Why did Jesus say “take up your bed and walk”? 

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By BibleAsk Team


The Story of the Lame Man 

“After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.

Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.

And that day was the Sabbath.  The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.” He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’” Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?”  But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place.

Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”  The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.” John 5:1-15 

“Take Up Your Bed and Walk” 

Jesus commanded the lame man, “take up your bed and walk.” This passage is very similar to the one in Mark 2:11. This brief and direct message stimulated faith in the sick man. Jesus seemingly made no effort to refute the superstition regarding the pool, nor did He investigate the causes of the man’s disease. Rather, by a positive way, He commanded the man to show his faith. The lamb man immediately obeyed Jesus and walked. 

The command “Take Up Your Bed and Walk” was significant because the miracle took place on the Sabbath. This is the first of seven recorded Sabbath miracles. Now for the first time Jesus publicly challenged the rabbinical Sabbath rules (Mark 1:22; 2:23–28; 7:6–13). He did so when the city was visited with many people for the feast. He illustrated His opposition of such traditions by doing a miracle and making it public by having the man carry his bed.

Apparently, the religious leaders did not care, that the lame man was healed on the Sabbath, but that he was carrying his bed, on that day. Jewish law gave stern rules regarding the carrying of burdens on the Sabbath. The Mishnah mentions 39 types of work that cannot be done on Sabbath, the last one is “carrying out from one domain to another” (Mishnah Shabbath 7, Soncinco ed. of the Talmud, p. 349). Another Mishnaic rule declared that if a man carries publicly “a living person in a bed, he is not culpable even in respect of the bed, because the bed is subsidiary to him” (Mishnah Shabbath 10, Soncinco ed. of the Talmud, p. 448), which suggest that carrying an empty couch would be regarded as a sin.

The scribes and Pharisees revealed that they were hypocrites and enemies of God and man (Matthew 15:9). Jesus said to them, you are “making the word of God of no effect through your tradition” (Mark 7:13). Jesus declared that “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). God designed that the Sabbath should be a blessing, not a burden on men.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team 

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