I came across John 5 recently, and have been really trying pull apart this story for all its worth. I wonder what would happen if I did that with everything I read in the bible...
"Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 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?" "Sir," the invalid replied, "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." Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
Such a simple story, but I believe it has such huge implications for our lives. Several thoughts, and i'm no bible scholar, nor do I claim to be, this is just what stuck out to me from this story.
First and foremost is Jesus' question in verse 6: Do you want to get well? It seems obvious that a man who had been an invalid for 38 years would say yes to this question. But he doesn't. He goes into why he hasn't been healed already. Initially, i have to admit, I thought this guy was an idiot. I mean here he is, lame for 40 years, lying at this pool day after day and never being healed, and then walks Jesus and asks if he wants to be healed, if he wants to live, and the dude essentially starts making excuses. So you can imagine my utter shame when, after really looking at the story, I realized that I am this man. You see, I think we so often over complicate things with Jesus. So often I feel like he asks us a simple question, "Do you want to be healed?", "Do you want to get well?", "Do you want to live?" but yet, we are afraid of what saying yes will mean, so we make excuses and blame our lameness on others or on life circumstances.
Secondly, was the idea that this man, who had been handicapped for 40 years was able to walk, just like anyone else, immediately after being healed by Jesus. He didn't have to learn how to walk, no one had to show him, Jesus healed him, and he could walk. Had this man sought medical help, he would have undergone a long process maybe including surgeries and some type of therapy to learn how to walk again. But Jesus was able to give this man exactly what He needed, right when He needed it. Thats what I love about Jesus, when we seek healing from Him, and Him alone, He gives us what we need. I think a lot of us, including myself, have looked in a million different places for healing and fulfillment-friends, family, money, possessions, etc-only to find, over and over again that they don't offer what we need. Yet I know that in looking to God for healing and redemption, I'll get everything that I need, no "learning how to walk".
When Jesus is what free's us, we walk away complete.