Faithlife Sermons

Pick up your Mat

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Notes & Transcripts

Today’s gospel speaks to us about timing and excuses.

The scene at the healing pools of Bethesda is one of futility for our central character.  Timing was everything at the pool---when the waters stirred in a certain way, it was time to get in and receive God’s healing touch. 

But this poor man we are told has been on his back for 38 years and unable to connect with God’s healing touch.  It seemed every time he got into the pool it was too late.  Jesus notices the man and his frustration.  He asks him, “Do you want to be healed?  Instead of answering, “yes” or “no”, the guy has an excuse:   “I do not have anyone to plunge me into the pool…no one will help me.

Jesus does not even acknowledge the excuse or wining.  Instead, he offers an abrupt challenge:   “Stand up! Pick up your mat and walk!”

Can we see ourselves in this frustrated man?  Do we hear in him our excuses for not doing what we need to do?

We all want to be closer to Jesus but we are too busy.


We want the poor to be feed and clothed, we want the sick to be cared for but we say we are only one person, and we have my own responsibilities, we really can’t spare the time.

There seem to be no end to our excuses of why we cannot get off our backs and start walking and following the gospel message.  This holy season asks us some very important questions? 

Just what is holding us back?

What new excuses can we use?

Do we really want to be healed?

Maybe today is the day that we pick up our mat stop complaining, stop our excuses and follow in Jesus’ direction.

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