In John 5, Jesus heals a man who “had an infirmity thirty-eight years.”
Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. – John 5:8-9 (NKJV)
The man had to rise, take up his bed and walk. If healing were the only issue, Jesus might just as well have healed him and left him on his bed. This, however, is one of those cases where the Lord asks the healed individual to do something in response to the healing. He did so with good reason. Two things are accomplished by the man acting upon Jesus’ words.
1. The man’s faith is reinforced by his actions.
When we don’t act upon our faith our faith can more easily falter. Action draws faith out of mere theory into reality. A man walking, bed in hand, knows that he is healed. He doesn’t just think that he is. It’s very hard to doubt you can do something while you’re in the very act of doing it successfully.
2. The actions make it harder to go back to his previous condition.
Action puts some distance between us and our previous, weakened condition. It’s important to burn all bridges between where we are now spiritually and anything that once held back our growth. Otherwise we’ll be tempted to look back after putting our hand to the plow. We may begin longing for the delicacies of Egypt and forget that when we lived there we were slaves.