August 10, 2016
READ: John 5:1-17
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! (vv.8-9).
The small car shook as Frank pushed down hard on the accelerator while fixing his eyes on the headlights coming towards him. Having Christ-like parents who ran a counselling organisation, you would think that Frank would have had the skills to navigate his way through the trials and temptations of life. But his sinful choices, including the abuse of alcohol, had taken their toll, and he resolved to silence the shame and guilt. As he prepared to pull into the lane of an oncoming truck to end his pain, however, he was suddenly stopped by the palpable presence of God.
It’s possible to live in an environment of healing, and yet never receive healing for yourself. A man lying beside the pool of Bethesda had been sick for 38 years (John 5:1-5). Although only metres from the edge, he had no one to help him get into the pool to be healed when the water began to bubble. Though he longed to be well, someone else always reached the water before him and he remained in his afflicted state (v.7).
Perhaps you’ve sought healing from the wrong you’ve done against God and the shame that won’t leave you alone. Like the man by the pool, you’ve felt helpless and unable to get well spiritually and emotionally.
Jesus asked the man, “Would you like to get well?” (v.6). He then told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat and walk!” (v.8). At Jesus’ command, “the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking!” (v.9). Later, Jesus told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you” (v.14).
Don’t allow sin and shame to keep you at arm’s length from those who want to help you and from the God who longs to restore you. Find forgiveness and hope in His presence today.
365-day plan: John 10:1-18
Read Mark 2:2-5 and consider how some friends helped a man enter Jesus’ presence where he could be healed.
What past or current sinful choice has caused you to experience shame? How will you pursue the forgiveness and restoration that Jesus alone can provide?