Doctor and Child
2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 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?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, 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.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.
John 5:2-9

Do you want to be healed?

How does that statement hit you?  Do you have to pause to answer?  Maybe you might want to scream out, YES!

But think about the excuses that might fill up your mind if you did choose to be healed.  For me, if I wanted to be healed, then that means I would have to give up my excuses (as legitimate as they might be) and take responsibility.  That’s tough!

Truth is, I don’t like being forced into responsibility, I enjoy blaming other people for where I am at in life– blame the economy, or my wife, or society, or that denial letter.  That’s why Jesus’ question is so piercing.  If that man wanted to be healed, then he would have to take responsibility for his life from that moment on.

Will you follow?

John provided another passage where a man came to Jesus and told him that he would follow, but first, he wanted to go bury his father.  In that first century context, that man’s father would have still been alive.  He was asking Jesus for permission to stick around home until his old man died, that way he could ensure his inheritance.  He would follow Jesus only after his financial prospects were secure.  In another sense, following Jesus came after following his financial plan of action.

Jesus is looking for action, and he asks us if we would follow him now, not later.

Perhaps Jesus is calling us to responsibility, for pursuing after him and to quit making excuses.  Maybe he wants us to choose him first, before anything else.

My pastor said once that perhaps the hardest thing about being a Christian is actually wanting to have Jesus’ mind and to follow him.  What do you think?

Photo David Mason via Compfight