RISE, TAKE UP THY BED AND WALK - by Gwen D Hanssen
RISE, TAKE UP THY BED AND WALK
By: Gwen D Hanssen
This article was inspired by a counsel session that I had with one of the saints in our church. In responding to her question about the scripture below, it became apparent to me that what I was sharing with her was something that we could all benefit from hearing.
"Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” (John 5:8)
This is a powerful portion of the Word of God. In this portion of scripture, Jesus healed the paralyzed man who had been lying on his bed for 38 years. Let’s pause here for a second and think of the faith that it took for this man to actually attempt to not only stand up and walk but to also pick up his bed! Wow!! Now, think of that! That's quite a tall order given to a man who was bedridden for many years. No doubt, his muscles were atrophied and he would have been extremely weak. Yet, Jesus instructed him, in so many words, to move, get up, stand up, and furthermore pick up his bed of affliction and walk! Just get a visual of that in your mind. Jesus did not say, "I know you're probably going to be slow in getting up because you haven't moved for so many years, so let me help you, and let's take it slowly." No! Not at all. Jesus simply instructed him to get up, pick up, and get moving!
Why do you suppose that Jesus wanted him to pick up his bed? I will tell you why. This man was ordained aforetime to be a living, breathing testimony to everyone around, and to every devil out of hell that Jesus has the power to heal, redeem and set free. This was a demonstrative expression of the power of the Almighty to bring healing and restoration through faith and obedience to His command and Word. The Lord gave this specific instruction so that this man could be obedient in his weakness and display his faith in ‘doing’ what he probably didn’t even understand. Undoubtedly, it took a massive amount of faith on the part of the lame man to be able to actually perform the act that Jesus commanded. Did the man who had been paralyzed and lying on his bed all of those years say, "No, Jesus, I don't think I can do that; after all, I'm weak and frail, and even though I may be able to move I doubt very seriously that I can get up and pick up my bed?” No, he did not. Even though he probably felt a little confused by Jesus’ command, he was obedient and did just as the Lord instructed. He stepped out in faith and he just did it. He walked, and not only did he walk, but he also walked with his bed! How miraculous!
Have any of you been feeling paralyzed spiritually as you find yourselves among the ruins and rubble of Babylonian captivity? (Let’s remember that after the children of Israel had possessed Canaan, they were carried off into Babylonian captivity. The word Babylon actually means confusion.) Back to the matter at hand, the actual definition of the word 'paralyze' means: to become wholly or partially incapable of movement. Oh, how the enemy just loves to cause us to halt on our spiritual journey. He loves to cause us to become transfixed or motionless, unable to advance, and unable to see the way forward. If he can’t get us to turn around, then the next best thing would be to cause us to stall or to remain unmoved or stationary in the same place, instead of progressing towards the ultimate end.
I see many who are in a state of utter spiritual confusion rather than being propelled forward, onward, and upward. This Babylonian confusion has served as a spiritual paralytic, or as a nerve agent of some sort to cause many to become numb and dull in their senses. One of the many tricks in the enemy’s arsenal is to immobilize us.
But Jesus never fails us. In the midst of all of the ruin and rubble, He is beckoning ‘the called and chosen’ to come out of paralytic captivity and confusion and return unto Him. He is calling for us to move spiritually, to pick up our bed, as it were, and to follow Him with the same passion and intense love that we once had at the very beginning of our journey when we saw the vision of Egypt to Canaan’s Land, and now we have been so blessed to see a furtherance of the vision onward to Zion. Thank the Lord Jesus that He never leaves His people without a living, breathing voice to show His people the way!
There is a call going out to a particular group of people to leave the confusion of Babylon (the sickbed of confusion and paralysis) and by faith, get up and get off of the 'sick bed' and begin, again, to run towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus to claim the Land of spiritual inheritance.
Just as the lame man had to act in obedience and faith to the command of the Master, so must we also act in faith and obedience to His call to arise out of the obscurity, darkness, confusion, hopelessness, and despair of Babylon which has paralyzed many, and WALK! He wants us to see the beauty and miracle in picking up our sickbed, humbling ourselves in obedience to the original call as we dust off our old running shoes and rejoin the race.
Rise up, oh people of God! Rise up!
Pastor Gwen D Hanssen