Ross Holtz attends The Summit church:
Life, as we know it, is not a straight line from cradle to grave. Life is filled with situations and circumstances that force us to make choices about which direction we’re going to go. We call these turning points. These are times of crisis or a critical point where we are forced to take action to make things different. Turning points come in all shapes and sizes. While our lives can be filled with them, there are usually a few that are crucial.
The Gospel of John (chapter 5) tells of a man who’d been sick for three decades. He’d been sitting by the pool all these years waiting for something to happen, waiting for somebody to do something to help him. Most of us can identify. At times we find our progress stalled or our plans on hold while we wait for someone to do something to give us a hand or provide something that will make the changes easier.
Then Jesus enters this story. He sees the man and knowing the man had been there for 38 years asked him, “Would you like to get well?” Sounds like kind of a dumb question, doesn’t it? But we have to remember that getting well is going to change everything this man knows of life. And, as most of us have learned, change comes hard and even the best changes can bring unintended consequences.
If we think about it, this man had been taken care of his whole life. He wasn’t panhandling by the side of a hot, dusty road. He was living by a beautiful pool of clear, clean water with people providing for all his immediate needs. He undoubtedly knew all the people around him. It was a life he understood. Being able to walk would bring a new, and unknown, life. Did he, indeed, want to be made well? Not such a dumb question.
Jesus said, “…if you want to be well, stand up, roll up your mat, and walk away.”
This was his turning point. Jesus had given him the ability and the opportunity to completely redirect his life. But, on the word of a stranger, he’d have to make the effort to do what he’d never done before. He’d have to take a risk and attempt to stand. What if he couldn’t do it? What if he tried and fell down? What if Jesus didn’t really have the power to heal him and he failed? His current life didn’t afford him much freedom but it didn’t demand too much of him, either. If he stood up he’d have to take responsibility for his own life. He’d probably have to get a job. Would that be a good thing?
He was at the turning point. He could sit there the next 38 years of his life and never know what it felt like to walk. He could stay in his relatively comfortable and familiar life waiting for somebody to help him or he could take Jesus at his word and stand and walk.
How about you? Are you at a place in your life that you know something has to change? Are you at a turning point? The Bible never says that change comes easy. But it does offer to us the same kind of power that Jesus offered the lame man at Bethesda. Listen to what Peter writes: “Jesus has the power of God, by which he has given us everything we need to live and everything we need to serve God” (2 Peter 1:3). We can sit and worry, fret and cry out about our plight, or we can, by faith, stand, pick up our mats, and follow after Jesus.
Lord, give us the courage to stand up, the will to accomplish what you desire, and the faith to follow you even in a new direction. Amen.
See you in church.