“Jesus said to him, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’” (John 5:8 NKJV). The crippled man at the Pool of Bethesda had likely heard some of the stories about a man named Jesus healing people throughout the region. What he didn’t know was that Jesus knew about him too. He came to this poor man, lying by the pool in his misery and sorrow, and was moved with compassion. All Jesus asked was that the man believe his words and act on them. “Rise! Take up your bed. Walk away from this scene.”

Now this man, helpless and in despair, faced the biggest decision of his pain-filled life. A word of resurrection hope had come to him, and he was being challenged: Rise by faith and be made whole, or lie there in self-pity and die alone. He could have refused to move, thinking, “It won’t work. Out of this multitude, why would God heal little old me? I’m destined to die in this condition.” He had to believe because Jesus could not have raised him up against his will. It was now or never!

When people around questioned why and how Jesus did this, he answered, “‘Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do; for whatever he does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all things that he himself does; and he will show him greater works than these, that you may marvel’” (John 5:19-20). It was God’s will, love and desire to make this man completely whole.

It is difficult to believe God still loves you when you are down and weak or when you feel worthless and wonder why he even cares. It takes childlike faith to accept that love and say, “Lord, on your word alone I will arise and walk with you.”

You don’t have to understand all the doctrines about sin and righteousness. You may not even know Jesus in a deep and meaningful way. Don’t worry. Those things will come later. All you need to do today is take the first step of obedience, rise and turn to the Lord. “If anyone wills to do his will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on my own authority”(John 7:17).