John 5:1-11

The Healing at the Pool

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.  One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”

11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”


Jesus loved people more than he loved the rules.  The Jewish Law was very clear, no work on the Sabbath.  Yet, here in the Temple compound, Jesus healed a lame man.  Worse yet, he told the man to pick up his mat and walk.  This was a double violation!  Not only had Jesus broken the law, but he told the person he healed to break the law by carrying his mat.  The Temple leaders were aghast!

To put Jesus Love into action means we love people more than traditions or rituals. What might that mean for us?  To love like Jesus might mean changing worship style, calendars of events, dress codes, priorities for staff, location of Sunday School classes, etc.  You can make a list, but loving people like Jesus means not letting rules and traditions keep people away or preventing needs from being met.  It could mean laying down what we like, or what meets our needs.  Take up your mat and go love, regardless of rules or traditions that prevent us from taking up our “mat” and following Jesus.


Dear Lord, may I lay down my life, my preferences, and my traditions to love others like Jesus.  In Christ’s Name, Amen.