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Jun 30th, 2022
By: Matthew Sink
The Gospel of John-Day 19

John 5:1-9 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, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 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.

Do you want to be healed? On the surface, that looks like one of the silliest questions Jesus ever asked! But dig just a little you we see that the question was actually profound.

Jesus and the Disciples were standing by the Bethesda Pool in Jerusalem – a pool believed by some to have magic powers. At some point in the past, someone at planted the idea that these waters have magic powers. Perhaps it was because of how the waters occasionally “stirred,” almost as if an angel was doing it. Maybe someone had actually gotten well, unexpectedly, and attributed the healing to those waters. In any event, people who were lame, blind, an paralyzed flocked to this place. Legend held that when the waters stirred, the first one in the water would be healed.

Of course Jesus came to this place, and of course He approached a man who had been trying to get in the water for nearly 40 years. Think about that. For the better part of 40 years, this man had clung to hope in superstition. Each day, someone helped him get to the edge of this pool to wait. Now, Jesus approaches with THE question: “Do you want to be healed?”

You almost expect the mean to say, “Duh! OF COURSE I want to be healed. Why do you think I come here every day?” But then, think more deeply about the question. Sometimes “getting well” means making an uncomfortable change. For a drug addict to get well, for example,  might mean more than treatment. It might mean hanging out with different friends. For a couple in a troubled marriage to get well almost always means learning to give sacrificially, which in uncomfortable and difficult – not always what they want. Even for this man to be healed meant to let go of easy superstitions and accept a harder reality: there is a real God who cares for me personally, and I am accountable to that God. Healing won’t be a “one-time thing.” It will include a life-time commitment.

So, Jesus’ question wasn’t so silly after all. “Do you want to be healed?” It’s the same question we all have to wrestle with, on some level. Jesus is standing before you right now, calling you to the wholeness – the Shalom – God wants for you. Do you want to be healed?