Who wouldn't want to be well? Right? I mean, who would ever want to remain sick if they had a chance to feel better?
If you think long and hard, you probably actually know at least one person who seemingly doesn't want to be well.
In fact, some people embrace their sickness like an old friend.
Go ahead. I dare you. Try to get them well.
Today's passage (still fresh in my mind from preaching on it) deals with a man who was sick for 38 years. He would show up at the healing pool of Bethesda regularly along with the multitudes of other invalids.
John 5:1-5 - "LATER ON there was a Jewish festival (feast) for which Jesus went up to Jerusalem. (2) Now there is in Jerusalem a pool near the Sheep Gate. This pool in the Hebrew is called Bethesda, having five porches (alcoves, colonnades, doorways). (3) In these lay a great number of sick folk--some blind, some crippled, and some paralyzed (shriveled up)--waiting for the bubbling up of the water. (4) For an angel of the Lord went down at appointed seasons into the pool and moved and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was cured of whatever disease with which he was afflicted. (5) There was a certain man there who had suffered with a deep-seated and lingering disorder for thirty-eight years."
Quite a scene. MY bible says that they would gather and await an angel who would stir the water, and the first one in the pool during that moment would be healed.
*WARNING* Some bibles do not include Verse 4, replacing it with a footnote, or nothing at all! If your bible is one of those, I strongly suggest you prayerfully consider changing translations.
Imagine the pandemonium. Everybody trying to get into the water first. People being carried. People being thrown in. People dragging themselves in. Some even just rolling off the side into the water.
One would think that if one wanted to be healed badly enough one would do everything possible to get into that water! Wouldn't one?
Everyone that is except the odd crippled man who was afflicted for 38 years.
Even Jesus, who happened to be there, was curious.
Verse 6 - "When Jesus noticed him lying there [helpless], knowing that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, Do you want to become well? [Are you really in earnest about getting well?]"
Here's the clincher. I am sure that for centuries people have been reading this verse and coming to basically the same conclusion about how Jesus meant His question. I know that I for one used to interpret it as a typically compassionate Jesus kind of question.
But one day I asked myself, "Why ask at all?" Who wouldn't want to get healed, right?
Jesus saw something. He saw it in the man, and He sees it all the time in people today.
Are you REALLY earnest about getting well?
We are going to pick this up again tomorrow, but until then, whatever you need healing from whether it be physical, mental, or spiritual, are you sincere about your desire and willingness to achieve it?
Who wouldn't, right?
You might just be surprised.
Keepin' it Real,
Pastor Kevin <><