By: Jacklyn Vanderpool, LiveBeyond Evangelism & Discipleship Training Director
Originally published June 29, 2017
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is from John 5:2-15.
By the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there is a pool, called Bethesda in Hebrew, which has five colonnades. Within these lay a large number of the sick—blind, lame, and paralyzed [—waiting for the moving of the water, because an angel would go down into the pool from time to time and stir up the water. Then the first one who got in after the water was stirred up recovered from whatever ailment he had. One man was there who had been sick for 38 years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew he had already been there a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to get well?” “Sir,” the sick man answered, “I don’t have a man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I’m coming, someone goes down ahead of me.” “Get up,” Jesus told him, “pick up your mat and walk!” Instantly the man got well, picked up his mat, and started to walk. Now that day was the Sabbath, so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “This is the Sabbath! It’s illegal for you to pick up your mat.” He replied, “The man who made me well told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.'” “Who is this man who told you, ‘Pick up your mat and walk’?” they asked. But the man who was cured did not know who it was because Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. After this, Jesus found him in the temple complex and said to him, “See, you are well. Do not sin anymore, so that something worse doesn’t happen to you.” The man went and reported to the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
Jesus said seven words and the man was set free from his sickness. “Get up, take your bed, and walk.” Several weeks ago, I was gathering my fifty spoons and plates, filling my big Orange Gatorade cooler with water, and thinking about the places we could go that day. Typically pastor Sargesse and Mackendy chose where we go, but we like to have several options. When I had everything loaded in the back of the truck and a truckload of Americans sandwiched tightly in the back seat, we started bouncing down the road.
Pastor Sargesse mentioned that we should go to the village of Fodosh. I’m always hesitant to go to this village because frankly, it’s not much of a village, it’s more of a long road. It makes it difficult for us to set up and gather people around us. When we have tried it in the past, few people walked by and even fewer came to get food and listen to the gospel. As we were driving Pastor Sargesse had an idea to keep driving down the road and to go to Tet Sus. Tet Sus in Creole means the “head of the spring” and this area is a natural oasis with lots of trees, shade, and cooler air. They have built up a low wall to keep the water in to make a little pool. It is busy filled with animals drinking, people bathing, and a good place to hang out. It was the perfect spot to evangelize.
As we drove up, people began to gather, coming to get hot, nutritious food, and cold crisp water, all while having their spirits watered with the Gospel. Halfway through, Pastor Sargesse grabbed me and said there was a sick man. We walked up and this man in his 30s was sitting on a little mat under a tree watching everything around him. He said his name was Franceau and he had been paralyzed his entire life. Immediately the story of paralyzed man from John 5 came into my mind. A paralyzed man, sitting on a mat, next to a natural pool. It was uncanny, and I now I know the Lord was weaving together a lesson for me. We talked, shared the gospel, ate some food, and prayed for his healing. We prayed that he would get up, pick up his mat, and walk. That day I was struck at the purpose that we all have as Christians. We are all called to look like Jesus. We are called to step out in faith and proclaim healing. It is not that we are called to merely be associated with Jesus by wearing a cross around our necks or going to church. We are called to look like Jesus in word and deed. Just as Jesus healed, we too are called to heal. We have the same Spirit as Jesus. It is not in our own power, skill, or ability but rather we are proclaiming the healing power found in the name of Jesus Christ.
That day Franceau did not stand up and pick up his mat, but I refuse to be discouraged. Instead, I’m inviting each one of you to join me in praying for the healing of Franceau. Join me in praying that the Holy Spirit will rain down on Thomazeau. That people will be filled with the Spirit. That many signs and wonders will be performed. Pray with me that the glory of God will be on display and that none can deny the power of Jesus Christ. I want to step into the person that the Lord created me to be and the Spirit enables me to become. No longer will I sit on the sidelines and read about the power of Jesus Christ. I want to stand in awe of the might of God and see it with my own eyes.
“I assure you: The one who believes in Me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12
Plunder hell and populate Heaven,