The Gospel of John tells this story… A man was lying on a mat, looking toward Jesus. That man had been lying there, sick, for 38 years. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?” (John 5:5-6)
The question Jesus asked seems a little odd. The man was there to be healed, and he had suffered for 38 years. Of course, he wanted to get well! But, maybe not… Let me ask you some similar questions:
- Do you want to lose weight? Am I really ready to change my diet and start exercising regularly?
- Do you want to move to a new home? Am I really ready to clean up, throw out and pack away years of living in the same place?
- Do you take this person to be your wife (or husband)? Am I willing to have and hold till death do us part?
- Drugs? Alcohol? Do you really want to get well?
Jesus knew that being healed would change the man’s life forever. Begging at the pool was all he knew. He had no other skills. All his friends (what few he had) were there. If he was healed, he’d have to leave them and find a new way to support himself. He’d have to learn to care for himself instead of relying on others. He would have to learn to talk about something other than his sickness.
Jesus’ asks a penetrating question, “Would you like to get well?” He’s asking me similar, John 5, questions…
- Am I ready for the new pastor?
- Am I ready to live without Wellsville Baptist?
- Am I ready to do something different?
- Am I really ready to follow Jesus?
Many of my current relationships will shift. Do I have the skills, knowledge and will-power to make this change? Am I ready to forge new relationships? Some people in my life today will not be there. Others will resist this change. They know me as I am now. Some may even try to keep me ill because they don’t know what to do if I become well.
2020 is a year of vision-setting for all of us. If I am healed, will I be seen as a hypocrite? A Bible Thumper? A fake or phony? How much room will people give me to make this change?
I’ll have to develop new habits. If I am healed, will people still pay attention to me? How will it feel when I’m no longer the center of attention. A lot is going to change.
Jesus, I have been sitting here waiting for you to heal me, but do I really want to be healed? Help me understand…you are not asking an idle question!