I’ve been camping out in John 5 (see April 19 post: “Get Up!”). It just thrills my soul to know Jesus told the man, “Pick up your mat”. How many times have I quoted that very scripture (with variations)? You know: pick up your shoes, pick up your room, pick up your sweaty, smelly jersey, pick up your cereal bowl with the milk that has curdled and stinks to high heaven…..well, you get the picture. During all those years of raising four kids, I didn’t realize how spiritual I was sounding. (Neither did the kids, I’m sure.)
Jesus told a lot of people to “get up”, but He was also big on “pick up”. The paralytic in Mark 2 didn’t get to waltz out of that house with his new legs. Oh, no. Come right back here, buddy, and pick up that sorry old bedroll before you leave. And the disciples were told to pick up the leftovers after every one of those crowd-sized meals. Five thousand people could probably leave quite a pile of fish bones and bread crusts.
Jesus didn’t ask anyone to do what he wouldn’t do, however. This Easter I was reminded once again of my favorite “pick up” story in the Holy Book. The risen Savior was in the tomb, about ready to bust out of there, when He stopped, picked up His face cloth and folded it neatly, leaving it on the slab of rock. (John 20:7) What a Man!
The only thing that amazes me more is that He also picked me up. As the Psalmist wrote, “He picks up the poor from out of the dirt.” (Psalm 115:4 Message)