Do You Want To Get Well?
Do you ever think about how many questions you are asked on a daily basis? How many of those aren’t really important questions? Every once in a while a question comes your way that has the potential and power to change your life: for example, “Will you marry me?” or “Do you want to start a church?”
Questions are much more powerful than statements. To say, “I love you,” is very powerful, sure, but it tells you nothing about how the other person actually feels about you. If you wanted to know what they really thought, you would say, “Do you love me?” or “Why do you love me?”
Jesus asked a lot of questions of people for the same reason: He wanted people to wrestle with what they believed. He wanted people to verbalize what they were thinking. He wanted people to declare and choose where they stood.
The Gospels record Jesus’ asking more than 300 questions. Today those life-changing questions Jesus posed in his lifetime still beg to be answered.
One of the most life-changing questions Jesus asks is found in a story in the book of John.
When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
Ok, so Jesus walks into a pool area filled with disabled people, all of whom are counting on an urban legend that says an angel will visit the pool and, with the tip of its wing, stir the water, and the first person into the water after it began to move would be healed.
Jesus comes upon this Dude who has been an invalid for 38 years. Jesus walks into the sick ward, picks out one guy and asks him a seemingly ridiculous question: “Do you want to get well?”
Imagine what it’s like to be this Dude in the first century. The majority of his life has been lived on a mat that is 3 feet by 6 feet. He is dependent on everyone else to feed him, carry him, clothe him, clean him and help him get to the pool area. With no job and no friends, he lies by the pool day after day, so close to what he believes is the solution to his problems and not being able to do anything about it.
And not only was he suffering from physical disabilities, but on top of that, he had to deal with the social stigma of that time, where all the people believed he brought this condition upon himself though his own sin.
I think what Jesus’ question may have meant was, “Do you really want to get well?”
Believe it or not, some people would rather be sick. It’s not an ideal life for this man, but considering it’s been 38 years, he is comfortable with it. A lot of people, after long periods of sickness, seem to lose the will to get better or start to believe that things can never change. Not all sick people want to get well.
When Jesus asks, “Do you want to get well?” the lame man offers excuses. In his opinion, he’s tried, but he can’t. When I read that portion, I wish the lame man could hear me screaming at him through the pages of time, “Stop making excuses about why you can’t get well and look in front of you! You’re talking to the Son of God who has the power to heal you. Just say it: ‘If you can heal me, do it!’”
Jesus seems to have had enough of his excuses and simply commands him to pick up his stuff and walk away. This healing is not accompanied by the normal celebration. He doesn’t run, jump or shout. He just walks away, healed. He doesn’t seem to exhibit much faith. He doesn’t even ask Jesus’ name.
It seems that there is something bigger going here than just the “magical” power of Jesus. It seems that Jesus heals this man just to prove that He can. To prove that He alone, as the Son of God, has the power to make him well.
I think in a sense we’re all invalids. We are all sick in some way. Whether that sickness is being blind to God, struggling with years of baggage because of abuse, addiction or fear -our sickness has a way of paralyzing us. We’re all invalids, but the question still deserves to be answered: Do you want to get well?
Some people will choose to stay sick, not because they can’t get well, but because they don’t want to be well. Some of us will choose to stay sick because it seems like things will never change and our sickness is too big.
Human nature is to just say, “Well, I am not as bad as that guy over there so why should I change? I like being ‘who I am’ and doing ‘what I do’.” However, we cannot serve two masters and we have to choose which we will follow. James told us we couldn’t be “Double Minded”.
Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
So we can’t be double minded. What do I do now? Sex is my crutch, I hate it but I love it at the same time. I can depend on masturbating to relieve my stress and it has been my best friend for so long…
It has comforted me in times that nothing else could. I don’t want to be without it…
It is OK to grieve the death of our sin, it is actually part of the healing process, and believe it or not God understands.
If I want to be transformed I have to count the costs. What has this addiction cost me? Time, money, marriage, relationships, health, and closeness to God?
Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’
“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who do not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
So Jesus was saying give up everything for me and I will count you as a disciple. Not give up most of your addictions but all of your addictions. Or what? I can’t follow him. Ouch. That’s a tough one.
So are we seeing a pattern here? Aha! So God has seen everything that I have done since I was born? Oh crap! Do I have hope? Of course -because I have been forgiven for all my sins. Past, future and present… But do I really trust him completely? Do I have the Faith that God is enough for me? I am here because I have issues of abandonment and choose to medicate them with sexual satisfaction. This kept me from being truly intimate with anyone ever.
I have the H.O.P.E (Healing Our Past Experiences) that if I stick to the principles offered in the Bible. I can continue to recover and some day be healed of my sexual addiction.
So for those of us, who want to be well, be healed and be Set Free, God can do the miraculous. When we realize our sickness and believe God can make us well, we can and will be like the lame man, so stand up and walk.
Ask yourself these questions:
What causes some people not to want to receive help, either divine or human, with their problems?
What needs to happen for you to have a faith that can progress deeper and deeper? How does it help for more of Christ to be revealed to you?
What it is that holds us back? Is it fears? Busyness? Complacency? Bad role models? Not in a small group or Bible study? What is it for you?
What blocks you from increasing your trust and faith in Jesus Christ? What can you do to grow in your trusting faith?