Do You Have the Want to?

“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?” (John 5:5-6)

In the city of Jerusalem by the sheep gate is the Pool of Bethesda. This is the gate were the sheep came in for the Temple sacrifices. The sheep gate is significant in the day of Jesus. We first hear of the sheep gate in the book of Nehemiah. “Then Eliashib the high priest arose with his brothers the priests and built the Sheep Gate; they consecrated it and hung its doors. They consecrated the wall to the Tower of the Hundred and the Tower of Hananel.” (Nehemiah 3:1) The sheep gate points to the first coming of our Lord Jesus Christ 2000 years ago. He came into Jerusalem as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) He was the perfect sacrifice foretold by the Prophets of old and He is the door that everyone must enter to be saved. “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9)

At Pool of Bethesda there was a man there who had an infirmity which he had suffered for thirty-eight years. This man had come frequently to the Pool of Bethesda in the hope that he could be the first to be in the water after it had been troubled. It was a hope that for many years he had found disappointment.

Jesus saw the man there and selected him from the great multitude of infirm people who had gathered to try and move into the pool first to be healed. The purpose of Jesus was not to have a massive healing crusade at the Pool of Bethesda, but He was to choose this man and miraculously meet this man’s need.

There was a multitude of people there all with their infirmities hoping to receive a healing if only they could reach the water first. They were there believing in a myth that some mystic angel would appear and trouble the waters that one of them could be made whole. All of them there with their eyes fixed upon the water waiting for it to be troubled. We do not know what their infirmities were but they all were blind to the truth. For in their midst was the Son of God and none looked to Him. How many of us look to the world to satisfy our infirmities when all we need do is call upon the name of the Lord? How often do we seek the ways of the world and neglect the truth that created the world?

I am the same as they. I often in times of trials try as I may to solve my problems in my own way. Seek advice in all the wrong places. When will I ever learn to lay my burdens upon Jesus where the solution is sure to be found? “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

There may be many reasons that we wait for our own signs of help rather than go to the One who can actually save us. Some may wait for a more convenient season to find our help, but the scripture says, “For He says, “At the acceptable time I listened to you, And on the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)

Some may wait for dreams or visions, their need for signs and wonders. But how arrogant is that when all we need is a humble spirit to approach God for our help. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3) Some may want to be compelled to come not listening to know that Jesus stands at the door to their heart and knocks. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)

There are those who wait for the next tent revival to come to town to stir up their emotions giving them a particular feeling that they can move forward to the altar with the masses for a blanket of salvation. They seek the call of a celebrity rather than the call of the Spirit. “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:44)

When Jesus approached the man He asked him a stunning question. “Do you wish to get well?” This was puzzling to me and may have been to the infirm man too. Of course he wanted to be healed. He had been coming to the Pool of Bethesda for many years for that purpose. Who that is infirm would not want to be healed?

If we think about it there are those who have become so discouraged that they have given up all hope of becoming healed. Then there are those that have been infirm so long that they have become accustomed to it. They have learned to live with it and somehow find solace in it. They have found recognition through their infirmity and even love the self-pity of it. Being a helpless beggar often leads to a way to earn a good enough living. As bad as his infirmity may be he is comfortable with it and some people hate the idea of change. There are those that have been ill so long that the change to becoming self-sufficient would be more of a struggle than their infirmity.

It could be possible that the question of Jesus was a question of faith. The infirm man as all the others was waiting for the waters to be troubled so he could hopefully be the first into the pool. Now he has been distracted by Jesus with a seemingly odd question, “Do you wish to get well?” His major interest was the waters and now this Jesus has distracted him and taken his attention off the water. Does he have enough faith in Jesus to trust Him to heal him? The question of if he wanted to be well is an entering statement to the possibility to becoming well. Could this man, Jesus, heal Him and does He believe He will. This could be the question that Jesus was asking. Do you have faith to believe that I can heal you?

Do we have faith that Jesus can heal us of our infirmities? Do we have faith that Jesus’ blood atoned for the sins of our past, present, and future? Do we have faith that because He rose from the grave He will raise us with Him? Do we have faith that Jesus will lead us to eternal life with the Father in eternity? Do we wish to get well? This is the question that Jesus asks every man, woman, and child and so many say no. They are too busy looking at the myth of this world and placing their hope in the perishable rather than the imperishable. This is the question that all must answer correctly, as the wrong answer leads to destruction. “For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:53-57)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, March 17, 2017

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