Message: I’ve read the story in John 5 about the man by the pool of Bethesda quite a few times and I’ve heard plenty of sermons on it as well. The common theme here is that some people just don’t want to get well. They have become too familiar with their issues and have allowed them to become an identity for them. There are so many directions this can go but what stuck out to me a little bit differently as I read it today is that the man answered the wrong question entirely. Jesus asked him plain and simple “Do you want to be well?” and the man answered a long pitiful and defensive answer about WHY he believed he COULDN’T be well. In all fairness, he probably didn’t know who he was speaking with, but either way, he still dodged the question by answering with his excuses. I can’t help but wonder if he would have responded differently had Jesus asked him if he would like some money. It was a simple yes or no question and he was over complicating it. I usually kind of pass by this story feeling like it’s a story about other people, but as I examine this today I see that we all have that in us in one area or another. For this man it was a physical condition (but probably plenty of emotional ones attached also). In my life I see this in other areas where I don’t want to answer because I am afraid it will require some accountability that I’m not ready to answer for. It very much does, but if I am aware of WHO is doing the asking, and more importantly, if I understand that the question is a simple one- do I want it? Not why haven’t you? If I will just answer the first simple question with an emphatic yes, then Jesus can show me the way that I don’t even know exists. The man by the pool of Bethesda was hung up on getting in the pool first because in his mind that was the only way to healing. He had no idea who Jesus was and what he was capable of, but if Jesus hadn’t pressed him further, he would have answered the wrong question and never received his healing.
Command: Answer the question being asked, not the one you hope to divert to.
Promise: If I answer the question being asked it opens opportunities I wouldn’t otherwise even know exist.
Warning: If I answer the wrong questions I remain stuck.
Application: This is easier said than done because our minds are so deceptive and capable of blinding us, but it challenges me to ask the deeper questions of myself. It reminds me that the next time I am tempted to rattle off excuses or answer with a different answer that I may be stuck and trying to remain stuck. If I want to heal and grow I need to be willing to face the things I would rather ignore, or be held accountable for things I’m not ready to do. But if Jesus is asking, he is not asking to condemn me but to heal me. Lord Jesus, unveil my eyes to see the areas of my life I haven’t received healing in because I have guarded my progress with excuses. Help me to desire healing more than identity or comfort. Help me to answer the right questions so I can be healed.