John 5:1-9: ‘Do you want to be healed?’

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie – the blind, the lame, the paralysed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’‘Sir,’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, NIV

It’s a fair question: ‘Do you want to be healed?’ Some people, I am convinced, ENJOY bad health. There can be comfort zones in sickness. Pastors sometimes wonder whether certain people who expose their problems (and sins) really do want to be healed. Or do they just want to vent, have a jolly good moan, get things off their chest, without ever having to go through the trouble of changing? There is also the even bigger question of, ‘Do you really want Jesus in your life at all?’ Do you want Him to re-connect you to God? Or does that appear just too pricey, not to say inconvenient? 

Could it be that this man was making an excuse for remaining in his invalid condition? (6). It may not be fair to ask this, but you can’t help but wonder. Whatever, out of this great heaving crowd of human need, it would appear that Jesus homed in on just one man and set him free. So we see Christ’s sovereignty in the work of healing.

You may have heard the joke, ‘How many counsellors does it take to change a light bulb?’ The answer is, ‘Only one. But the light bulb has really got to want to change!!’ There is something in that.

‘Are you a withered soul? Healing and wholeness are in Christ for you. Receive from him the power that waits to flow through your wasted muscles. Believe that it is passing through you. And act accordingly. Spring to your feet, roll up your bed, and carry that which has so long carried you.’ F.B. Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’,p.461.