Wish! Make a wish…Wish upon a star…I grant you three wishes… Lines from some of my favorite fairy tales. A wish seems magical–but there’s something way out of reach about the nature of a wish. Webster defines wish: “to have a strong desire to have or do something—usually something unattainable.”
The disabled man in John 5 must have felt like all his wishes were “unattainable.” After all, he had been an invalid for thirty-eight long years. Life had passed him by.
Jesus noticed him lying there by the pool called Bethesda (which means “site of mercy”). The disabled would gather there often. Rumor had it that healings sometimes occurred when people bathed in the waters.
“Do you want to get well?” Jesus asked the man. The word here for “want” is thelo, which means “to will, to wish, or to desire.” It seems like an odd question to ask a guy sitting next to a healing pool—someone who had been desperately trying to get well for thirty eight years. Or had he? It helps to understand thelo not only describes a want or a wish, but also implies a pressing on to action. In short, thelo executes.
Notice that the man never really answered Jesus’ question about whether he wanted to be well. Instead, the man gave a couple of excuses. He had no one to help him get into the water. What’s more every time he tried to get near the pool someone else got there first.
Jesus’ response? A rather startling command: “Get up! Pick up your mat, and walk.” (John 5:8).
Look carefully at what happened next. “At once the man was cured.” we’re told. “He picked up his mat and walked” (John 5:9). Could he sense that Jesus had already healed him when he took that staggering first step?
What was there about Jesus that infused the crippled man with the faith to stand up after thirty eight years as an invalid? The guy went from passive to active, hopeless to faith-filled in an instant!
Today is day five of our 21-Day Experiment. I pray now that God will infuse you with faith for those broken places in your life that have caused you to lose hope. May He give you the courage to take action…that all important first step. Would love to hear about a time you had to take a step of faith.