THE GREAT PHYSICIAN #2
T. Pierce Brown
The story of Jesus healing an impotent man as recorded in John 5:1-15 has in it several interesting lessons and causes us to raise some questions the answers of which may be of value to us. First, Jesus was always alert to use any occasion for the glory of God and the good of man.
When Jesus found this man who had been in a sad condition for 38 years, He asked him the strange question recorded in verse 6. “Wilt thou be made whole?” What would you think if you had been sick for 38 years, lying out in an open porch in a multitude of blind, halt, withered, impotent sick people, and someone asked you, “Do you want to be made well?”
Doctors with wide experience tell us that there are far more persons than one might suppose who do not really want to be well. Some get a morbid satisfaction from their disease. Some are sick because they have a pathological need for pity. There are beggars with afflicted bodies who would rather have afflicted bodies and depend on others than to have a well body and work. There are many other reasons as we make a spiritual application of the lesson. If we think of Jesus as the Great Physician and those who are sick as sinners in need of salvation, we may say that there are many unsaved waiting with their infirmities around the House of Mercy (Bethsaida) who have not yet received strength from the healing waters. Their souls have become so twisted, diseased and impotent that they cannot come unaided to the Water of Life. They are lost because of their sin, but they could be saved if we could bring Christ to them. Many, when faced with the question, “Do you want to be cured?” will answer like Felix in Acts 24:25, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a more convenient season I will call for thee.”
Even in the church there are those who need to examine with care this probing question. We know that we have many things wrong with us. If being healed means we must take the medicine prescribed by the Great Physician, some of us do not want to be cured. If it means added responsibility to use our strength to carry out the Great Commission, many of us would rather stay impotent. If it means persecution by unfaithful or religious bigots, if it means you must take up your bed and walk, do you want to be cured?
The question has even more implications and applications for humanity today. First, if you are not a Christian, are you willing to accept the grace of God on the terms on which it is offered? Many are willing, they think, to accept Jesus as their personal savior and join the church of their choice. Are you willing to accept Jesus as Lord and let him add you to the church of His choice? Do you want to be healed? If you really do, Christ can heal you, but it will be on His terms, not yours. His terms are simple, but you must accept them. It means first, to accept Him as Lord, with all authority in heaven and on earth (Mt. 28:18) Second, it means to repent of every sin (Acts17:30). Then it means to be buried with Him in baptism for the remission of sins (Acts2:38) and arise to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). Do you want to be healed?