A stupid question….
One day, years ago, I was in the grocery store with our 5 little ones (the 6th hadn’t shown up yet!) I homeschooled at the time, so whenever I shopped it was like a moving zoo…we took up the whole aisle! It gained the attention of many on-lookers. Very often a complete stranger would approach me and say, “Are you Catholic?” When I answered in the negative, they would ask, “Mormon?” Trying to keep the “zoo” chaos to a minimum, I would just tell the person I was a Christian and move on, thinking to myself that it was strange, sometimes bordering on the stupid, that someone would come up to me and ask me that. The poor man who asked me on one particular day was taken aback when, after his questions, I answered, “No, I’m not Catholic or Mormon, I’m just a sexy Protestant!!”
This morning I’m struck by what seems a seemingly stupid question Jesus asked a crippled man. He said, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6) The man had been sick for 38 years, spending his days on a mat beside healing waters which he never entered. “Do you want to get well?” This is where my kids would say, “Duh!!” The sick man didn’t answer Jesus, but told him all the reasons why he hadn’t gotten well yet. Excuses. Uh-oh, the story is starting to hit home a little too closely…
I hear Jesus ask me, “Do you want to live the abundant life???” Duh. However, like the sick man, I look at the healing waters and say, “ I just can’t, though, because I have no time, I’m too tired, I don’t know how, I’m short on money, etc.”
Ouch! I’m realizing it’s not such a stupid question after all. In the story of the sick man Jesus doesn’t ask him again–almost as if He knows the man will just keep giving excuses. Jesus says to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” It sounds a lot like the Nike advertisement, “Just do it!”
Do you, like me, find yourself making excuses for why you can’t study the Bible, pray, stop complaining, overcome your anger, cease worrying, share your faith, let go of your bitterness, take the first step toward wellness, give your tithe, etc?
In the John 5 story we are told there was a “multitude” of sick people around that pool. Jesus walked up to one man, looked him in the eyes and asked the penetrating question, “Do you want to get well?”
Today He’s asking you, and me, “Do you?…Then GET UP…obey” And His amazing, incredible power can cause us to obey. “I can do ALL things through Christ who empowers me.” (Phil. 4:13)