DO YOU WANT TO BE MADE WHOLE?
T. Pierce Brown
The story of Jesus healing an impotent man as recorded in John 5:1-15 has in it several interesting lessons and causes us to raise some questions the answers of which may be of value to us. First, Jesus was always alert to use any occasion for the glory of God and the good of man. As I contrast His attitude with mine, I am disappointed with my record. There have been literally hundreds of times when I have had opportunities to say or do things that would glorify God that I failed to do so. Let me give you an example of what I have done on some occasions that could have been done on many. When I stopped to get gasoline and the man came out to help, I said, “Hasn’t God given us a beautiful day?” I could have said, “Do you think it is going to rain?” or another kind of innocuous question. When I deliberately brought God into the conversation, it did not matter whether he responded, “Yes, He has,” “What did God have to do with it?” or any other remark. It gave me an opportunity to continue the conversation in such a way as to glorify God or set up a Bible study. One could do this at all sorts of times without being “pushy” or offending anyone. Our problems are many, but one of them is that we just do not want to be bothered with trying to glorify God or win a soul for Christ.
When Jesus found this man who had been in a sad condition for 38 years, He asked him the strange question recorded in verse 6. “Wilt thou be made whole?” What would you think if you had been sick for 38 years, lying out in an open porch in a multitude of blind, halt, withered, impotent sick people, and someone asked you, “Do you want to be made well?”
Doctors with wide experience tell us that there are far more persons than one might suppose who do not really want to be well. Some get a morbid satisfaction from their disease. Some are sick because they have a pathological need for pity. There are beggars with afflicted bodies who would rather have afflicted bodies and depend on others than to have a well body and work. There are many other reasons as we make a spiritual application of the lesson. If we think of Jesus as the Great Physician and those who are sick as sinners in need of salvation, we may say that there are many unsaved waiting with their infirmities around the House of Mercy (Bethsaida) who have not yet received strength from the healing waters. Their souls have become so twisted, diseased and impotent that they cannot come unaided to the Water of Life. They are lost because of their sin, but they could be saved if we could bring Christ to them. Many, when faced with the question, “Do you want to be cured?” will answer like Felix in Acts 24:25, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a more convenient season I will call for thee.”
Even in the church there are those who need to examine with care this probing question. We know that we have many things wrong with us. If being healed means we must take the medicine prescribed by the Great Physician, some of us do not want to be cured. If it means added responsibility to use our strength to carry out the Great Commission, many of us would rather stay impotent. If it means persecution by unfaithful or religious bigots, if it means you must take up your bed and walk, do you want to be cured?
When a football coach asks, “Do you want to win?” he is usually not asking if you are willing for the other team to give you the game. He wants to know if you are willing to pay the price. Are you willing to sweat blood? Are you willing to have your face pushed in the mud and your ribs smashed?
The question has even more implications and applications for humanity today. First, if you are not a Christian, are you willing to accept the grace of God on the terms on which it is offered? Many are willing, they think, to accept Jesus as their personal savior and join the church of their choice. Are you willing to accept Jesus as Lord and let him add you to the church of His choice? Do you want to be healed? If you really do, Christ can heal you, but it will be on His terms, not yours.