John 5 … Consider His Question

A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get well?” (5:5-6).

His claims are staggering: His equality with God the Father, His ability to raise the dead, give life and be life in Himself, and His authority to execute judgment; acts the Jewish people rightly attributed to God alone. His astounding and Divine assertions were corroborated by the testimonies of John the Baptist, His own works, the Father and Holy Scripture.

It was all too much to fathom as I attempted to grasp His magnitude and imagine what it must have been like to hear the human voice of God Incarnate state His case.

And as I sought to hear Him, one question repeatedly emerged in the midst of His authoritative claim to Divinity. His Question, “Do you wish to get well?”

Consider His Question

“Do you wish to get well?”

Does this appear to be somewhat of an absurd proposition to a man who has been paralyzed for thirty-eight years? Given the condition, who wouldn’t want to get well? But still Jesus asked, “Do you wish to get well?”

And His Question seemed to be prompted by His knowledge.

When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition…

Is it possible that being a long time in his condition had simply become this man’s norm?

Is it possible this man not only suffered from physical paralysis but also from a paralysis that incapacitated his ability to mentally, emotionally and spiritually move forward?

Is it possible before the healing comes, there must be an acknowledgment of need and desire?

The Pharisees had all the evidence they needed. Yet it was their norm that had come to rule their hearts and their wills. In their self-sufficient, prideful norm they rejected the Son of Man, the Healer, the Judge, the Savior… God.

With every witness from John the Baptist, His own works, the Father and the Holy Scriptures, came opportunity to address His Question; yet His Question was ignored, refused, unanswered; and their paralysis prevailed.

They had already been a long time in that condition and now they continued in their smug paralyzed state rather than desire the eternal healing He alone offered. The Pharisees answered His Question with a resounding, willful “No.”

How do we respond to His Question?

May today be a time of self-examination and reflection as we consider our response to His Question.

“Do you wish to get well?”

True and eternal health is only found in God’s way of salvation.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me,” (John 14:6).

We must first answer, “Yes” to Jesus as the only way we can be saved. Salvation is not granted through our own self-proclaimed norms.

When we come to the Father through Jesus Christ, we come in faith trusting what only He can do. Unfortunately, we can also come with some life-long habits; and as the saying goes, old habits die hard.

Is it possible that being a long time in our condition has become our norm?

Is it possible we are suffering from a paralysis incapacitating our ability to mentally, emotionally and spiritually move forward?

Is it possible we need healing, but must first acknowledge our need and desire?

Time for personal reflection: Is there an emotional, mental or spiritual condition that has me in a state of paralysis, keeping me from moving forward in love and obedience?

If so, can you hear His Question? “Do you wish to get well?”

If your answer is “Yes” consider the following:

Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you, (James 4:7-10).

Answering, “Yes” must involve submitting to God in repentance and humility, a desire for holiness and purity as we turn away from sin in mourning, and trust in what only He can do.

Sin isn’t always rebelliously overt. Sometimes it may be an attitude or motive; a prevailing sense of pride or self-loathing; a habit such as gossip or negativity; a propensity to disregard His prompting to step out in faith and obedience. Sin is sin, whether obvious to all or covertly hidden.

But sin must never be the overriding factor to determine the course of our condition.

When we desire His healing and humbly come to Jesus in faith, He is able.

  • No matter our condition, He is able.
    • and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform, (Romans 4:21).
  • No matter how long we have been in our condition, He is able.
    • Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short
      That it cannot save;
      Nor is His ear so dull
      That it cannot hear, 
      (Isaiah 59:1).
  • No matter the hopelessness of our condition, He is able.
    •  Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24-25).

“Do you wish to get well?”

May we answer “Yes!” today and every day as we come to Him in humility, seeking the healing only Jesus Christ offers; may we acknowledge our desire to be set free from any condition that keeps us from moving forward in love and obedience.

Let’s Grow Together!

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