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On Being Well

On Being Well

by Josh Caudill

"Do you want to be healed?"

Jesus' question to the disabled man in Jerusalem in John 5:6 is almost comical. The man had been sick for 38 years. 38 years! Did he want to be healed? What a silly question for our Lord to ask. Yet the ways of the Lord are often mysterious; perhaps the situation is not so absurd.

So why does Jesus ask this question? Did Jesus genuinely not know if the man wanted to be healed? Perhaps; after all, Jesus gave up many of his God-privileges in His incarnation, and several other Gospel narratives give indication that His omniscience is partial while in the flesh.

I wonder if Jesus asks the question, rather, because He believes that the disabled man does not know if he wants to be healed.

While reading this passage again, a song began to play in my head, written by an incredibly talented and honest songwriter. The chorus goes something like this:

"I want to be well.
I want to be well.
Or I want to want to be well."

Perhaps Jesus perceived something about the man that even he did not realize. After 38 years, is it possible that the man understood his illness as part of his identity? Perhaps he had lost his desire to be healed, settling into the patterns of misery he had lived in for so long. Perhaps the best that he could do was want to want to be well.

I think about the times that I've seen sin in my life that has rested on my heart for long periods of time, and I think I can understand the hesitation that I think Jesus perceived in the man's heart. Changing is a lot of work, and the status quo is so much easier. And in those moments, I hear Jesus calling to me.

His is a patient voice. He asks change of me, but He asks it gently: Do you want to be healed? Or, at least, do you want to want to be healed?

This week, I pray that I would hear this voice and respond. And I pray that I would have the boldness not only to desire to be healed, but to accept the healing that is offered at the cross already.

May you, as well.

Grace & Peace,
Josh Caudill