How Jesus Makes Us Whole
Jesus said to him, "Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man…to put me into the pool…. Jesus saith unto him, Rise…and walk. And immediately the man was made whole…and walked" (John 5:6-9).
The story of the healing of the impotent man (part one in the December 2007 issue) invites us to notice three things very especially. Christ’s question first appeals to the will, and asks for the expression of its consent. He then listens to man’s confession of his utter helplessness. Then comes the ready obedience to Christ’s command, that rises up and walks.
"Wilt Thou Be Made Whole?"
There could be no doubt about the answer of the impotent man to Christ’s question. Who would not be willing to have his sickness removed? But, alas, in the spiritual life what need to press the question. Some will not admit that they are so sick. And some will not believe that Christ can make a man whole. And some will believe it for others, but they are sure it is not for them.
At the root of all lies the fear of the self-denial and the sacrifice which will be needed. They are not willing to forsake entirely the walk after the course of this world, to give up all self-will and self-confidence and self-pleasing. The walk in Christ and like Christ is too straight and hard. They do not will it, they do not will to be made whole. My brother, if you are willing, speak it out: "Lord! At any price, I will!" From Christ’s side the act is one of the will: "I will; be thou clean." From your side equally: "Be it unto thee as thou wilt." If you would be delivered from your impotence – oh, fear not to say, "I will, I will!"
Take Christ as Your Only Helper
Then comes the second step. Christ wants you to look up to Him as your only helper. As the impotent man said, "I have no man to put me in…." Here on earth there is no help for you. Your soul is sick; your impotence to walk joyfully the Christian walk in God’s way is a sign of disease; fear not to confess it, and to admit that there is no hope for restoration unless by an act of Christ’s mercy healing you. Give up the idea of growing out of your sickly state into a healthy one, of growing out from under the law into a life under grace.
Delay and struggle will equally hinder you. Do confess that you cannot bring yourself to pray as you would, because you cannot give yourself the healthy, heavenly life that loves to pray, and that knows to count upon God’s Spirit to pray in us. Come to Christ to heal you. He can in one moment make you whole. It will not be in the sense of working a sudden change in your feelings, or in what you are in yourself, but in the heavenly reality of His coming in, in response to your surrender and faith, and taking charge of your inner life and filling it with Himself and the Holy Spirit.
The Surrender of Faith
The third thing Christ asks is this, the surrender of faith. When He spoke to the impotent man, His word of command had to be obeyed. The man believed that there was truth and power in Christ’s word; in that faith he rose and walked. By faith he obeyed. And what Christ said to others was for him too – "…thy faith hath made thee whole" (Matt. 9:22). Of us, too, Christ asks this faith, that His word changes our impotence into strength, and fits us for that walk in newness of life for which we have been quickened in Him. If we do not believe this, if we will not take courage and say with Paul, "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me," we cannot obey (Phil. 4:13).
But if we will listen to the word that tells us of the walk that is not only possible, but has been proved and seen in God’s saints from of old, if we will fix our eye on the mighty, living, loving Christ, who speaks in power: "Rise and walk!" we shall take courage and obey. We shall rise and begin to walk in Him and His strength. In faith, apart from and above all feeling, we shall accept and trust an unseen Christ as our strength and go on in the strength of the Lord God. We shall know Christ as the strength of our life. We shall know, and tell and prove that Jesus Christ has made us whole.
Do not expect at once to be proficient in prayer or in any part of the Christian life. No; but expect and be confident of this one thing – that as you have trusted yourself to Christ to be your health and strength, He will lead you and teach you.
Begin to pray in a quiet sense of your ignorance and weakness, but in a joyful assurance that He will work in you what you need. Rise and walk each day in a holy confidence that He is with you and in you. Accept Jesus Christ the Living One, and trust Him to do His work.
Abridged from The Ministry Of Intercession by Andrew Murray.