We refer to Jesus as the Great Physician. He is the one who heals the sick, restores sight to the blind, makes the lame to walk, and gives life where there was none before. No where in our Bible do we find an account of a sickness too great for Jesus’ healing powers. Never once does Jesus walk away and say this is too far gone. Nor does he ever say this isn’t a big deal, why have you bothered me about this headache?
You go to the doctor because you’re sick and you’re seeking a solution. You go to Jesus because you’re sick and you’re seeking a solution. Sick and tired of being sick and tired. Sick of being sad. Sick of being worried. Sick of being miserable. Sick of hurting. Sick of nothing changing.
I don’t know about you, but I’m super quick to pray for someone else’s healing, but I think of 10 other things before I consider that for myself. What if Jesus really just wants you to say very specifically today “I WANT TO BE MADE WELL.”
Now girl, if you are made well, you realize what you will have to give up, right? That means you’ll probably have to get some work done because your excuse to lay on the couch will be dismissed. You realize you’ll have to sacrifice the pity you receive in your sickness and you don’t get to be pitiful any more. The story you tell over and over again will have to be left in the past, because when you’re healed it doesn’t get to be drug into your future.
Isn’t that why Jesus asks “do you want to be made well”? Healing will require a release of many other things that become almost addictive to us. Healing may require an active participation on our part, and we may have been laying around miserable for so long that we no longer identify with being whole.
In John 5, Jesus, the Great Physician, comes to a pool where all the sick are laying, awaiting healing. There he finds a man who has been disabled for 38 years. This man had given up on his healing. He was only laying by the water because it was what he had always done.
Maybe you’re not laying by water, but you’re laying on the couch. You’re dragging butt through your days because that’s what you’ve always done. You’ve always lacked the energy to do more. You’ve always struggled with the confidence to do something different. You’ve always hid in the corner, or sat on the bench of life.
But my sister, what if it could be different? What if the rest of your life could be a different story? What if your healing begins with one thing? What one thing would it be?
Verse 6 “When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
Jesus begins with our desire. Do you WANT to get well? Notice it says Jesus asked this after learning that the man had been in this condition for a long time. He knew once we’ve suffered with illness for a long time, it becomes our identity. It becomes our only story. And we become dependent upon the pity. The excuses it gives us become our only crutch to carry us through.
DO YOU WANT TO GET WELL?
Do you want to be the healthy one without a single reason to sit it out again? Really think about that, because sitting it out feels kinda good sometimes, doesn’t it? It’s your ticket to get away with doing less … do you really want to forfeit that ticket?
Do you want to be the well one who has no worthy story of pity? Do you want to be the one who gets zero benefits because you have absolutely nothing holding you back?
This is why Jesus asks, because sometimes we’re real attached to our illness. Are you willing to trade that for healing? Are you willing to never use this as an excuse again? Are you willing to never stand out as “special”?
Healing begins with first the desire to be well.
God, we desire healing. We desire wholeness. We desire the ability to never excuse ourselves from the hard stuff again. We desire to never need this dang mat to lay around on again.
When Jesus heard the man’s reply of a legitimate problem with a genuine desire, an invitation was given.
Verse 7, the disabled man says “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.”
Genuine desire is shown here. He has been trying to get in the water for healing, but there is a legitimate problem. The problem is, when the water is stirred, only the first one to touch the water is healed, and someone always gets into the water ahead of him. After 38 years of this, of course the man had given up. Just as maybe you have given up. You’ve lived with this problem for so long, it’s just become part of your life. You’ve adapted and perhaps even adapted to find the benefits in the struggle. Now those benefits are a little hard to let go of.
You have a legitimate problem. Now, do you have a genuine desire? A genuine desire for healing. A full release of all the things an illness may give you as a side benefit.
Jesus wants to know, “do you want to get well?” I mean all the way well. I mean no longer having an excuse to sit out a single thing in your life. I mean no longer having a sad story to tell. I mean being completely capable of doing hard things, and those hard things being required of you now because you no longer get a pass.
Yes? This is what you want? Are you sure? You want to walk away from this and give up the mat you’ve been laying on for all these years? You want to have zero reason to be lazy? You want to have no good excuse from this day forward of not giving your absolute best? You want to receive no special treatment, no pass, no pity?
Alright, then maybe Jesus has an invitation for you today just as he did this man at the pool. The invitation comes in verse 8, Jesus says “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
Girl, are you ready to get up? I mean really get up! Get up from the things that have been dragging you down. Get up from the excuses that have held you back? Get up from the past that has cast a shadow on your today?
It’s getting up time!
Yes, you have a legitimate problem, but you are in the presence of the Great Physician. His power is here. Your problem isn’t too big for his power, but maybe your attachment to your problem has prohibited his power.
Do you identify more with being sick or being well? Do you identify more with being whole or being broken? Do you identify more with being left out or being chosen? Do you identify more with moving forward or staying stuck? Do you identify more with the struggle or overcoming? Do you identify more with the worry or the joy, the stress or the peace?
Girl, what are you attached to? Jesus is asking if you want that to change. Do you want his power here, or has your problem really been serving you well?
The disabled man accepted Jesus’ invitation and he did what he was never able to do before. Verse 9 “At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.”
Now guess what happened next? Immediately he met opposition. Immediately he encountered a pull back. Immediately he was reminded he wasn’t supposed to do what he was doing. Verse 10 “the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”
This is the equivalent of “girl, you’re depressed, you’re not supposed to be happy!” “You’re sick, you can’t do these things.” “Go back and get your excuses, you’re going to have to do hard things without them!”
Yip, that’s right … your whole world just changed because of the invitation of Jesus to be made well, and that means you’re going to be doing some different things now. Some hard things. Some things you avoided in the past. Some things you didn’t think you could ever do. And some people aren’t going to like that. Some people are going to remind you of what you can’t do. Some people are going to feel more comfortable if you lay back down on your mat and play little.
But remember who is offering to make you well. The Great Physician!
So our response is, YES WE WANT TO BE MADE WELL and we willingly release all the benefits of laying here! We’re ready to get up now and move forward in the strength Jesus has offered.