a sickness of the heart

A friend and I recently studied John 5:1-15, which tells of Jesus’s third great sign, the healing of the sick man who lay beside the pool.

The Scriptures say his man had been sick for 38 years… You’d think that knowing this, the guy would want to be healed. Right?

Yet when Jesus runs into him, Jesus asks, “Do you want to get well?”

And you know what? That man, instead of immediately saying yes, responds by playing the blame game and being a martyr. “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,” he says (John 5:7).

Yet Jesus still heals this man. He also tells him to “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” (John 5:8).

How many times in our day, do we ask ourselves, “Why me?” We want to get healed more than anything, yet we spend time in self-pitying and blaming others. Now out of these times, how many times do we ask Jesus to heal us and trust His perfect will be done in our lives? How many times do we not only hear what His word says about healing, but do it in full faith?

There’s a second part to this story. When this man is healed, he runs into the Pharisees, who blame him for carrying his mat on the Sabbath. And instead of praising Jesus for his healing, he adopts their mentality of religiosity and blames Jesus for giving him the orders.

Later on, this man runs into Jesus, who says, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”

It turns out that even though this man was healed in his body, in his heart the real problem lay. No matter what he had, no matter what blessings he received, he was not thankful and appreciative. He only focused on himself. His heart was sick.

The important wellness that Jesus hints at is not a wellness of the body – but a wellness of the heart and of the soul. Because ultimately, no matter the sicknesses and trials and tribulations and obstacles that ail us here on earth, the “something worse” is a sickness that will eventually kill us on the inside and after we leave this world.

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