38 Years…

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It is always surprising to me when the Holy Spirit uses something easily glossed over to make a point and it happened the other day as I was reading the familiar passage about the man Jesus healed at the Pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-15). There is so much contained in these few verses but they all pointed to one challenge for me. What got me to looking deeper into what John was sharing was verse 5…

John 5:5  One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.

Whenever the Lord uses numbers I always start looking for the meaning or where they are used elsewhere, especially when the number is not one commonly seen. Here was no exception, 38 brought the Old Testament into the picture…

Deut 2:14 And the time from our leaving Kadesh-barnea until we crossed the brook Zered was thirty-eight years, until the entire generation, that is, the men of war, had perished from the camp, as the Lord had sworn to them. 

It took Israel 38 years to finally “rise up” and be ready to enter into the Promised Land, just like it took 38 years for the man at the well to hear and respond to the Word of God…

John 5:8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.”

For 38 years the man had been waiting for someone to help him into the pool. He was waiting on someone else to help him out of his “circumstances.” Then along comes Jesus, who is always looking for those who are far away, out there on the edge. And notice what He did. He took the man out of the situation of waiting for someone to take him into the pool. He didn’t move the man to the front of the line, He took him out of the competition all together. He just told him to take three steps of faith… Rise – take up your bed – walk. He did and he was immediately healed.

Just like God took 38 years to get Israel ready to hear and respond to His calling, so the man at the well took 38 years of depending upon man before he was ready to hear the Word of God. He is telling us the same thing today as His Word is the same yesterday, today and forever…

  • Rise – set your faith on the very thing that you cannot do.
  • Take up  – take action, leaving no room, making no provision for failure.
  • Walk – you take the action because no man is going to do it for you.

Jesus was there in the present for the man at the pool and He is there for us today, standing at the edge of our circumstances saying the same thing to us…  “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.”

Once again I am reminded of the words of one of my beautiful sisters in Christ… You will never discover Christ is all you need until Christ is all you have (Corrie Ten Boom).

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