In John 5:6, Jesus asks the man who had been crippled for 38 years, “Do you want to get well?” Given that Jesus knew all about the man and his time as an invalid, it seems somewhat strange to ask the man if he wanted to get well. Instead of answering Jesus with a firm, “Yes!” the man tells Jesus how no one has helped him get into the pool to be healed. Then, Jesus tells the man to “Get up, pick up your mat, and walk” (John 5:8 NIV).

We see something similar in the case of blind Bartimaeus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

Mark 10:51 (NIV)

In both cases, I see Jesus’ question as being open-ended. It might not seem like it in the case of the man at the pool, but there are many ways of being well. For example, in Luke 5, Jesus is at a home preaching when a crippled man is lowered down through the roof by his friends so Jesus can heal him. Instead of healing the man’s physical body, the first thing Jesus does is forgive the man his sins.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

Luke 5:20 (NIV)

Now the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were aghast at Jesus for claiming the man’s sins were forgiven, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Luke 5:21 NIV). Jesus’ response to them may be equally perplexing:

Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?

Luke 5:23 (NIV)

Obviously, it’s easier to tell someone their sins are forgiven because there’s no way to demonstrate whether or not this is true! Yet, I wonder if there’s more to it. The religious authorities were correct when they said only God could forgive sins, and between the two: healing someone physically and healing them spiritually, the physical healing tends to be more visible.

The difference between physical and spiritual healing is perspective. Which is more important? Which is more important to Jesus? Most Christians will probably say that spiritual healing, that is, being saved and knowing Jesus in the pardon of our sins, is more important. However, do we believe that, and do our actions demonstrate it?

If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

Matthew 18:8-9 (NIV)

I’m not saying we don’t believe our salvation is less important than our physical well-being right now. I am saying that sometimes, we allow our desire to live a comfortable life to overshadow our desire to live eternally with our Father in Heaven. I see this in Jesus’ question to the man at the pool. Later on, Jesus told the man, “Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you” (John 5:14 NIV). Going to hell healthy is a lot worse than living life crippled and going to Heaven.

If the Lord asked you today, “What do you want me to do for you?” What would be your response?

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.