We read in John 5:1-8 the story of a man who had been ill for 38 years, and had hung out at the pool of Bethesda with others who were suffering with some ailment. 38 years is a long time and no doubt his strength was zapped and his spirit deflated. His illness had consumed him and left him with no hope of his life being anything else.
So when Jesus asked him, Do you want to be well, his answered a different question – Why are you still ill? This man saw one way of restoring his body and saw that it was out of reach for him. Imagine him hearing Jesus’ question when for 38 years he had been ill and helpless to do anything to heal himself. It was much easier to resign than to dig for hope.
There are other ways to healing our own efforts. Years of illness and discouragement, reinforced by the impossibility of making it into the healing waters, left this man in the darkness of hopelessness. He could no longer answer the question, Do you want to be well, for all he knew was that it was out of his reach.
But then he heard words he had never heard before. Not sympathy or chiding or blaming. Jesus didn’t dialogue with him about needing hope or faith or why he was ill. Jesus commanded the man to “Stand up,, take up your mat, and walk!” And in an instant, he was healed, he got up, took his mat, and walked.
I wonder in my own life, what are the words I hear over and over again, so that when Jesus asks me, Do you want to be well, I answer a different question, because to be freed from fear, uncertainty, inadequacy, and doubt seems out of reach.
What if Jesus healed the man, but he didn’t get up and walk? He would never have know that his heart’s desire had been fulfilled. What if Jesus has brought you and me healing of our wounds or fears, and we need to step out in new ways, and try out this new found strength?
In what area of your life are you sitting by the pool, hoping for healing in the wrong place?
How does your view of Jesus impact your hope for a good future?
What question are you answering instead of, Do you want to be well?
How can you step out in faith that Jesus has healed you, and try out this new-found strength?
Read Psalm 20 –
Many of the Psalms are written in the first person, but this psalm of David is one of blessing on the people of God, those David rules. As I read this, I am taken aback by the boldness of this blessing. Is David assuming too much of God and His protection, his help, his provision, his victory? David didn’t think so.
This goes back to the man sitting by the pool. Imagine this psalm being prayed over him, year after year. And then Jesus came and fulfilled those words in one command. The desires of his heart fulfilled. Victory over his ailing body won.
The theme is hope this week, perhaps buried under words and experiences of hopelessness.
Do you want to get well? What keeps you from saying yes? Journal this response to God.
What part of this blessing in Psalm 20 do you want to claim this week?
How easy is it for you to acknowledge the desires of your heart?
Where in your community can you find a place to bring those desires out into the open where others can share your hope?
Read 1 John 5:13-20
John is outlining the truth of the kingdom. As those who follow the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us, ushering in a new kingdom, we are invited to let this words of identity sink in, so that our living out of the kingdom will lead to others being drawn to us. This kingdom led by Christ is invading the kingdom of this world, but it is an invasion marked by sacrificial love and truth.
Look at the “we know” statements. List them out in your journal.
How do you live out those truths in your life?
What is something from this passage that you can write somewhere as a reminder that you are a kingdom participant this week?