"Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk" (John 5:8). This crippled man at the Pool of Bethesda may have thrilled to stories of Jesus going about the land healing. He may have heard other stories of Jesus, but he did not know him personally. He was trapped in his infirmity and did not recognize the Lord. But Jesus knew all about him! Jesus had come to him in his misery and sorrow, and mercy was about to spring forth! The Lord was touched with the feelings of this poor man's infirmity and all he asked of him was to believe his Word and act on it. "Rise! Take up your bed! Walk away from this scene!"
Later, after the man’s healing, Jesus would find him in the temple and talk with him. He would get to really know Jesus and trust him. But now, lying by the pool helpless and in despair, he faced the biggest decision of all his painful years. A word of resurrection hope had come to him and he was being challenged: Rise by faith and be made whole, or lie there in self-pity and die alone!
The man could have continued to lie by the pool in disbelief, refusing to move, thinking to himself, "It won't work. Why would God pick me out of this multitude to heal? I'm destined to die in this condition." Jesus could not have raised him up against his will. The man had to believe that his cries had been heard and his time for deliverance had come. It was now or never!
"Then answered Jesus and said unto them [Jews], Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth; and he will show him greater works than these, that ye may marvel" (John 5:19-20).
In essence, Jesus was saying to the doubters, "My Father wanted him healed, so I healed him. I do only what my Father wills." It was God's will, God's love, God's desire, to make this man completely whole.
It is difficult to believe God still loves you when you are down and weak! When years have been wasted; when sin has crippled your body and soul; when you feel worthless and displeasing to God and wonder why he would even still care. It takes child-like faith to accept that love, step out in faith and say, "Lord, on your word alone I will arise and walk—with you!"
You don't have to understand all the doctrines about repentance, sin and righteousness. You may not even know Jesus in a deep and meaningful way! But there is time for that; it will all be made known if you take the first step of obedience, rise up, and turn to the Lord. "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine" (John 7:17).