"I am your Man"

There lies the helpless cripple; for thirty-eight years no life or strength had quickened those palsied limbs into motion, and yet he had hoped, with a wonderful persistency, to be made whole. For did he not lie close to that strange pool which, troubled by an angel at certain seasons, yielded blessing to whosoever first stepped into it. But never did hope spring up into a flame in his breast but it was at once extinguished, for another forced his before him, and "HE HAD NO MAN" to put him into the healing waters (John 5). And so be lay in his helplessness, and his language might well have been: "O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"

How plainly illustrative is this man's case of those who long for the ability to live good lives, as they say, but who in bitter disappointment cry, "I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what l would, that do I not: but what I hate, that do I" (Rom. 7:14-15).

There is no strength for good in the life that is paralysed by sin, and every hope of deliverance from this condition of misery seems broken and vain. But it is a good thing to discover that we have no resources, it is the great lesson; for man's extremity is God's opportunity, or, as the old saying quaintly puts it, "God lives at No. 1 Man's Wits' End."

The paralytic of John 5 no sooner owned to the full his absolute hopelessness than he heard the Lord's command, "Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed and walked; and the same day was the Sabbath." The first true day of rest for him, when all his futile efforts after life and health ceased, and when he rested entirely in the grace and power of Another.

We recently heard of a native of East Central Africa who summed up this story in two sentences. They are these: The impotent man said to Jesus, "I HAVE NO MAN," and Jesus said to him, "I AM YOUR MAN." The African who so summed up the story had not only the gift of going straight to the kernel of the matter, but he must also have learnt the wonderful and soul-emancipating truth that all life, virtue, power, blessing, and deliverance for men lie in Christ, and that it is when the groaning, struggling soul ceases all his efforts and cries, "Who shall deliver me?" that he can at once give thanks to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Oh! disappointed seeker after good, lift your eyes to Him who is raised from the dead! He is your Man, your Deliverer! and if you have believed in Him you are now to be to Him, that in the power of His Spirit, which He gives to dwell in you, you might bring forth fruit to God.