I'm going to blog about this story a little differently than usual. Please read the word (John 5:1-17) and below is the story with my commentary mixed in.
So Jesus is up in Jerusalem and heads to a spring called Bethesda. All around the pool are people who are disabled because everyone believes that if as angel stirs the water (aka the water starts rippling for an unknown reason) the first one into the pool will be healed. Of course, it's no big surprise that Jesus is hanging out around the outcasts seeing as he always heads to the people who need Him most, the helpless. So anyway, He sees this guy who's been lying by the pool for 38 years. For 38 YEARS, in case you didn't catch that the first time. So Jesus sees him and, because He knows he's been there for a long time he asks, "Do you want to be healed?" This may seem like a pretty obvious question seeing as the man is laying by the pool of Bethesda but he has, after all, been laying there for 38 years. Seems like if He really wanted to get well he might try to change his methods a little bit. Seems like even though He may think he wants to get well, the truth for him, and many others, is that we're so used to our bad lives that were scared of change and the responsibility that may come with it. Jesus is just making sure this guy knows what He wants before He gets it. He's prefacing the miracle and putting everyone on the same page. So anyway, this guy doesn't answer JC's yes or no question with a yes or no. Instead he gives an excuse, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I'm going, another walks down the steps before me." There is expression that says, "You can name it and blame it or name it and claim it." That would have been very helpful for this guy to hear seeing as he was naming it and blaming it (stating his problem and excusing himself from the fact that he is no where close to fixing it) rather than naming it and claiming it (naming his problem and how he is going to deal with it). Then, now that Jesus has affirmed that this guy does indeed want to be healed, He heals him.
"Get up, take up you bed, and walk." That is what Jesus tells the man to do. Now, since the bed was not actually a bed but actually a beggars mat for the disabled people, the man doesn't need it anymore but Jesus has him take it with him anyway. The mat is a physical reminder of what Jesus saved him from. It is symbolic of a scar. Scar's remind us of what we were saved from and give us a platform to share our stories with others. I think that Jesus is telling the man to pick up his mat to tell us not to keep our scars, and therefore stories, locked up as a thing of the past because although they might be a thing of the past for us, others are going through similar things and we can be what God uses to help them.
While we might not be disabled, we often have sick, lame, blind, withered days and those are the ones that Jesus can turn around. All we have to do is be willing to participate in His power!