Question vs. Answer
John 5:6-7 “…So Jesus said to him, “Do you truly long to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, there’s no way I can get healed, for I have no one who will lower me into the water when the angel comes. As soon as I try to crawl to the edge of the pool, someone else jumps in ahead of me.”
If Jesus was standing in front of you today asking, “Would you like to get well?”, what will your response be? We all need to wrestle with this. The word ‘well’ in today’s scripture reference could mean many things. There is a true-life story about a lady that was sick and despite all the prayers that had been made for her, she still was not responding to anything. Then the pastor went to God to find out what was going on. And God said, ‘Have you asked if she wants to be healed.’ The Pastor chuckled because it sounded impossible. But he went to her and asked, ‘Madam, do you want to be healed?’ and she said, ‘No!’ So, the Pastor asked why because it was now obviously a counselling issue. She said, ‘It is only when she is sick that her husband gives her attention and she is enjoying his attention. So, let the sickness remain.’
Note that Jesus asked this man, ‘do you want to be made well’. Jesus did not say, ‘can you be made well’. John 5:7 “I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.” If I were to give this man a name, I would call him Mr. Blamer because he had someone to blame for everything. Even at the end, he blamed Jesus for carrying his mat on the Sabbath. If you look at the story of the blind man in John 9, that Jesus told to go and wash in the pool. People must have helped him. We also see the story of when four friends carried a paralytic, opened Jesus’ roof, and let him down.
It is customary that people help others in need particularly at that time. It was also a very communal place. For him to say he has no one means that everyone has deserted him. If for instance this man was fifty-eight years and the infirmity started when he was twenty years old. It means the infirmity had lasted for over thirty years, right? Maybe he had a babe that was with him and she promised to stick with him. And maybe after twenty-five years, the girl went her way. It is possible that he had brothers and sisters who backed off after a while. But Jesus showed up! Hallelujah. Ps.27:10 “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” There is no friend like Jesus – none!
John 5:6-7 “…he asked him, “Would you like to get well?” “I can’t, sir,” the sick man said…”. You need to stop answering questions no one is asking. Stop answering the wrong questions. The question is not, ‘Can you?’, the question is, ‘Would you be made whole?’ The key thing here is, you cannot get the right answer when you are answering the wrong question. The reason he was answering the wrong question was, he was focused on the wrong things. When we focus on ‘how’ we want God to do it and ‘how’ we want God to answer this prayer request. Even when God is talking to us, our answers will be what we think He should do, not what He is telling us to do. But it is what He is telling us to do that births the healing we have been waiting for.
Prayer: Father, help me hear as I ought to hear so I can respond rightly, in Jesus Name. Amen!