John 5:5-9 One who was there had been an invalid for 38 years. 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?” “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.” Then Jesus said to him, “GET UP! PICK UP YOUR MAT AND WALK.” At once the man was cured; he pick up his mat and walked.
Here again is a great bible account of Jesus’ healing ministry. But before we overlook something let me put some flesh into the skeleton. Here is a man, invalid for 38 years. Yes, 38 STRAIGHT years. And you are right…his second home is a Pool in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate. As it were, once each year the angel of the Lord came down to stir the waters at the Pool. Hence, the first person who entered after the stirring received their healing. But poor man, for 38 years someone else always outwitted him. Then one day, something changed. Jesus happened to pass by the Pool and learned about his fate.
DO YOU WANT TO BE WELL? Jesus asked him. But no, the invalid man’s answer was not straightforward but rather backward. He began by relating his 38 years of LOST OPPORTUNITIES. And of course, if he had lost 38 years of opportunity, the future as it were did not look promising. In any case, he had more losses to count and no gain to show. But notice this. Jesus already knew his long time condition before he asked him that question. In other words, Jesus was simply saying…in spite of the LOST OPPORTUNITIES, I AM HERE. I am PRESENT AND AVAILABLE.
I remember when Jesus happened to pass by my pool. This was 7 years after I had been in the Lord. Oh yes, for years I had grown bitter about my academic qualifications or rather the lack of academic qualifications for a particular job. You see, for years I felt obliged to help my parents to cope financially since my father got an early retirement. With five younger siblings, there was always need for money. And while for years, I wanted to pay my way into college for a particular career, it never materialized. With time, even though I never verbalized my feelings, my heart ached. And just like the man at the pool, when Jesus came by, I related to him all my lost opportunities. He listened but still maintained his question, ‘DO YOU WANT TO BE HEALED?’ I said yes and my heart was healed of bitterness over lost opportunities. And he did much more. He told me that HE WOULD LIFT ME UP BEYOND WHERE ANY ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS COULD GUARANTEE ME.
Maybe, that is you at the Pool? Perhaps, you feel your healing is long overdue but most unlikely? Jesus is right there saying to you, ‘FORGET ABOUT THE LOST OPPORTUNITIES, because I am THE OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME.’ Get up! Pick up your mat, friend and walk. Yes….move forward in HIM.
Blessings to you.