March 23

Do You Want to be Made Well? Part 1

John 5:1-7 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”

Jesus performed miracles for many reasons. First and foremost, it’s the love and power of God in action. But God is always doing more than one thing, and explaining who Jesus is–and getting a look at the heart of God–is always a part of it.

Jesus’ healing of this man is what attracts our greatest attention. But there is far more here. Some of the phrases we tend to gloss over quickly in Scripture contain powerful revelations about the Lord. “When Jesus saw him laying there, and knew that he had already had been in that condition a long time…” This is encouraging stuff. Jesus knows how long we’ve been struggling, and he knows right where we are. Take a moment to think about that. He knows your condition exactly, how long you’ve been dealing with it, and what pain it’s brought you. He also knows where you are–not just physically, of course, but in every other way: spiritually, emotionally, psychologically. He knows your situation precisely.

Also, this whole story tells us that there are divine opportunities that come our way that may not come again. This man had to connect with Jesus to receive his healing. When the Lord comes close to us, do we connect and hold on, and listen to what He says, and do what He wants? Or do we push Him away, perhaps to engage Him again at a better, more convenient time? We hate it when people do that to us, and we hurt Him and ourselves when we do that to the Lord.

While this man had clearly lost some of his focus over time (his answer to Jesus didn’t match the question), he demonstrated a great deal of patience and a measure of faith: Certainly someone would come by sometime to put him into the healing waters. While his healing came in a different way than he expected (a lesson for us all!), it did finally come. And if he hadn’t been there (continually coming to that physical place represented his faith) when Jesus visited, he wouldn’t have been positioned to receive his healing.

Do you have a specific idea of how God is going to move? Perhaps you have already told yourself that there is just one way God will answer your prayer or make that provision you need. Let this man’s story be an encouragement to continue trusting the Lord, but not to limit Him to answering in any way–even if that’s what He’s done for others, or how He’s done it for years. Are you open and willing to have the Lord do what you ask for in any way He chooses?

Prayer: Lord, thank You that You answer prayers and heal. Help me to stay constant in faith and to be where You want me so You can meet me. I pray that you’ll answer all that I pray in the ways that You want to, and that You’ll give me the grace to see those answers.

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