When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, He said unto him, “Will you be made whole?” John 5:6
Lord, what exactly does it mean to be whole? And I’m finding that there are different kinds of wholeness. Like here, You are talking about being healed physically and being made healthy. John chose to use the word “hugies.” If I look back at other times this word is used in Scripture, it refers to healing. It’s like when the man with the withered hand was healed. It’s like this man here. And interesting thing is, even though You healed this sick man, he didn’t even know who You were. So, obviously, this part of the healing was all physical.
But You alone were the only man that ever came and stepped up to help him. Here is this man, laying on the ground by the pool of Siloam, waiting for the angel to stir the waters, hoping that someone would help him in so he could be healed. He had been sick thirty-eight years. Maybe he had been trying to get into the pool for that long. But someone else always made it to the waters first. But still he was there. Still he was hoping. And You show up. And You feel for him. That’s a long time to hope without seeing results. Out of all the people around the pool, You go to him.
“Do you want to be healed?”
“Of course, but no one ever helps me get where I have to go for the healing. Day after day, someone else receives the healing instead of me.”
“Rise, take up your bed, and walk.”
And that was that! You healed him. He rose up, grabbed his bed, and walked. And of course the religious leaders weren’t pleased because he was working on the Sabbath by carrying his bed. It didn’t seem to matter that five minutes earlier he couldn’t move at all. But isn’t it also amazing that You healed this man even though he didn’t even know who You were? “Who healed you?” “I really don’t know his name.”
But You sought him out. And You warned him to sin no more or the consequences would be worse than what he had already suffered. But I’m still not so sure this man got it. Because he left and told the leaders who You were. It’s not at all like the other blind man that you healed and then he winds up preaching to the leaders that You must be from God or how could You heal a blind man from birth. And Maybe this story and this healing isn’t just about this man, but maybe it’s about the heart attitudes of the religious people here. Because the rest of this chapter is spent directly dealing with them and their hearts.
Maybe we’re so focussed on ourselves that we miss the point that You have a bigger agenda. Even this healing wasn’t just for the sick man. You only spent a little time with him, but You spoke for a long time with the leaders about what they were witnessing and not believing. I suppose the man had an opportunity to hear that too.
The miracle testified of who You were. But they wouldn’t believe it. You testified of who You were. But they wouldn’t believe it. Even Scripture testified of who You were. But they wouldn’t believe it. Lots of people saw what You did. Lots of people heard what You said. Lots of people read and memorized and talked about the Scriptures. But they didn’t really understand. That’s the problem. It can just as easily be my problem as it was theirs. And it will keep me from You, just like it kept them from You.
So, You tried to give them understanding. You told them “The one that hears and understands what I say, and entrusts themself to God who sent Me, has everlasting life and won’t be condemned.” I’ve heard people say that You never actually said You were God. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s all here in red. And the Jews knew it’s what You were saying. “Hey, guys, you’ve seen the works I’ve done. If you would just admit it, there’s no where else they could come from except from God. But You don’t want to believe. You say You know the Scriptures. But if you did, then you would agree, because I’m all over them. You say you love God, but how can you if you don’t love me? You love what other men think about you more than you love what God thinks about you. So, even the Scriptures you say you believe will condemn you because you wouldn’t believe them. If you won’t believe what Moses wrote about me, how will you believe me?”
Lord, I believe You use all things for Your glory. I believe that every bad thing that happens and every good thing that happens and everything in between is an opportunity for You to be glorified. Look at all the people that could have come to trust in You by this one man’s healing. If only they had seen their need for a spiritual renewal. If only we could take our eyes off of our physical needs and desires for a change and search our hearts instead.
It takes me to a whole different story with a whole different meaning. I’m transported to the story of the woman who had a bleeding issue for years. None of the doctors could cure her. It had eaten up all her money. She’s come to seek You. In the midst of the crowd she’s thinking, “If I could only touch his clothes, He will make me whole.” Now this is a different kind of whole. This is “sozo.” It means to save, deliver or protect. I think this woman was looking for more than a physical healing. This woman was experiencing an emptiness, a sorrow, a longing, and she knew that only You could fill it. She got it. It was all coming together for her.
The second she touched You, You knew it. You called her out from the crowd. “Daughter, be of good comfort; your faith has made you whole.” And right then she was made whole. You didn’t just heal her bleeding problem. You saved her and delivered her unto Yourself. You healed her wholely. This is what You desire. You want to heal and fill all of us. And just to reemphasize that You want to deal with us holistically, Mark puts it beautifully in chapter 5, “Daughter, your faith has made you whole (saved, healed, preserved, delivered you); go in peace, and be whole (healed) of your plague.” She was healed of her plague but she had also received a greater wholeness that was accompanied by peace.
I suppose anyone can be healed. But only those who act in faith are made whole in You. Only by faith do we find and receive what fills us with peace. And I suppose I only receive healing for what I envision as my illness. If I only see myself as physically ill, then all I want is to be healed physically. But if I see myself empty and lacking in my heart and life, then I will seek You for my wholeness. And when I seek that from You, it’s Your desire to make me complete and whole.
It’s not just that healthy people don’t need a doctor. The point is that sometimes we think we are fine or we want to think we are fine. Sometimes we won’t admit our sickness. My grandfather lost half his leg because he wouldn’t go to the doctor. Some people believe Jim Henson, creator of the muppets, waited too late to go to the doctor. What of my own heart condition (spiritually speaking)?
Lord, I am so glad that You care about the physical needs of people whether they have trusted in You or not. I’m filled with joy that You allow me to join in with You on missions and meet people’s physical needs and I’m so joyful for Your other faithful children who are out there all over the world following in Your footsteps and doing that through medical/dental missions. And just like this day with the man by the pool, the relief we bring is an opportunity to witness of Your love, Your provision, and who You are before them.
My prayer is that I will come regularly before You to make sure my spiritual health is all You desire it to be. But I also pray for those who are watching, for those who are hearing about You, for those who are reading about You, that they would desire complete wholeness. I pray that they would look beyond the physical and that You would give them eyes to see You, ears to hear from You, and hearts and minds to understand. I pray that You would raise up more people like the woman who touched Your hem by faith. Lord, use every situation to raise up more seekers and to draw them to You.