But he replied, “The man who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’” “Who said such a thing as that?” they demanded. The man didn’t know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. (John 5:11-13)
Read: 1 Samuel 9:1 – 12:25
Relate: There are some people who really hate the limelight. They will do anything they can to avoid it. I don’t get it. Go ahead and put that spotlight on me. I am comfortable in a small setting but if you put me in front of an audience of many then I will really start to thrive. I love the crowds… sometimes too much. So I don’t get those people who will avoid it at all costs. I can’t really understand the thought process of those who try to hide in the crowd.
My understanding of Jesus is as one who was comfortable in any situation. He was OK in the limelight, but He didn’t need it. He was OK with large crowds following Him, but only when they followed for the right reasons. When their motives seemed to be a bit off, He had no problem chasing them away. (If you don’t believe this, just hang on for a few chapters until we get to John 8.) On the flip side, Jesus was OK with just disappearing into the crowd. He made it a point to spend time alone, or to spend time with just one or two. He was secure enough in who He was that He could thrive in any sized setting. His mission was far more important than the pursuit or avoidance of attention. He is that perfect model for which those on both sides of the spectrum need to strive for.
React: With the lame man here, Jesus was more concerned with that man’s healing than in publicizing another miracle. The lame man’s well being was more important than getting credit or building a reputation. The Pharisees, who didn’t get the big picture were more concerned with their rules and finding someone they could punish than this man’s healing. First they tried to yell at him. He simply responded, “I’m just following orders.” That’s great, whose? He answered, “I don’t know. He healed me and then disappeared.” He didn’t stick around for a news conference. He didn’t leave a business card. He didn’t ask for a donation. All he did was heal me.
The Pharisees didn’t get it. All too often, we don’t either. God is all about bringing healing and restoration. We are more concerned with good theology. God is about making the broken whole. We are more concerned with following the right rules. No, our rules don’t look the same as those as those of the Pharisees. We have our own cultural mores and ideals. We have our own list of, often unspoken, do’s and don’ts within our Christianized subculture that makes us feel better than those who aren’t “in”. What once were great ideas to help us remain pure are now unwritten regulations that hinder others. God forgive us. We need to be ministers of reconciliation. We need to be agents of healing. Sometimes that means we need to get out of the spotlight. Other times perhaps we need to step into it. Sometimes that means putting aside our “rules” and simply doing what is right. Let’s start following Jesus again, no matter where it leads.
God, help me to follow You. Take me to those who need healing. Whether that healing is physical, emotional, or spiritual, help me to bring You to the need of those around You. If I need to step up to the microphone and shout Your Name, give me the courage to do so. If I need to disappear into the crowd that You might receive the glory, give me the humility to do so. If I need to be more disciplined in my personal life, give me the faithfulness to do so. If I need to put aside those “rules” so that I might reach someone where they are at, give me the discernment to do so. In everything I do and say, be my guide, be my model, and receive the honor.