This scripture is the narrative of the paralyzed man by the pool of Bethesda. For 38 years, this man was restricted by a condition. Year after year, his attempts to resolve the problem were futile. Every year, this man experienced disappointments. This man endured the cycle of disappointment. Disappointments in life are normal, they are natural; they happen to everyone. We go through cycles and seasons. Seasons differ from cycles in that seasons change with time. Just as we adjust our attire by the four seasons, in time seasons change. Cycles however, do not change in time; cycles change when you change. Like the men by Bethesda, there are cycles we may find ourselves in that will not change unless we do.
Change starts with your environment. Your environment has the ability to affect you. This disabled man dwelled in a place where others were bound and restricted by their own ailments. Abstain from places that drain you, friends that inhibit you. “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm”. (Proverbs 13:20) Suffering comes from companionship. Every destiny is individualistic; you are responsible for your tomorrow. Be interested in your tomorrow because you will live there. You will never be able to change that which you consider normal; resolve to make a change.
Scripture states Jesus enters Jerusalem and goes to the pool of Bethesda. (John 5:1) Bethesda means the house of mercy. The lame man dwelled in the house of mercy, yet he found no mercy. “The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”(John 5:7) Sometimes in the places of mercy, we find no mercy. The church is the house of mercy; we must be able to come into church and obtain the help we need. The church is a place of forgiveness and authenticity. Forgiven people must be forgiving people.
When Jesus arrived at the pool; the pool, symbolic of the Holy Spirit, there were people with various forms of disabilities; the blind, the lame and the paralyzed. Of the several maladies present, the Bible denotes these three; the disabilities most reflective of the problems present within the church.
Jesus arrives at the pool and bypasses all those who are also waiting and located this ailing man. That is favor. Favor is exhibited when God engages you in ways that you can’t explain. Our greatest response to favor should be profound gratitude. Like the leper who received his healing and returned to show his appreciation, when favor locates you, give God appreciation. (Luke 17:11-19) Do not take the blessings and favor of God for granted. Acknowledge Him for God takes notice of both the ungrateful and the grateful.
John 5:6 Jesus asks the man, “Do you want to be made well?” By this, Jesus inquires of the man’s feelings and thoughts regarding his situation. Your drive dictates your decisions in a matter. You cannot simply have faith, you must take action. Shift from apathy to advancement. John 5:7. The man retorts with an excuse. However Jesus challenges the man’s paradigm; “Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” (John 5:8) He beckons Him to advance.
Just as Jesus said to the sick man, we also must get up and walk. We must advance. To advance, you must overcome the barrier of discouragement from disappointment. Every year the man encountered recurring disappointment. Disappointment can lead to agony, but you must seek to break the barrier of discouragement. Like the sick man, despite discouragement, continuously go to the place of mercy. Be faithful in your efforts, for favor finds the faithful.
You must overcome the barrier of anger from lack of assistance to advance. (John 5:7) There are times you may have had to bear burdens alone. Though you may have received no help, God placed resilience in you to forge ahead alone. Lastly to advance, overcome the barrier of misery over missed opportunities. Let not the regret from opportunities you missed prevent you from moving forward.
“Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked” (John 5:8-9) At Jesus’ command, the man picked up that which held him bound and advanced.
The way to get over regret and the past is to create a better future for yourself. When you’re able to forgive and forget your pains of the past, your future can be bright.
Get up and advance!!