If Jesus sat down with us for some one-on-one time, what would we ask Him? More importantly, how would we respond to His questions?
Knowing He is omniscient God, the Living Word of God [John 1:1-3] who knows the “thoughts and intents of the heart” [Hebrews 4:12], compels us to answer honestly and fully. No hiding, deflecting, or excusing. Just honest answers.
John’s Gospel records several questions Jesus asked in His earthly ministry. By personally considering each of His questions, we face His same probing truth. By responding truthfully, may we be drawn into a more intimate walk with Him.
4th Question – Do You Want to be Made Well?
What a seemingly insensitive question to ask a disabled or sick person.
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… 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?” [John 5:2-6, bold text added]
From that large group of people, Jesus went to one. This reveals God’s specificity. Jesus knew how long the man had been there as well as his “condition.” This reveals omniscience. In asking this specific man, with his specific condition, this specific question, Jesus addressed something of far greater significance than physical healing or change of environment.
He questions the man’s motive and willingness to change.
Instead of emphasizing the word “well,” let’s pay attention to the word “want.” The first word focuses on healing; the second on motives. Jesus healed countless people. But in this instance, He probed the man’s reasons behind his helpless condition.
We don’t know why or how he got there. Thirty-eight years leads us to believe it was a lifelong illness. Possibly his parents dropped him off there as they could no longer care for him. Perhaps, in view of the excuses he gave Jesus, his parents became frustrated with his unwillingness to get help, try new remedies, keep going to therapy. What we do know is he encountered the Man who probes beyond human pretenses and gets to core of the matter.
Given the details and outcomes of the story, it seems Jesus asks, “Do you want to remain in your present condition or are you ready to allow Me to transform you, your environment, and your destiny?”
Instead of seeking our comfort zones and relying on lifelong excuses, may we pray, “Lord, help my unbelief!” [Mark 9:24]. May we forgive those who hurt us and ask God to heal wounds from the past. Above all, may we willingly surrender to God’s perfect will and allow Him free reign to move us toward His intended purposes.
Let us want to be well in Him—for all the right motives. Yes, I want to be made well!