What??? Yep, that’s the title. Read on and you may say “What???” at first too.
A little over 2 years ago my wife got me an IPod Shuffle for my b-day. It was a great gift. We had always wanted to get this audible Bible program called the Bible Experience (B.E.) and now that we had ITunes we started downloading a book of the Bible each month. It’s such a great Bible program. B.E. is a theatrical reading of the Scriptures; it’s read by some of best actors in the world. The first book we downloaded was John’s Gospel. One day as I was listening to the Book of John I heard something that made me say “What???” Let’s read the text, and then I will explain.
John 5:1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 2 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. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 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?"
7 "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."
8 Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, "It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat."
11 But he replied, "The man who made me well said to me, 'Pick up your mat and walk.' "
12 So they asked him, "Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?"
13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.
14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
Soooo, what made me say “What???” Look at verse 14: “Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him,'See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.'" What??? If you read my Roof Rippers series then you may remember in Pt.2 I went over why Jesus forgave the paralytic before healing him. But why in this story does Jesus tell this guy to stop sinning after the healing? This guy had been sick for 38 years, what sin could he had been committing? I mean really, he couldn’t even drag himself into the pool in time when the water rippled. Well, all sin starts in the heart/mind. Proverbs 6:15-19 lists the seven things that absolutely disgust God and only one is an outside action. The first of the seven is pride and I don’t think this guy could have had too much pride after sitting for so long waiting on his healing. John never tells us the sin/sins this guy was committing, but that’s not the point this story. Many people use this story to say that somehow it’s not God’s will for all to be healed. That is not true. You can see several places in the Gospels where Jesus healed multitudes. There were just so many healings that the writers lost count and just simply wrote “and healed all the sick.” Example: Matt 8:16 “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick." On top of that, if it’s not God’s will for all to be healed then it’s not God’s will for all to be saved. That would go against scripture---perhaps the most famous scripture John 3:16. Look, both salvation and healing were taken care of at the cross. Isaiah 53:3-5 includes healing within the salvation experience.
So What, I mean, why was this story recorded for us to read? I believe there are 2 reasons: 1st: To remind us to show the same kind of compassion that Jesus displayed. You can go back and read part 1 of this study for a more detailed explanation. (http://bustedthought.blogspot.com/2010/03/poolside-manners-pt-1-of-2.html) 2nd: Healing is not a reason to keep on sinning. That sounds strange at first but I’ll explain.
Years ago, in the late 80’s, I remember hearing this one sad story. Back then HIV and AIDS were starting to make the scene. There was a young man who, well, um, was just living a very loose life and as a result he had contracted HIV and developed AIDS. He went to be prayed for and was totally healed. But instead of changing his prior lifestyle he jumped straight back into that loose life. He contracted HIV again which lead back to AIDS. He eventually died in misery caused by the sickness. Now that story is a bit extreme but really we all somehow commit the same kind of offences. Look, if you have not died yet and gone on to eternity, if you are reading this right now then you are still in your unredeemed body. If you are in heaven reading this then, WOW, my blog made it to heaven. Yes, God’s healing touch is always present but we have to do our part. Healing is not an excuse to just live however we desire. As long as we’re in our earthly bodies we will deal with colds to cancer. I’m not meaning to say you’ll get cancer; but just like sin is always present in this earth so is sickness. If you have cancer and you’re believing for healing, well, you should probably stop taking in sugar. I’m not a doctor, but as far as I understand, cancer feeds on sugar. I’m not calling sugar evil and I am not saying sugar causes cancer. It’s in my coffee right now, sugar that is. We should all take the necessary stop to help get ourselves well again. If you got a cold, well, what caused that cold? Was it a lack of sleep? Then get to bed. God has given us wisdom; it’s time to walk in it. I believe a lot of times there is a natural answer/solution to our sickness. YES God’s healing touch is present, but just like we don’t keep sinning so we can experience God’s forgiveness we shouldn’t live unhealthy just to experience healing.
Some may not agree with this but oh well. One Sunday morning at church I was in a prayer line praying for people. One person came up to me requesting prayer for healing from Type 2 diabetes. I told this person I would pray for them but they needed to change some lifestyle choices. Type 2 diabetes can be totally reversible through diet and exercise. Some may not agree with that prayer technique and I’m cool with that; but if you’re in my prayer line know that I am going to ask for wisdom on what it causing your problem so that it doesn’t repeat. That’s kind of along the same lines as what Jesus did at the poolside.
Stay Blessed y’all, it’s your choice.