The Question Jesus Asks First
In John 5, Jesus asks the most profound question in the whole Bible. He asks, “Do you want to get well?” He asks this question to a man who had been an invalid for 38 years. The man’s honest rebuttal could have been, “Why wouldn’t I want to get well? Do you think I’ve hung out at this pool all these years because I like it?” However, getting well is often harder than staying sick. Not everyone wants to get well. I haven’t wanted to get well.
Not getting well means I am not living a resurrected life, despite the words of Romans 6:6-14:
We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Instead, I live as an invalid sitting at the edge of healing water, like the man in the Bible, just not able to get in.
Why do I not just jump into God's resurrected grace? Because my clinched heart justifies unforgiveness, a judgmental spirit, a Pharisaical attitude, too high of standards for myself and others, and no grace. My clinched heart gives me an excuse for my sin. It lets me off-the-hook from the hard work of getting well. If I let myself off-the-hook, then I have to let everyone else in my life off-the-hook. My heart is clinched too tightly to do that, so I stay sick. I don’t accept Jesus’ gift of present-day resurrection and instead, I live a miserable life of death.
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