When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” John 5:6
One of my earliest memories of hearing that verse involved me wondering why Jesus would ask that question. Of course, the man wanted healing! Who wouldn’t want to be whole?
I had no idea that life would teach me the answer to that question — in ways I never could have expected.
Lying in Our Beds
There is an old saying, “You have made your bed, now lie in it.”
I think of that phrase when I picture this man walking away from circumstances that held him captive for so long.
Sadly, so many of us have beds made with sheets of poor choices and blanketed with a lifetime of unwise actions.
Thanks to low self-esteem and a complete inability to understand my worth, I made my bed with mistakes that should have been catastrophic —but for the grace of God.
“Rise, Take Up Thy Bed, and Walk.”
Jesus commanded the man to “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.”
Let’s think about that as it relates to our own lives.
When we take up our beds and walk, we have to walk away from what was keeping us in place.
That’s not always as easy as it sounds.
Walking can come with a cost that we aren’t always willing to pay—like our:
Despite this man’s weaknesses, Jesus had mercy…just as he does with us. In our darkest moments, when we feel too far gone, God sees us. Though we don’t deserve it, we are covered by the blood of Jesus.
Beds Can Be Comfortable (Zones)
There will be times when we find ourselves in comfort zones that are similar to just lying there, like the man in John 5…unable to move. But, as Christians, we are all called to walk —in the Spirit.
Unfortunately, the world and our flesh have become our beds—putting our spirits at risk of becoming bedridden, waiting for something to change— while telling ourselves we don’t have the strength to get up.
In some cases we:
- have no motivation
- fear the unknown
- aren’t willing
- have become comfortable
- don’t recognize how sick we are and how much healing we actually need
Periodically, we need to take a look at our lives (and in the mirror) to ask ourselves: “What situation am I lying down in?”
Recognizing the Need to be Healed
We won’t always recognize our own need for healing. In fact, when we typically think of healing, it’s from a physical standpoint.
Even in John 5, Jesus tells the man to rise, take up his bed, and walk— physically.
But, we may not be physically sick or disabled, I wasn’t. It might be that we struggle with our thoughts or we battle to manage our emotions (in healthy ways). Perhaps, we are leading spiritually unhealthy lives.
Because it isn’t our physical body that is the main concern, let’s focus on the healing of our hearts and minds.
Afterall, it is our spirit that will have eternal life and our spiritual health is where healing must take place.
“Do You Want to Be Healed?”
John 5:6 never made any sense to me—until I was in a position where I didn’t want God to intervene.
It’s as if I was sitting on my bed, on the side of that healing pool, and observing other people around me (moving toward health), while I made excuses and lived in them.
At one point in my spiritual journey, I prayed to” want to want to be healed.” That was as close as I could allow myself to get to the Cross. To be honest, I just wanted to be left alone.
That’s when I realized this question is something we need to honestly ask ourselves.
We tend to think that if circumstances or the people in our lives were better or different, then our problems would be taken care of. But we don’t see what lies within us.
The trouble and confusion start when we:
- Convince ourselves that we aren’t that bad
- Start to compare sin sizes
- See ourselves through the lens of society instead of God’s word
By the time we’re done downplaying our actions, our own healing isn’t a thought.
And sometimes, we aren’t interested in healing because we are just comfortable where we are.
What Would It Mean to Be Healed ?
Healing in one area will affect the other areas of our lives.
I knew this. And, I didn’t want every part of my life to be clean and free—just the troublesome parts.
Spiritual healing can come at a price that we have to be willing to pay. If we are healed, can we still:
- have the same friends?
- watch the same shows?
- listen to the same music?
- go to the same places?
- think the same thoughts?
- say the same words?
- have the same attitudes?
- live the same life?
- support the same people?
- engage in the same conversations?
This is true of many of us…especially when we have built our existence on unhealthy spiritual foundations.
I grew a lot during that time. I learned just how unwilling I was to rise , take up my bed and walk. Despite my personal failures, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit stuck by me, picked me up, and walked alongside me.