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.
— John 5:8 NIV

Read the entire chapter here.

WOW! Day 5! So far in John we have seen Jesus call his disciples, begin to perform miracles, and heal people along the way. As we read John 5 we see Jesus interact with a man who has had a disability for 38 years. This man has been unable to reach the pool that people go to for healing. At least... until he meets Jesus.

a risk

Try reading the passage from the perspective of the man who is lying on the mat. You have been unable to move from your situation for 38 years; time and time again, you see people walking to the water and being healed, but you are stuck. Often we are stuck because of what has been done to us. Someone has wronged us or hurt us causing us to be outside of wholeness. Sometimes we are stuck because we don’t want to get up. We’re don't want to stay in our sin or situation, but at least it’s familiar. We can navigate complacency but asking for healing is unknown and a risk we aren’t willing to take.

Jesus asks the man on the mat if he wants to be healed. It starts with a choice. We can stay on our mat looking at the healing the Lord offers and the promised land he has for us, never trusting Him to actually give it. OR we can ask for help. Jesus never intended for us to be able to heal ourselves. Notice that Jesus asked the man if he wanted help. He didn’t yell at him for not being healed or being unable to walk. We are often the ones who punish ourselves long after we have already been forgiven by Jesus. We have the ability to get off the mat and walk, but we choose to stay. 

There are many great things we can learn from John 5, but what I want you to focus on is the ability we’ve been given to turn from our sin. By grace we are able to walk away healed. Jesus says “...the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does”. Jesus has the power to forgive and heal because God gives it to Him out of love. Out of this grace, we are able to walk forward as loved children healed of our sin. We are loved; not pitied, not disliked, not tolerated, and not a disappointment. We get to pick up our mat and walk towards Jesus. 


Jesus I pray that you show me the places in my life that I am choosing to stay on the mat. The sin that I live in because it's familiar. The places where I choose to stay because I don't believe you can really heal or really want to. I pray that you break open the box that I've put you in and show me what it looks like to choose the forgiveness that you offer. I thank you that you choose to love me over and over, sometimes even before I can love myself. Amen.

- Morgan Reed