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We conclude Jesus Heals The Man at the Pool Of Bethesda with a challenge for us to answer the question Jesus asked the paralytic man. 

Jesus Heals The Man at the Pool of Bethesda-3

Continued from Jesus heals man At The Pool Of Bethesda-2

After God had healed me of drug addiction, alcoholism, cigarettes, spending addiction and a generally unhealthy lifestyle, I gradually slipped back into a food addiction. Eating is one of the hardest addictions to overcome, because we can't quit eating. Other substances we can simply avoid, but we need food to stay alive. Like any other addiction, I built a wall of excuses around it so even I didn't have to face it very often. I knew God was speaking to me about this, but I managed to ignore it. I asked for Him to heal me of it often, but I continued the gluttony. I even committed to "fast" bad foods and make my diet a Spiritual practice…one I followed rarely, only adding to my guilt. I got stress disorder and did little in my diet to control it, then asthma, which gave me an excuse to do less about my weight. I got high blood pressure, which still wasn't enough to bring me under control. Every illness was caused by my unwillingness to do what it takes to be healthy. Every illness became an excuse to do even less. I was sitting right where I believe the paralytic was.

The paralytic and I were from the same town. It was the town of Excusiopolis, by the river De'Nial. We had become so comfortable with our sickness, the healing looked like a bigger problem. What saved us both was Jesus confronting our excuses with His miraculous power, and saying:

3. The Decision: "Pick up your mat and walk."

This direction from Jesus forced the paralytic to make a decision. 'Strange, it was, it seemed like this Jesus fellow could heal me, would heal me, if I just did what he said.' The paralytic seems to testify to us, 'I knew at that very moment, if I didn't follow His direction to walk, I could no longer blame chance or fate for my life. I could no longer ask for pity, because my future was in my hands.' It's like Jesus was telling him 'I'm not going to help you live in weakness when you can live in my strength'.

One pastor friend of mine takes this point too far, by saying "pick up your mat and walk." He means that the answer to everyone's sickness is in their own hands. They don't need a Physician. They just need to heal themselves; and if they don't, he has no time for them. That's not what Jesus did, here. Jesus literally healed the man. At the same time, he gave the man a choice whether he would live in that healing or continue to live where he was comfortable, letting others do everything for him. His back to the wall, the man chose to pick up his mat and walk.

Jesus put my back to the wall just as miraculously with my health. He gave me a disease I couldn't ignore, diabetes. Just like the paralytic, I had a choice. I could continue living in Excusiopolis, eating whatever I wanted, exercising only when I felt like it, and slowly eroding, losing toes, eyes, legs, kidneys and finally life. Or, I could finally embrace His healing power, the power I know He has, to change my life…put my diet under control, exercise every day, whether I feel like it or not. This is one disease that can be controlled by self-control. Down one path lies the calling God gave me to build an internet community of home fellowships, leading people to His power in their lives. Down the other path leads degeneration, failure and dependency. I'm not asking God to heal my diabetes because I believe diabetes is His cure for my true disease, food addiction. Instead of crying poor me, I'm following His direction to pick up my mat and walk.

If our faith tells us He is God, no matter what the cure looks like, we know:
Jesus will heal anyone who wants to be healed.

Jesus asked the paralytic a question that has rung out almost 2,000 years and has now come to you and I. Do you want to get well? If we do, we must be willing to stop living in Excusiopolis, near the river of De' Nial. We must open ourselves up to a new life, one that includes the power of God over our weakness sickness and sin. If we do, we'll be willing, just like the paralytic, to pick up our mat and walk.

Lord, we stand here before you as weak, broken, sick, sinful people. We admit we're utterly unable to heal ourselves. We open ourselves to your healing power and accept the changes your healing will make in our lives. We know this will open us up to new problems we've never faced or imagined before and we trust you to be there with us, carrying us through to your glorious kingdom in Christ Jesus. Thank you for healing us.

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