, in response outlines all that prevents him from steps towards becoming well but Jesus is not deterred – instead he extends an invitation: “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” And he walks.

The story is straightforward – but the implications of Jesus’ character and his position towards us are life-changing. We all have brokenness – we have things that we have sat on for a long time – we have a ‘mat’ that we have convinced ourselves we cannot get up from. Whether it is addiction, self-hate, anxiety\depression, distorted sense of identity – the list goes on – we all have brokenness that we sit in\have sat in. Often times, all we can see is the circumstances that keep us on the mat: the fact that no one will help us into the pool, the fact that when we try to get in, someone else goes down ahead of us (v. 7) – fill in the blank for yourself. Jesus is not hindered – He does not even address the man’s concerns – He extends an invitation: “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” (v. 8). Jesus is both willing and able to pull us off of our mat – to pull us out of our brokenness – to help us walk away from it.

A key part to notice is that Jesus doesn’t force the man into freedom and healing – He invites the man into it. When Jesus sees us lying in our condition he asks, “Do you want to get well?” We play a role in choosing freedom – Jesus is always extending the invitation to us – but He also gives us a choice. All we have to do is invite Him in – He does all the work but we make the initial move. But if we take Him up on His offer we can get up, pick up our mat and walk. So today I want you to think about these two questions: 1. What am I sitting in? What is keeping me on the mat? 2. Do I want to be made well? & then ask.

Jesus, thank you for seeing me in my brokenness. Thank you for being so good that your response to my brokenness is an invitation out of it. God I pray that you would reveal to me today the areas of my life that are keeping me from walking in fullness and freedom and that you would give me the courage to ask you to make me well. I trust you. In Jesus name, Amen.

- Megan McGarrah