One day Jesus was walking by the pool of Bethesda, which was surrounded by various invalids. He met one man who had not been able to walk for 38 years. When Jesus saw him there by the pool, which was believed to have miraculous powers if you could be the first to get in the pool at the right moment. Jesus asked him an unusual question. He asked the man, “Do you want to be made well?” (John 5:6). At first the question seems a bit startling. Surly he wanted to be healed. But upon deeper reflection, the question goes to the heart of all of us. We all have our issues. Many of them we have lived with for 38 years. We have become so used to them, they have become a part of who we are. We may even nurse them, feel vindicated by them, and be deeply settled in them. Change seems impossible.
The first question we must answer anytime we are dealing with a problem is “Do we want to be made well?” The drug addict, the troubled marriage, the porn addict, the greedy businessman, the deceitful church leader, or the deeply indebted family all have to get to the point where they want to be made well. Sometimes we get comfortable with our sin. We allow our sin to define who we are and we feel the pain and cost to change is greater than the ease of staying in our sin.
The invalid answered Jesus the way we often answer others when they challenge us to change. He blamed other people. He said that he had no one to put him in the water. We play the role of the victim. We blame others for our predicament. We blame circumstances. We blame our family, friends, society, and even God. In truth most of these are just excuses. He said what we too often say, “It’s not my fault.” Jesus didn’t ask him why he was an invalid, he said, “Do you want to be made well?”
The powerful Lord of creation, after realizing his desire, told him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk” (John 5:8). The man was healed. He was able to throw off a 38 year bondage through the power of Christ. Christ healed him. Likewise, we can be healed through the power of Christ. We have to desire it. We have to quit blaming others. We have to take responsibility for our situation. We must recognize our sin and sickness. We must choose faith and obedience in Christ. Later Jesus found the man and said, “See, you are well! Sin no more” (John 5:14). Jesus instructed him to live a holy and righteous life.
So Jesus’ question must ring in our ears when we deal with the same issue over and over; “Do we want to be made well?”. Are we willing to change our habits and decisions that keep putting us in this situation? Will we quit blaming others and make better choices. We can be made well through the power of Jesus (Phil. 4:13). Do you want to be made well?