Why was this man laying on a mat? He was an invalid for 38 years (we find in previous verses). We don't know exactly what is wrong, or how it happened, but we know he's been in this lifestyle for 38 years. That is a long time to lay on a mat, begging for bits and pieces of food/coin/charity to come his way.
So Jesus asked him, "Do you want to get well?". Well, duh! Jesus, why would you ask that question?? Well, we know Jesus never asked a question to get an answer for himself, he already knows the answers. What was he trying to get the invalid to think about?
Oh how I love to lay on my mat! To be on the same mat, knowing how your day will go day after day for over thirty years is a comforting thing. Even if you are living a life of poverty, a life of sin, or a life of whatever, there is comfort in knowing what tomorrow will bring.
This man had many excuses as to why he could stay on that mat. If he got off of the mat, he didn't know how to gather food/work/live. Staying on the mat pretty much guaranteed a coin thrown here or there, or a sympathetic ear to your wailing. What would happen when he got up off of the mat?
Well the man found out. He got up, and after a while met up with Jesus again at the temple.
There Jesus told him, "...Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." (verse 14).
The poor invalid was now able to walk, and he headed to the temple (some time later). Now he was being asked to quit sinning. Why? I wonder what was going through his mind? Was he thinking, "poor pitiful me, I wish I had never met that Jesus"? Do you think he was trying to figure out a way to steal his next meal? Do you think he had thrown his mat down, lain on it, and was pretending to be an invalid again? Do you think that he was scared that all he had known for over 38 years had been turned up-side-down?
We will never know (this side of Heaven). All that we know is that Jesus said, "stop sinning" and "take up your mat and walk".
Don't lay there in your sin, feeling sorry for yourself. Don't look trouble in the face and give up. Don't rely on the charity of others to get you moving. Take up your own mat, grab Jesus' hand AND WALK.
God is so good to us. We are preparing to get off of our "farm mat" and enter a world where we don't know what tomorrow will bring. We will be relying on the goodness of God to bring us financial partners who will walk with us on our journey.
We are so excited to be heading out into this journey, and scared. I will admit that openly!
We KNOW what God has asked us to do, we just don't know HOW He will enable us to do it.
Please pray for us over the next year as we start walking.