After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 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?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. – John 5: 1-9 (NKJV)
There is soooooo much good information about healing in this short passage of scripture. Here you have a man who has never walked in thirty-eight years. Imagine that. Waiting by a pool for thirty-eight years for an opportunity to be the first in a pool with a great multitude of other people, all waiting for the same thing. Their one chance to be the first person in the pool, so they can be healed.
Notice that Jesus spots the man. The man didn’t spot Jesus. He wasn’t looking for Jesus. He was focused on the pool and waiting for the angel. But Jesus walks up to the man and asks him if he wants to be made well. Hmm. That seems like a silly question, right? Of course, he wants to be well. That’s why he’s been waiting by the pool for almost four decades! Surely, Jesus knows this. And knowing that Jesus doesn’t ask silly questions, we should examine this.
Sometimes, when people have been sick for a long time, they have learned to live with it. They accept their sickness as a part of life. They say “it is what it is” and they take their medication. Keep their doctor’s appointments. Tell people about what they’re dealing with. Some like the attention and pity (whether they admit it or not). Keep in mind, I’m passing zero judgment here. I am just pointing out facts. When you’re dealing with a sickness, it can affect more than just your body. It can affect you mind. Your spirit. You can become hopeless, despondent, depressed. So, when Jesus asks the man if he’s ready to be made well, He wants to know if the man is at a place where he can give up the sickness completely.
How does the man respond? Well, what he doesn’t say is, “Yes, I want to be made well.” Instead he says, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” He responds to Jesus with an excuse. He’s still focused on getting to the pool. He doesn’t realize that his Healer is standing right in front of him.
We can be the same way. Our Healer is right here. We have a Bible filled with promises of healing. And we turn our attention to our version of the pool. Jesus tells the man, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” He ignores the man’s excuses. And gives him a command. Jesus tells a man who hasn’t walked in thirty-eight years to not only walk, but to pick up his bed and walk. Think about his legs. They had to be atrophied, no muscles, weak. In the natural, his legs couldn’t have been strong enough to support his body. But the man did as Jesus commanded. And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. Wow. Thirteen words packed with revelation.
Jesus ignored the excuses. Jesus didn’t speak to the sickness. He didn’t command it out of his body. Though the man had given Jesus an excuse just seconds before, he did as Jesus instructed. The only way he could have walked was to trust Jesus. He walked by faith. Faith that Jesus wasn’t going to let him fall, even though the Bible doesn’t say that Jesus helped the man to his feet. It doesn’t say that Jesus held the man while he steadied himself and took a few tentative steps. No. It says IMMEDIATELY the man was made well. Jesus didn’t just heal his body. He healed the man’s body, mind, and spirit. It all had to be made well for the man to be able to have the faith to stand up, then bend down, grab his stuff, and WALK.
Jesus is imploring us to do the same. He wants us to be well. He wants us to look to Him for our healing. Not the pool. The doctors. The medication. The prayer circle. All of those things are fine. And needed if our faith needs to be developed to the point where we can trust Jesus one hundred percent. That kind of faith doesn’t happen overnight. It comes from spending time in God’s Word. Knowing, that we know, that we know, that we know we are healed. And until we get to that point, we should see the doctors. Take the medication. Pray with friends. But never forget that there is One true source for our healing. And that source is Jesus. If we have the faith to believe, we can walk in complete healing from this day forward.