“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?’” John 5:6
We might think that Jesus’s question in the opening verse would have insulted the paralyzed man, but Jesus does not go by outward appearances and neither does He ask pointless questions. “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” (John 5:7).
Why did the invalid not respond with an exuberant, "Yes!?" Had he grown so accustomed to his paralysis that he did not want change? Others were taking care of him, supplying his needs and transporting him where he needed to go. Was he so afraid of having to care for himself that his inactivity became comfortable? Jesus gets hold of this man’s thinking with an extremely relevant question. "Do you really want to become whole, or have you settled into the status quo of your paralysis?”
We can sink lower and lower into the status quo of our own spiritual paralysis that it becomes the norm and we settle for it. Inevitably, this spreads into all areas of our lives and will lead to a sense of helplessness. Helplessness leads to hopelessness and can be an excuse for a lot of things we know we should be doing, but are completely unmotivated. Laziness creeps in and the less we do, the less we want to do. Life begins to feel as though we merely exist and we become pitifully trapped in a sense of uselessness. There can be little else more depressing and destructive to our well-being than feeling we are of no use.
We might avoid surrendering our lives to Christ because we fear what He will ask of us. It seems far easier to live our own way and make our own decisions, or as the paralyzed man did, blaming others for keeping us from living a godly, fruitful life. Jesus saw this man again in the temple and said something that indicates his paralysis may have been psychosomatic. “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you” (John 5:14).
The Christian life is meant to be an exciting, adventurous one, but all too often we are tempted to stay flopped on our mats. Inactivity can be very convenient, but it leads to an empty, stagnant existence. The Christian life involves cutting ourselves adrift from the norm and reaching that point where metaphorically Jesus takes our head in His hands and asks, “Do you truly want to get well?” He will begin the process of turning our lives around when we genuinely respond, “Yes, I want to be made whole.”
PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, bring me to a place where I genuinely desire the wholeness and healing only You can offer. And thank You that when I reach that point, You will give it gladly.