Do You Want To Get Well?

Key Texts: John 5:1-18

 Sometime later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals.  Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades.  Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.  One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”  At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

There are many stories of Jesus and his followers healing others.

I think one of the most intriguing is this one.  The man who is in need is one who “had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.”

There was an expectation, a hope, that this was a place of miraculous healing but, for whatever reason, this one child of God had been able to get to the waters that supposedly could bring hope and healing.

It is this man, among all the others there, whom Jesus approaches.

He offers the man something that he had to that moment been unable to find.

We can speculate about what was going through the man’s mind in that moment.  Was it too much to hope for, that this one called Jesus could do something, offer something, no one else had been able or willing to offer?

Sometimes, we might ask the same question.  Deep in our hearts, our minds, we question, we wonder.  “Can it be true?  Can Jesus really offer something – the one thing – we have been unable to find elsewhere – the healing we so desperately need?”

We can’t know what was in the mind or heart of that man in need that day but we do know what Jesus did.

He called the man to get up and walk – in faith – to just get up and walk – after thirty eight years of paralysis.

And, as miraculous as the healing itself, the man did just that.  He got up and walked.

I ponder this story, again and again.  I think of the connection between faith and healing, the deep compassion of Jesus, how he must have somehow inspired the man just by looking at him, reaching out to him, despite all the odds.

I believe Jesus still does this today.  He reaches out, offers something no one else does, no one else can.

But we must have the faith to reach out and grasp his hand.

The question he asked then, he asks of us all, “Do you want to…?”

Then come and receive God’s gift of healing – however you might need it – and however it might come.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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