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- Christianity, the Bible & Jesus
Jesus said...GET UP!
John 5: 1-14
5 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 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?”
7 “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.”
8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk. 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
The day on which this took place was a Sabbath,
11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”
12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”
13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.
14 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.”15 The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.
Excuses, Excuses, Excuses
When I teach this scripture to children I teach it as a miracle that Jesus performed. But if I teach this to adults there is soooo much more to learn. First - the backdrop of the story. There is pool surrounded by columns outside of a gate. Lots of people who were crippled, blind or with other problems waiting around the pool until the "waters stirred". It was thought that an Angel of the Lord would dip their foot into the water that caused the stirring and that the first one in was healed.
Now, if that was true today and I could dip my legs into a pool and heal them instead of contemplating knee replacement you would bet that I would have my butt as close as possible to the pool and I would try my best to get in that pool first. But here lies this man for 38 years. Really 38 years?? I have a bff who says to me, when I want to give the man with a sign asking for money to eat, a dollar, "Where did he get the paper and the sharpie to write that sign?" Well, I have to ask, how did the man get to that spot outside of the gate. Did someone bring him each day? Did he live there for 38 years - who fed him - did he beg for everything - 38 years. You mean to tell me in 38 years he couldn't crawl closer. I would have - I would have been hanging over the edge just waiting.
So now here is the interesting part. Jesus says to the man, knowing his plight - "Do you want to get well?” and the man replies "Sir, 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.” Excuses, Excuses, Excuses.
How many times do we make excuses for our conditions. Oh, I would lose weight, but it's so hard. I would be in better health if someone would exercise with me. I would be on time if you would give me a call to wake me up. I would join a Bible Study Group but I am so busy. On and on we go, to busy, don't want to do it alone, to hard, to difficult, not smart enough, not pretty enough and anything else you can think of.
BUT - what does Jesus answer - “Get up! (notice the exclamation mark) Pick up your mat and walk.” No excuses, in fact it was the Sabbath and technically picking up his mat was work but if Jesus said to me GET UP you better believe that I would get up. No excuses says God.
We build up excuses for ourselves, for our plights in life, whether their major or minor. It is easier to believe an excuse than the truth. That we are either lazy or lying to ourselves or others.
How many of us are that man on the mat. How many of us would rather live a less healthy, happy or fruitful life because it is easier to do nothing that to do something. I had an Epiphany of sorts with my own weight loss problems. My Pastor on Easter said that which enslaves us keeps us from God. And it is true for me. God didn't intend for me to be overweight. He intends for me to be healthy and to treat my body as a gift from Him. Yet I snack, overeat and don't get enough exercise and YES I make my excuses. My knees hurt, I am addicted to chocolate and I am to tired, I work all day. I realized on Easter that I was enslaved to my weight. Chocolate was my master. Since Easter I have lost 5 pounds, but it hasn't been easy. I was doing good for about 10 days and then I started slipping - I am hoping writing this gets me back on track.
What do I do now?
How do I stop making excuses. Pray. Starting everyday with a prayer is helpful - as I talk to God I regroup myself. I ask for help. I don't buy snacks and don't bring in candy to work. I GOT UP off my duff and even walk the dog, bad knees and all.
I picked up my mat and I am walking with it. When it gets to heavy, I turn to God for help.