Do you want to be made well? John 5:7
Jesus asked this question of a man with a paralyzing illness, lying beside the pool at Bethesda. The man had endured alone for 38 years and was desperate enough to try the superstition of the day- be the first one in the pool when the water is stirred up.
[Today we'll try double duty- a study tip AND a look at the question!]
As you read and study the story, make a note of the details.
A great multitude of sick people were there at Bethesda- dozens, hundreds perhaps, grasping at a faint hope.
We don't know what illness the man suffered from, or when it struck him, but I speculate it hit in childhood or his teen years because he had no wife or children. There were also no parents or siblings, or even friends. He was abandoned. Devastating illness does that. (Be extra compassionate and say an extra prayer for those who struggle with chronic illness.)
Jesus approached him. In the gospels, we usually see folks imploring Jesus to come and heal a loved one, but not this time. Jesus initiated this encounter with a question. We'll discuss that question in a minute.
Bible study centers around three overarching questions:
1. What does the passage say?
2. What does that mean?
3. How should I live or what should I do as a result?
There may not be a 'set' answer for each of these questions. Each time you study, the Holy Spirit may illuminate a different nuance or idea. Here's how I'll answer the questions today.
1. Jesus healed a paralyzed man.
2. He didn't heal everyone at the pool. For His own reasons, (which He never explained) He chose and healed this one man.
3. God is sovereign. I need to trust His decisions.
You may answer the questions differently. Next time I study this passage, I may answer them differently as well.
Now for Jesus' question- Do you want to be made well?
Jesus says "made". Made well. Jesus is offering to do the hard part. The man must simply surrender to it.
It's a yes or no question, but the man answers with an excuse.
Jesus performed dozens of healing miracles, each with a purpose. They all demonstrated His deity, His power over nature and its processes, but they were more than that. All sickness is a result of sin, not necessarily personal sin correlated with personal illness, but the world operates under a curse of sin. Cells go bad. Viruses replicate. DNA codes fail. Every miracle of healing is an object lesson for Jesus' whole purpose- to deliver men and women from the curse of sin.
At the moment of salvation, we are eternally delivered from the judgment sin brings, but each day we need rescue from the influence of sin. Jesus offers. Do we want it? Or do we prefer to give excuses?
BTW: Steve Arterburn has a great book on this question, Healing is a Choice