“Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, ‘Would you like to get well?’

‘I can’t, sir,’ the sick man said, ‘for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.’

Jesus told him, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!’

Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath, so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, ‘You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat’!” John 5:3-10 (NLT)


A man sat at the edge of this pool for decades. Jesus just happened to be walking by one day and asked the man a question. It seems like the lame man was full of excuses, but he was basing his reasoning on the only thing he knew. If he was able to get into the pool first, he would be well. He knew the process that needed to occur, but he couldn’t make it happen because of his inability to walk. Thirty-eight years is a long time to contemplate how to receive healing everyday. But, Jesus had a different response to this man’s reasoning. He offered him what he couldn’t have achieved on his own. He didn’t need the pool when Jesus was the answer. This man responded and walked away with his mat in hand. Yet, not everyone was happy about his healing. The religious leaders identified this man as breaking their laws. There were things a person could and could not do on the Sabbath, and carrying a mat was one of the things a person couldn’t do. They cared less about his healing and more about holding this man to an unnecessary standard and tradition.


We often view this example of Jesus healing the lame man by putting ourselves in the lame man’s shoes. Jesus can restore that which we are lacking. However, sometimes we find ourselves filling a different role in the story. We watch what God is doing in other people’s lives, and instead of celebrating the victories, we can start pointing fingers like the religious leaders. It can be tempting for us to judge the person holding the miracle when that has not been our same experience. God works in various ways to bring about victory in people’s lives. Just because He may work differently in someone else’s life doesn’t negate the fact that He is still working. Our lives become more fruitful when we follow Jesus’ example and extend God’s grace to people instead of holding them captive by a set of traditions. Jesus broke tradition to set people free, and He invites us to hold onto Him more than religious tradition as He works in the lives of people around us.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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About Hona Amer

I help people live life to the fullest. Check out my book, Smart Work U. Follow me on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram. In order to receive updates, subscribe below.

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