The journey of salvation is the result of a very simple choice. Often times it is the response to the gospel. The gospel is learning that Jesus, Son of God, born to a virgin, died and rose from the grave, in 3 days, on your behalf. His death is the ultimate sacrifice. It was done out of love for you. This sacrifice gave you access to an eternal and abundant life (John 3:16 NIV). There is one expectation for you in the matter which is to accept this gift. Will you accept this gift? Your response to accept this beautiful gift is known as salvation.
Contrary to the processes the modern church has created. Salvation happens the moment a choice is made. After salvation we, Christians or followers of Christ, are instructed to “lose our life for Jesus” (Matthew 10:38-39). In other words we should live a set apart life so that we may go into all the world and preach the good news to everyone (Mark 16:15 NLT) which is our walk.
Of course this comes from one of the Jesus’s miracles. It is found in most of the gospels but I like John’s account best. John starts off telling us that there was pool surround by 5 porches where the crowds of the sick (all kinds of diseases my emphasis) would lay on the porches. One day Jesus arrives and makes impact of a man who had been there 38 years with his disease. (John 5:1-6 NLT) I love this by the way. I love that it is never to late or we are to far gone to have a Jesus encounter. Jesus saw him and knew he’d been sick for a long time. Jesus asked him, “Would you like to get well?” During the encounter Jesus made a point to give the man an option. You can choose to be well or not. The man responds, “I can’t sir. I don’t have anyone to put me in the pool when the water bubbles up.”(John 5:6-7 NLT) Are you afraid to let go of the things that are keeping you ill? Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” Instantly the man was healed. He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking (5:8-9 NLT).
I love this story because we too are giving the option to be healed or not. We are given the option to stand, take our mat, and walk. To often Christians stop at the moment of salvation not realizing that we are called to a walk. In this scripture Jesus ask the man, who he knew had been sick a long time, “do you want to be made well”. Obviously, Jesus knew the answer but the conversation was to establish a bond of trust and faith. He wanted the man to seek him and step out on faith. This walk is very much a walk of faith and trust for us.
Now, in the past I’ve heard this message and people gloss over the fact that the man doesn’t give Jesus, who already knows the answer, a yes or no but a justification. I think this is a picture of how we, Christians view our walk. We justify why we are not fully committed to this walk. What if the conversation stopped, Jesus responded with a simple okay and walked away? The man would have sat there for the remainder of his life having a Jesus encounter but not experiencing Jesus’s goodness in full. The best way for Christians to experience the fullness of Jesus goodness is to share the gospel and watch its impact on someone else.
However, Jesus doesn’t walk away. In other words this call is bigger and much more important. He responds to the man with very simple instructions, “stand up, pick up your mat and walk”. Followers of Christ we are called to do the same thing. Jesus tell us in Matthew 11:29 “take my yoke upon you”. What is Jesus’s yoke? The lost. He is the one who will leave the 99 for the 1. People matter to Jesus. So for us, Jesus followers, true rest doesn’t occur lying at the poolside hoping for a miracle but when we lay down our wants, wills, desires, for the Kingdom we are taking up our mats and walking. We are called to stand (accept the gift), take up our mat (live set apart life), and walk (share the gospel).
Be made well today!