“When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had been in that condition now a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”” — John 5:6 MEV
Well at first glance this seems like a no-brainer — of course the man wanted to be healed. Why would Jesus even ask?
Further when I compare this to my own situation of how I came into an intimate knowledge of Jesus, it wasn’t that at my lowest point he came knocking on my door asking did I want to be healed? Rather, I was completely destroyed with nothing left to live for, and it became terribly important that he be real and powerful and able to resurrect me so I went looking for him.
So how does this tally with his question, “Do you want to be healed?” Of course I want to be healed! Don’t be stupid! But… Is it stupid? Maybe the healing which Jesus was referring to, in my case, was the condition I had long been in — not the relatively new disasters from which I was demanding release.
There was a pre-existing condition to all of those: a condition of knowing about Jesus and even professing him as my Savior, without ever really knowing him as a person and a friend — never truly grasping even a small amount of how he loved me and why that mattered.
This was my saddest condition: being outside the knowledge of his love. And thinking that I was on the inside! This condition I had been in for a long time, I can say most of my Christian life, without really knowing it. I thought I had arrived at the heart of Christianity, which was to say the sinners prayer and then try to go and sin no more.
But that is a sad condition in which to be — and yet perhaps not one from which a person wants healing:
I’d had a fun and exciting life. I felt guilty on some points for my many transgressions where I had failed to go and sin no more. I also felt exhilarated by the thrills I had in scuba, sex, drinking, etc. Not everything was good, but a lot of it was fun, and a lot of it I could not regret.
That being said, no wonder Jesus would ask, “Do you want to be healed?” Of course I wanted to be healed, but was I ready to let go of life in Christ as a transaction — my sinner’s prayer and my commitment not to sin in exchange for his gift of eternal life? Did I want to leave the rules behind and walk in the freedom of God’s love?
That was the healing I needed most of all — to know the love of Christ. To begin to grasp even a tiny fraction of how he loved me and the difference that he made in my life — or could make in my life.
I didn’t even recognize the question; I didn’t know that there was something to Christianity beyond what I had. And I doubt I would have gone looking for it had things gone differently. So, for me, the question, “Do you want to be healed?” came in the form of my world’s destruction, the eradication of my dreams of a happy family with kids of my own, and my acknowledgment that I was basically dead and still walking around like a zombie.
This brought me to the question, do you want to be healed? And thank God that I did!