A devotional reflection on Jesus’ healing of a disabled man at the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem (John 5:1-15)

By Dr. Andrew Jackson

The Gospel of John tells us the story of Jesus visiting Jerusalem during a Jewish feast. The story tells us that he entered the Sheep Gate and walked by a pool complex called Bethesda.

At this beautiful pool complex was a large number of disabled people—blind, lame, and paralyzed—lay helplessly on the ground. There was a man lying at the pool who had been disabled for 38 years. When Jesus saw him lying on the ground, and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to be healed?”

At the end of this section of the story, Jesus does heal him, but I want to focus on this question Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be healed?” Initially it sounds like a stupid question to ask a crippled man.

So why did Jesus ask him this question? I think he asked this question to stir up (or reveal) the faith of this man. Would he say. Yes, Yes, Yes. Or yes, but I have been crippled so long I doubt if I can ever really be healed and whole again.

Let’s put aside that this is a physical healing, because it is a unique category. The truth is, when the inner life of our hearts are crippled, it is actually worse than being physically crippled. So that is where I want to focus my thought.

After ministering and pastoring for over 35 years, I surprising discovered that people that are crippled or damaged or addicted in the inner life of their heart do not always want to be healed and made whole again.

Sure, if you asked them: “Do you want to be healed of (add in)? They might verbally give you a good story, but in the end they don’t really want healing. They want to camp out in their damaged world.

Today, we are all internally disabled to some degree. But God is asking us the same question, “Do we (you) want to be healed?”

I have discovered that when it comes to “inner healing” it requires a faith partnership with God. Sure, God can heal us, but if we don’t really, really, really want to experience the healing of our hearts, God will not override your will of faith.

If you want inner healing of the heart, you must really want it. And it goes beyond just what you say you want. It is whether you truly throw all your faith in towards the God of healing. How about you? If you don’t really want healing of the heart, no one, including God, can help you.

Do you really want to be healed?


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