Reading today: Psalm 60 and John 5:1-15
Jesus asked great questions. “Who do people say that I am?” “Couldn’t you pray one hour?” “Whose picture is on the coin?” His questions were thought provoking, spirit probing. His questions often got right to the heart of the matter. He asked great questions. In John 5, not so much. It’s a question that doesn’t seem to make sense.
There is a guy, sitting by the Pool of Bethesda, that has been coming every day for 38 years. The legend is that when the angel of God comes and stirs the water, the first one in the pool get healed. It’s the original lottery. This guy can’t walk so his friends plop him down on a nasty old mattress every day and he waits. And hopes. There are people there that are blind. Some that can’t hear. A few with leprosy. Maybe a frozen shoulder or two. What chance does a guy who can’t walk have to be the first one in the pool? But still he comes, every day.
And Jesus asks, “Do you want to get well?” I would have responded, “Well, duh! I have been coming for 38 years. What do you think? What kind of question is that?” Doris comes out of her room, looking good and ready to go to church. We are 5 minutes late and I have been sitting, dressed, on the couch, patting my foot for 30 minutes. She asks, “Are you ready to go?” “Well, duh!” It doesn’t seem like a great question, does it?
But maybe it is. Maybe Jesus knows there is a way of wanting to get well, and then, there is a way OF WANTING TO GET WELL! It is an issue of the heart where we really let go, really get serious, fully commit. There is a place where we say, “This time is different. Whatever it takes. Yes, I want to get well.” We call it the end of the rope, The last straw. In the 12 Steps, we call it “hitting the bottom.” “We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction and our lives had become unmanageble.” (Step 1)
I was there 13 years ago. Sitting in a clinic in Scottsdale. Doris had left. I lost my job, my family, all hope. I tried for years to get well. Went to counselor after counselor. I was anointed with oil so many times I slipped off the couch when I tried to sit down. I remember Jesus stepping in front of me and asking, “Do you want to get well?”
There is that moment when we realize that this is not only a great question, it’s the only question. “Are you finally at a place where you will trust Me? Give up your own efforts? Hand your mess over to the Messiah?” I call it the no resource resource. “My hope is built on NOTHING less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but WHOLLY lean on Jesus’ Name.” When I come to that spot, I am ready to get well.
And you know what happens? I do. He did. We do. “Pick up your bed and walk. Stop sinning. Go home. Today you will be with me. Be well. Live long and prosper.” All those things. When I finally answer the question, He answers my need. When I let go, He picks up. When I stop, He starts. When I say yes, He says yes back. So today, what have you been carrying for a long time? What shame, or hurt, or failure, or disease? What issue has plagued you for so long you can’t remember when it wasn’t an issue? Could this be the time when you quit trying to fix it? Quit managing it? Quit hiding it? Do you want to get well?
Remember, no writing on the weekend. Read Saturday
Psalm 61 and John 5:16-47
Read Sunday, Psalm 62 and John 6:1-15
See you Monday.