The longer I live and the more I seek God, I can't help but look around and think we are a culture that's sick and we always have been. Jesus walked this Earth to show us our need for a Healer and Redeemer; reminding us that sickness doesn't have to stick. Jesus came to make us well. He bore it all--shame, drunkenness, sexual immorality, lies, theft. You name it and He claimed it on the cross. For a period of 3 days, Jesus went to the grave and He wrestled with the enemy. He took back everything that belonged to Him. On the 3rd day, Jesus rose up and He is saying to each of us, "you can rise up out of your graves and walk, too!"
Last Sunday morning, I heard a message preached from John 5. I've heard it preached before (three times in fact, all by women, and all different). I've studied it and it seems as though something significant has gotten left out every time I've heard it preached. Can I take you there for a second? Can I share with you what God has revealed to me? Thanks.
"Do you want to get well?"
Jesus spoke these words to the 38 year old invalid in John 5. This story of a paralyzed man demonstrates that wholeness comes when you encounter the Living Well that is Jesus. The paralyzed man spent his time as a beggar by the Bethesda well. This pool of water was significant to those sick at the time. It was believed that an angel of the Lord would come down and stir the waters, bringing healing to the first person to enter in.
Can you imagine the chaos? Maybe it played out like a scene from a Hollywood movie. Suffice to say, people were in a hurry for healing. The lame man never made it into the water; he was a sideliner in the splash zone. It was survival of the fittest and he was not the fittest. But, this man's proximity to the water would position him to receive from the Living Water.
The question, "do you want to get well?" bore so much significance then and now. During the lame man's days, begging was a profession. For 38 years, this was all he had known--to lay and beg, hoping that he could make it into the water. But then one day, the Water made it to him, and asked him the question "do you want to get well?"
Jesus didn't ask the man if he wanted to be healed. He asked him if he wanted to be well (healing is a byproduct of wholeness). By making this man whole, Jesus was giving him an entire new position in life, one where he would no longer have to resort to begging. Jesus knew that making him well would cost him something and was he willing to walk away from a life he knew well for something far better. Often times we take the incredibly gracious acts of Jesus in our life for granted. We sacrifice wellness on the altar of selfishness.
After the man was healed, we later learn in verse 14 that Jesus has a second encounter with him at the temple. Jesus says this (lean in, folks), "Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you." In case y'all didn't know, Jesus don't play. The correlation between being well and not sinning should be a sign to us that wholeness can't happen if sin still secretly hides out in us. Sin makes us sick, period.
This man was broken on the outside but even more so on the inside. I believe Jesus was saying, "I took the time to come to you and to free you (on the Sabbath--an entire different rabbit trail), don't become a slave to sin again....or else it may be worse for you." Maybe, Jesus was referencing his eternity. What could be worse than being paralyzed? Blind? Deaf? What I do know is that I wouldn't want to intentionally test Jesus to find out. Amen? See Jesus' desire for all of us is wellness on the inside. Wellness on the inside flows to the outside and the benefits are a better life...a life lived to the full (John 10:10).
Are you willing to give up the ways of the world for something better? Because if you are, it means walking away from your old habits into something new. And that something new will require your intentional effort. Jesus invites us into a better way of life and yet some of us are holding onto some old ways because we fear the letting go. Denying your flesh will cost you something but what you gain is so much greater.
He came for the sick; so, that means He came for me and you, too. Are you ready to heal from the hurt of your past? Are you ready to live a life set apart? Are you ready to sideline your sin? Are you ready to recognize your bondage and realize your breakthrough? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Are you finally ready to rise up out of your grave and run?
If so, He's looking at you saying...Do you want to get well?