“After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”
The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”
Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.
And that day was the Sabbath. The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.”
He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’ ”
Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”
The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.” John 5:1-15
What a wild question. Jesus asked the paralytic at the special pool where people got healed in a certain manner if he wanted “to be made well”. The man had been in that condition for 38 years! What man in his right mind disabled for that long with the opportunity to get well would say no, no way, I don’t want to be made well? Turns out the man wanted to get well but he thought his healing would come in a worldly way whereas he needed Jesus Christ to heal him and needed to hear Jesus’ warning after Jesus healed him that the man needed to stop sinning or something worse would happen to him!
Let me be transparent with you. For years, in some of my hardest personal trials, I wanted to feel better but I didn’t want to be made well. I professed to believe in Jesus Christ but didn’t live my life accordingly. I prayed to God in Jesus’ name but didn’t want Jesus Christ. I didn’t want to live for Jesus. I was living for me. And the truth is I was so self-centered and self-pitying that I loved the drama I created and the attention I got from people while I constantly talked about my troubles. I wanted to believe in Jesus. I didn’t want to commit my life to Him. I was a believer. I wasn’t a follower. I didn’t want to be made well. And I certainly didn’t want to give up my sin. No, I didn’t want to be made well. I wanted someone to throw me in the pool where I could get magically healed so I could feel good and get in living the way I wanted to live. For self.
Jesus’ desire wasn’t to just heal the man. His desire was also to turn the man away from his sin. His desire was to set him on the right course. The right path. This wasn’t just about physical healing. This was about truly making the man well. And his wellness would include righteousness, would it not?
Today, by God’s grace alone, the Lord has made me well by turning me away from a lifestyle of being consumed with self and sin to a lifestyle of being consumed with Christ, from a lifestyle of being paralyzed by self-centeredness thinking somehow something or someone in this world could help and heal me by lifting me into the pool of this world and its ways to learning how to walk – by faith – in the Lord Jesus Christ, forgiven because of Him, healed by Him, passionate and desirous to live for Him. Always, day by day, learning to walk – with Him.
Do you want to be made well? Are you living for self, or are you living for Jesus? Are you looking to the pool of this world for a magical healing, or have you turned to Christ and surrendered yourself to Him? Are you consumed with self and sin – or consumed with Christ? Are you paralyzed by self-centeredness – or learning day by day to walk – by faith – to walk, with Him?