You know something, God always catches us. Don't be afraid to jump — don't be afraid to trust. His promises are powerful. His promises are sure.
When Jesus went to the pool of Bethesda by the sheep market in Jerusalem, he found many people who were physically impotent — blind, crippled and so forth. They were waiting for the “moving of the water,” believing they could be healed if somehow they could get into the troubled waters in time.
Jesus' attention was drawn to a man who had suffered 38 years with an infirmity.
He told Jesus he had no one to put him in the water when Jesus asked him, “Will you be made whole?” Perhaps his family brought him there each day to spend the hours in the five porches surrounding the pool.
Little did he know that day would be different, because today he would meet the Healer and Savior.
“Rise, take up thy bed, and walk,” Jesus said. There was no questioning, no faltering, no call for a lift — the man immediately rolled up his bed and walked.
Can you imagine the excitement of that man who had suffered this infirmity for 38 years, and now he was whole? The miracle did not go unnoticed by the authorities — not because they were glad the man was healed, but because they were mad about Jesus performing healing on the Sabbath.
And the man was actually carrying his bed — that was work — and so they told him, “It is not lawful for you to carry your bed. It's the Sabbath.”
“But you don't understand — I don't know who he was, but the man who healed me told me to take up my bed and walk.”
“That’s not the point. It's the Sabbath. You're carrying your bed!”
“Did you hear me? I can walk! For 38 years you've seen me unable to do anything but lay on my bed, and now I can walk!”
To the critics, the fact that the man was healed did not matter — Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, and that was not all. He had also caused this man to perform an unlawful act — telling him to pick up his bed and walk. Later in the temple, Jesus found the man — probably still jumping up and down. Wouldn't you be?
Jesus had more good news for him. “You're whole now and you have a chance to start over. You don't have to live that way anymore.”
Isn't that wonderful? When a person meets Jesus, no matter what his lifestyle has been — “You don't have to live that way anymore.”
And it happened with a simple act of faith — “Take up your bed and walk.” There had to be a deliberate effort to obey. That obedience was the result of faith in the One who can do all things.
The man at the pool of Bethesda had lived a miserable life, but meeting Jesus changed all that — he didn't have to live that way anymore. No longer would he have to be carried and left somewhere to while away the hours and be looked upon with pity or disgust. He could now live; be a part of the community; be mobile and be productive.
For the believer, the New Year is a time of promise and hope. We look forward to leaving the old troublesome things behind and reaching to what’s ahead.
In the Epistle to the Philippians, Paul says in Chapter 3:14, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” What a wonderful goal — the prize is the “high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Looking back, he says in verse 7, “But what things were gain to me; those I counted loss for Christ.” And, in verse 13, he continues, “... this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”
It’s not enough to make a list of negative resolutions for the beginning of a new year. The “quits” and “do nots” will guide a person for a little while, but the resolve soon weakens and the things we didn’t want to do are reactivated. I’ve heard that when you “turn over a new leaf,” it’s just to mess it up.
Worry makes the Christian’s hands hang down and knees feeble, but if he goes forward in faith, he can complete his spiritual race. He will be a person who has his eyes on the goal, following his calling with pleasure. The obedience of faith in Christ is the race before us — either win the crown of glory or have everlasting misery.
There’s no faith in going into the New Year with fear of “what might happen” lurking around every corner. We don’t have to live that way when our trust is in Him.