January 3, 2016
Passage: John 5:1-14

John 5:1-14 narrates a story of a man who had been an invalid for 38 years lying by a pool believed to receive super natural powers to heal once in a year when an angel stirs its waters. The general belief is that whoever gets into the water first after the stirring will receive this healing.

Jesus approached this invalid and asked him whether he wanted to be well? The invalid man started complaining how he had no one to help him. Jesus then instructed him to 'Get up! Take up your mat and walk'. The condition of this invalid is similar to that of Africa, Ghana and the typical Ghanaian.

Like the man, Africa is not able to take care of herself. She needs foreign support. Just like the man who was restricted to the mat, Africa and for that matter Ghana is limited and restricted in many senses. Again Africa is suffering from dependency syndrome and is full of complaints blaming her woes on others.

Africa is an invalid continent hence needed the same simple instructions from Jesus.
The story revealed four causes of this condition.
1. The Context: The invalid man found himself lying amongst the blind. People who had no vision. Africa is plagued with visionless leaders. There were lame people surrounding the invalid man. Lame are those who are unable to walk and move forward. Africa is unable to make any progress in every aspect of her life. The man was surrounded by the paralyzed. People who are unable to do anything. Africa is unproductive.

2. Dependency Syndrome: Another thing that causes Africa to become an invalid is dependency syndrome. Most African Countries relies on foreign support to survive. The man in a similar fashion said I have no one to help.

3. Superstition: The man was waiting a supernatural stir of the waters. This caused him 38 years of his life. Africa, like this man is too superstitious. We have made God a magician hence wants to virtually conjure everything from heaven. Supernatural activities and solutions normally occur in limited ways. For instance the supposed angel will come down once in every 365 days of the year and even that only one person will be healed. Even Jesus healed only this invalid out of the multitude. Prayer alone will not fix the challenges of Africa for us.
Jesus is giving us a fresh orientation to resolving our challenges.
4. The Comfort of the Sabbath: This invalid was healed on the Sabbath and yet Jesus asked him to take up his mat, something that was clearly against the Sabbath rules of rest. Africa seems to be enjoying the Sabbath. We seem to have even been resting for 6 days and working on the 7th day only. This will surely aggravate our invalid condition in a perpetual state.

Jesus is by this story giving Africa simple three steps recommendations to come out of our invalid state.

1. GET UP!
The first recommendation is for us to be determined to get out of our predicament.

The mat represents the destiny of the invalid. Until Jesus intervened he was confined to the mat. But Jesus asked him to take up the mat...that which was defining his reality. For Africa to come out of our woes, we need to heed to Jesus' instruction to take up our destiny into our own hands. Nobody will fix our challenges for us but ourselves.

This means we must begin in a very strategic and systematic way make progress. One step after the other in a gradual manner. And we shall surely get there if we do not lose heart. Africa Get up! Take up your mat and walk!

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