John Chapter 5
By Pastor Jason Walsh
Consider both translations:
“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 ESV)
“When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?” (John 5:6 KJV)
This leads us to seek a deeper understanding of Jesus’ question to the man John describes as an invalid sitting by the pool for 38 years. “Do you want to be healed?” “Do you want to be made whole?” Is it possible Jesus was asking both in the same question?
John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer prizewinning novel The Grapes of Wrath begins with a scene in drought-ravaged Oklahoma during the Great Depression. With the crops dying and the land choked by dust, the women watched the men to see if they would break under the strain. When they saw the men’s will to carry on, they took heart. Steinbeck writes, “Women and children knew deep in themselves that no misfortune was too great to bear if their men were whole.” The issue was not happiness, prosperity, or satisfaction, but wholeness. This is the great need of us all. Wholeness!
In the King James Version of the Bible, the word whole is often used to describe Jesus’ work of physical healing. When the Lord encountered a man who had been an invalid for 38 years, He asked, “Wilt thou be made whole?” (John 5:5-6 KJV). We might assume the obvious response we would be a loud “YES!” But the man answered with an excuse saying, “I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me” (John 5:7). Yet, the man’s excuse was overpowered by the command of Christ: “Rise, take up your bed, and walk” (John 5:8). We are told that the man was healed immediately and took up his bed and walked. It is interesting that the man did not hesitate to obey. He did not say, "No, I think I will wait here for a while, as I am sure someone will eventually come to put me in the water." Jesus offers real healing! Whole healing! After Jesus healed the man, He challenged him to also embrace spiritual wholeness saying, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you” (John 5:14).
Are we ready when Christ comes to us with His healing power? Think about that for a minute.
How many people, hearing the call of the Gospel, turn away or respond with excuses? Sadly, most people do not see the need of Christ; they do not think they need a Savior. This man’s focus, faith, and belief was on the water in the pool, rather than the Healer Himself. Let us take this a step farther. How many Christians are content to live in daily spiritual neglect, rather than take the healing Word of God to heart?
Our relationship with Jesus will be limited if we are only focused on what He can do for us. We will respond to Him with excuses because we want the benefits and blessings He gives, rather than Him alone.
Do you think this man's life was ever the same again? Do you think he ever regretted being healed, and wished to go back to that pool? When we come to Christ, everything changes! Old things pass away, and all things become new. Are you at the pool of Bethesda? Has any part of your life or soul been sitting at the pool of Bethesda for far too long? Do you want to stay there? Go to Christ! When we want Jesus Himself, He brings completeness to our lives. Christ wants, first and foremost, to heal us and make us whole!
“I thank Thee for Thy precious Word
Where Thou didst make me see
My sinful self, my helpless soul,
Made whole by trusting Thee.” - Anonymous