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; someone else always gets there ahead of 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.John 5 6-8
The story of the sick man at the Pool of Bethesda is an interesting one. It was the Sabbath, and Jesus showed up to this place full of invalids and needy people not by accident. He healed just one man and before anyone could process any of it, He was gone. The man didn’t even know who had healed him. Verse 13 tells us that Jesus left because of the great multitude of people gathered there.
Well, this is confusing. Why would Jesus just choose one person? Why would He leave so abruptly? Was this all just random walking around and healing?
John soon explains to us in the next verse that Jesus found him (the man he healed) in the temple. Jesus came to this man a second time. He tells the man in verse 14, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”
Yikes. The healing wasn’t random after all. Jesus is always after more than just our physical well-being. Go and sin no more, you are healed, now you must also be holy.
When Jesus asks us “do you want to be well?” it isn’t a rhetorical question. There are indeed many who do not want to be made fully and wholly well. Sure, many want the benefits of the healing… but what about that next step? How easy it is to make all the excuses.
The man at the pool said something really interesting: “someone else always gets there before me.” He keeps missing out. He’s at the back of the line. How easily it is in our crazy competitive culture to feel like we are at the back of all the proverbial lines. Our best isn’t enough. We can’t be just ‘good’, we have to be the absolute best to get anywhere at all. Or we give up entirely like this fellow at the side of the pool.
Jesus skipped over all of it when He asked the simple question, “Do you want to be well?” Yes or no? He seeks us out. He finds us when we have sidelined ourselves and He offers us a way back in the game. It comes at a cost, though.
“Go and sin no more.”
He heals us for holiness.
We can make life about a lot of things… success, status, hard work, family. For the believer, life is first and foremost about God. We don’t have to sit at the back of the line unchanged and wallowing in our sin.
But we have to choose Him. Over and over. We come on His terms or not at all.
“They want to be blessed by God, but they want God to bless them on their terms. They look to God for victory, but they will not pick up their crosses. I am not preaching a gloomy religion to you. I am only telling you there must be a new direction set. We must seek the Lord. One glimpse of His face will take away all our carnal desires for anything less than that.”AW Tozer