Belief · Faith · Healing · Hope · Uncategorized

A Valid Question

He waited by a healing pool. He had been lame for 38 years.  Scripture tells us that when Jesus saw him and knew how long he had been ill, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?” At first glance the question seems driven by sarcasm. Of course he would want healing, right? Maybe droves of people routinely passed by mocking his inability, and this felt like another jab at his already hopeless situation.

 

Why would Jesus even ask that question?

 

First, there isn’t any indication that this man knew who Jesus was, so he wouldn’t necessarily be acquainted with his ability to perform miracles. He may have asked purely to gauge the man’s desire.

 

Second, he was at a pool that had been known as a place of healing. When an angel stirred up the water, the first person to enter the water was reported to be healed. Clearly he wanted to be healed; otherwise, he would have just stayed home. Maybe Jesus was looking to engage the man’s desire and stir what faith remained.

 

Third, Jesus spoke to him using specifics. John 5:6 says Jesus knew the amount of time the man had suffered. 38 years is a long time to wait. But all those hours, days, weeks, months, and years of suffering were not lost on Jesus. Who else knew exactly how long he had suffered? This was a specific comment with an intended goal to break down the walls that pain would have inevitably built.

 

Fourth, Jesus asks him a personal question. He doesn’t reveal who he is to the lame man, which would have been reasonable {hello, Savior of the world; Messiah}. He doesn’t make the man answer a survey, or submit saliva {gross} for testing. He asks a personal question {pointing to the fact that he is both man and God} that probes the man’s faith. Maybe the question encouraged the man to look beyond his circumstances and forward to hopefulness.

 

Do you want to be well? The question brings with it a certain invitation to surrender and work. Accepting the reality of circumstances coupled with the movement required to walk in healing. That is both frightening and unnerving. 38 years is a long time, after all. Patterns are cut deep on life’s terrain after that long. Surely there was also some element of resignation to initial hopes and dreams. Maybe he felt defeated. Certainly he was skeptical because he had suffered a long time with no reprieve. Wouldn’t you be, too?

 

The man’s response to Jesus’ question is familiar to me. He gave an excuse about why he had not been healed. Jesus asked a simple question, but the man’s guarded heart didn’t allow him to answer so easily. Jesus’ response confirms his question was not asked to belittle or accuse the man. He didn’t even respond to the excuse. He said, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

 

Later in the story, Jesus finds the man and tells him to turn from his sinful ways. He healed him physically, but true, complete healing would come as the man pursued spiritual healing.

 

All too often-I struggle with self-sufficiency. I don’t mean to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders, and I certainly understand I don’t have special powers. It happens nonetheless. Functioning in self-sufficiency disables my vulnerability. It keeps me sidelined and unable to move forward; defeated.

 

Sidelined might be sitting around church (a place of healing) and hearing the sermon but not letting it change me. It might be sitting in a group of friends and choosing to compare what I don’t have to what it appears they all have.

 

A lack of surrender is often a catalyst for my seasons of self-sufficiency. My spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak, complacent, or indifferent. It’s like the old saying, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Oh how that feels too reflective of my decision making through the years!

 

Do you want to get well? A response is required, but so is action. Wellness may not be physical healing as it was in this story. It may look more like a posture of surrender, a step toward a strained relationship, or a willingness of heart. I don’t know what that might mean for you, but maybe it’s something to consider today.

 

The question was valid. Jesus was looking for an honest response, and hoped it would ignite some form of faith within the man. I’m encouraged by the direct, no strings attached, question. It reminds me that my Savior is not playing games.

He sees and knows my situation.

He offers healing and grace freely.

He extends hope in hopeless situations.

He transcends circumstances.

And, always the gentleman, he extends the offer and waits for our response.

 

Jesus didn’t belittle the man for his struggle. He opted to speak with authority, stir the man’s faith, and instruct him to be a part of the healing. The same invitation exists for us today. It was a valid question then, and it certainly is now.

 

Do you want to get well?

 

7 thoughts on “A Valid Question

  1. Another insightful piece Alyssa…surely everyone has felt the sting of being rejected or shamed when and by whom he or she would have least expected – and other more rare times when unwarranted favor or protection was found in an unfamiliar person? For me, one such time was in middle school; I was being picked on by a bigger kid when from off my radar came an 8th grader, a jock who put the bully in his place and told me to let him know if said bully bothered me again. I now believe that it was one of many moments in my life when Jesus was asking a valid question of me, “would you like to not fear anything?” Though in hindsight, there were to be many more scary encounters in my battle to adulthood, I see the mile markers where the Lord was calling me to something more than I could understand at the time. I believe that this bible story illustrates Masterly, what He now allows to occur between His believers, when given full access to our beings. Imagine Him using you to draw me into His favor and the contrary. Thank God, He still poses the tough questions to us – through His word and through the believers He has placed in our lives : )

    Liked by 1 person

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