After the description of the pool of Bethesda, John goes on to tell us in verse 5 that, like the woman at the well, Jesus had His sights set on one man, a nameless man who had been an invalid for 38 years.
When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, Jesus asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
Now this seems a strange question to ask since most anyone who is ill or suffering would naturally want to get well, you would think! Especially after 38 years of it! But had the man grown accustomed to his life, broken as it was? Had he lost all hope of ever getting well? We don’t have the answer to these questions. But what we do know is that the man did not respond to Jesus’ question with a resounding, “Yes!”
The man responded, instead, by blaming his lack of healing on others as he deflected the answer to Jesus’ question by saying, “Sir, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in someone else goes down ahead of me.”
Do you know that the sin of blame is the oldest sin in the Bible? Do you know Satan still uses it today, and I might say quite effectively?
There are times indeed when we suffer for doing what is right. More often than not, however, we find ourselves suffering due to our own wrong choices and decisions. Be careful not to blame your situation or circumstances on others until you have allowed God to search deeply into the cracks and crevices of your own life.
And then know that God works in all things for His glory and our good.
That is exactly what He did for this man here. Jesus simply said to the paralyzed man in verse 8, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” And verse 9 says, “At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.”
Now, we are not told that the man believed. What we are told is that he was cured. At Jesus’ command, 38 years of agony instantly came to an end. Jesus cured the man of his lifelong illness and gave the man the ability to get up and walk, and the strength to carry his mat. This man truly represents every human being who is unable to help themselves without the help of God.
You see, you and I would not live if it were not for God, if it were not for His gift of life.
This is true for everyone, but the sad truth is that not everyone believes or recognizes this truth. And not everyone who is healed recognizes Jesus as their healer, though there is no other way to be healed. Instead, they choose to believe in self and self-sufficiency. These people appear to be self-reliant and dismiss any thought of the God who created them and gifts them every day with life and the provision for it.
Yet even in this we learn the nature of God’s grace, His unmerited favor. We also learn that He is kind beyond measure, even to those who remain self-centered and uncaring.
And on the other side, not every Christian is healed either; though, we also know that God is more than able. Yet in His sovereignty, He sometimes chooses not to heal. Even in that, though, we can fully trust that God knows best even when we don’t fully understand.
Each one of us is like those who lay by the pool, unable to do anything to save ourselves. We are unable to move forward because of our sin that paralyzes us unless Jesus comes alongside us and heals us of our spiritual infirmities.
Often times, as Christians, our sins create strongholds in our lives and thus impede our living life to its fullest, as God designed.
So let me ask you: What sin in your life is holding you back from living life as God has called you to live it? Are you given over to excessive or continuous drinking, drugs, gambling, gossip, a spirit of promiscuity, unforgiveness?
Whatever it is, Jesus is the only one who can heal you and set you free!
And so I ask you like Jesus asked the man lying at the pool for 38 years: Do you want to get well? Do you want to be free?