“One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath.”
John 5:5-9 ESV
Do you want to be healed? The answer is more complicated than you think.
Take a moment and ask yourself, “Do I want to be healed?” Then, record your response.
Before your automatic, “Uh, of course! Who doesn’t want to be healed?”, think about this:
What would change if you were healed?
Excuses would expire. Expectations would increase. Routines would be disrupted.
Your life would drastically change.
Let’s look at the invalid’s life. While he seems to have positioned himself in the proximity of a healing angel, he’s also prepped himself with pre-recited pretexts for his prolonged paralysis. He’s so close, yet so far; and his intentions are unclear. So Jesus asks him, “Do you want to be healed?”
Jesus asks him if he wants to be healed because at that moment, the man seems satisfied in his situation. He’s got an answer for the perturbed looks on people’s faces; as they scrunch their eyebrows and ask one another, “He’s been sitting there, how long again? Thirty-eight years?”
“While I am going, another one steps down before me.”
His illness, his identity – the man who deserves your pity. And he’s achieved the half-hearted healing that hitches along with acceptance. He’s come to accept his ailment and his perpetual position in the back of the line.
After all, his existence, while stagnant, isn’t difficult.
In fact, it would even be safe to say that even in his current state, he is blessed! It seems God has been providing for him all these years – despite his inability to stand or walk or work, he’s been fed. After all, he’s still alive. He can be grateful in this state! He can rest! He can talk about God’s faithfulness and provision!
But is he healed?
According to Jesus, he isn’t.
Jesus’ questions are always worthy to wade in because Jesus asks us the questions that we need to ask ourselves. When Jesus asks him, “Do you want to be healed?”, it’s because the man doesn’t quite know anymore.
Do I want to be healed? I’m not so sure anymore.
I’m pretty comfortable here on this mat. I get enough food, I get to talk to people every now and then. I enjoy the comfort of predictability. Do I want to change?
Oh, the lies we’ve rehearsed in our minds to excuse away our demise.
On the mat, the man survives.
But with feet on the ground, hands carrying His mat, the man can glorify God.
Are you shooing away your healing out of self-professed piety?
Surrender your fears and be healed. Get up, take up your bed, and walk.
Or, simply let your story of God’s glory pass before your very eyes.