While I’m in complete agreement that the healing of the disabled man at the pool of Bethesda is a wonderful miracle showing Jesus’ power, authority and love, I think the central point is not what Jesus told the man, but what he asked him.
John 5:6, “Do you want to get well?”
Our first thought may be that this is a silly question. They guy has been lame for 38 years, longer than the average life expectancy at that time. And for many of those years he has been coming to this place of healing. This routine had become his life. This illness had defined him. He had nothing else and no one else.
But those are exactly the same points that make this question so appropriate. If he is healed, then what? Who does he become? Who does he “do life” with?
Isn’t the same true in our life? How often do we lie to ourselves that things are “good enough”? When there is a call for prayer requests, is our first thought, “I’m doing OK – I don’t need prayer”?
Jesus didn’t require the man to make a statement of faith to be healed. It was not a quid pro quo deal – if you believe then you will be physically healed. The man did not even know who Jesus was. Jesus simply asked him if he wanted to be healed and then healed him.
But Jesus also did not leave it there. Now that the man is healed of his physical ailment, Jesus comes back to him and gives him the bigger challenge: stop sinning. Jesus didn’t make this conditional, in other words, He didn’t say I did this for you so you do this for me. He simply said to the man the same He says to each of us. Stop sinning. If you do not choose to “get well” spiritually, if you do not choose to let go of your sin problem, then all the other problems you have faced and insignificant in comparison. Physical and mental problems affect this lifetime only. Sin problems affect eternity.
38 years, an invalid. “I have no one to help me”, “While I am trying… someone else goes ahead of me.”
He first asked him, do you want to be healed. He then told him to “get up, pick up your mat and walk”
Convict me that I want to be healed. Heal me.
stop sinning or something worse may happen to you. I am convicted not to fall back into habitual sin