Rise and Walk

Blog 3.28.2022          

Rise and Walk

It takes a newborn wildebeest less than 15 minutes to fully stand and be able to run after it is born… what a remarkable feat! That is primarily because that is the pace in the animal world… an animal needs to be able to run and move, or it will be lunch for someone else. The consequences are indeed life or death if a baby wildebeest doesn’t have or can’t acquire that skill of moving and walking. The fate of the herd rests on this ability. The herd must be able to move in case of danger, and there is little room for pausing to reflect on the miracle of life.

Meanwhile, humans take a lot longer to master the skills of running and locomotion, and by watching my boys mature, this developmental process is an observable fact. In comparison, human children are not equipped to be born and suddenly run and move. We were not designed for this, and our maturity in this period of life is more suited to gathering information with our big brains than just reacting to a world based on instinct. However, there are times when we are perhaps too cautious; we become paralyzed by the myriad of choices and are reluctant to move at all. 

Throughout Jesus’ ministry, he would often heal those with debilitating conditions. These people we consigned to a life of immobility and stagnation. All that they desired was the ability to move. One narrative captures this well, giving us something else to ponder. 

Luke 5:18-26 
“And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, 19 but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. 20 And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” 21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22 When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” –he said to the man who was paralyzed–“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 25 And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. 26 And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”

Wrapped up in this fantastic display of Jesus’ power, the power not only to heal but to also forgive sin, is this paralyzed man. We often highlight the faith of this man’s friends who cut a hole in the roof and lowered their friend to the ground. However, the man’s faith is remarkable too. Jesus utters those fateful words, “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And this paralyzed man immediately picks up the mat that he had been lying on and leaves. This man gets on with living. He doesn’t question Jesus’ authority like the Pharisees did. He doesn’t ponder if he will be able to stand or argue that it is a medical improbability. Instead, this now healed man rises to his feet and goes home. All the while, he is glorifying God with his newfound mobility. 

For many of us, we have never had to think about how terrible life would be if we were immobile. It is such a foreign concept it doesn’t even cross our minds. We take it for granted, and even when we are hobbled for any amount of time, we think more about our pain than about our ability to continue moving around. Yet, in this narrative, a man has seen both sides and is overjoyed at what has transpired. The more liberating part and something that we should identify with is that this man’s sins were also forgiven. That is the more significant miracle; this is the part that the Pharisees struggled with accepting. 

This is what we should recognize. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we have seen both sides of this situation. We were once sinners, and now our sins have been forgiven. Yet, unlike this man, we continue to wallow in our former lives. It would be like Jesus telling this formerly paralyzed person to get up and have him respond by saying, “No, I rather like lying on the ground.” It wouldn’t make sense. So instead, our lives should echo Paul’s words as he writes, “We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:2)

Let’s be like the formerly paralyzed man and cast off the old way of living. But, let us also be like the wildebeest and not delay getting moving. Our lives have been eternally changed; we should recognize that fact and be excited about new possibilities and opportunities. So, let’s rise and walk. 

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