“When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?'” John 5:6
The well-known story of the man at the Pool of Bethesda has been analyzed, critiqued, and given various explanations of why the man didn’t simply answer, yes, to Jesus. Still, Jesus told him to rise, take up his bed and walk. And the man obeyed. The man has another encounter with Jesus who clarifies that being made well involved more than his ability to walk. Spiritual healing was Jesus’ ultimate goal in the once-lame man’s healing journey.
Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” –John 5:13
If we focus only on the lame man’s healing of his physical ability to walk then we do not understand Jesus’ primary spiritual healing mission for the human race. Jesus’ second encounter with the man at the temple reveals that our hearts are His primary concern. The desperately wicked heart requires rescue and healing from the always-present disease of sin. The healed man was told to sin no more or something worse would happen. Our minds may naturally think of another illness worse than paralysis, yet, consider the loss of the man’s reward of eternal life.
Yes, receiving spiritual healing is contingent on our intentional rejection of sin. The first response of praying for the daily renewal of our covenant vow with Jesus places us in the right standing to be recipients of His love, grace, and mercies. The human effort of surrender and obedience keeps us on the Path of Righteousness where we begin and maintain an intimate heart-to-heart relationship with Christ.
The question is, Do you want to be made well? places us at the Spiritual Crossroads that requires a definitive answer to God. Truthfully, many believers do not desire to be made well because to be made well requires giving in and giving up everything for Jesus Christ.
One could never imagine that a believer would answer, no to Jesus’ question. The inner battle of surrender versus disobedience is our daily cross to bear. Hitting the roadblock of indecision [which is a decision] happens because of giving in to the full pursuit of one’s desires. Our life must align with God’s will. There is no leeway or compromise in our intimate journey with Jesus.
Without surrendering to God’s Conditions of Participation, we repeat the actions of the rich, young ruler who desired salvation on his terms. Sadly, with modern believers, there is a clear difference between us and the young ruler, although we turn away from the Spiritual Journey we do it without feelings of sadness or remorse.
Christ alone has the power to heal and transform our hearts into His likeness–Sanctification, the lifelong journey with Jesus is continuous. It will last up until the day of Jesus’ Second Coming. Read Philippians 1:6.
“What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD. Psalm 116:12-13