“When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, ‘Do you wish to get well?’” John 5:6
Why did Jesus ask this question when it seems the answer would be obvious? This man had been sick for 38 years! His life was confined to laying on a pallet waiting for a miracle that he didn’t really think would ever happen. We can imagine that he has told others that he wants to be better. He’s probably recounted many times all the things he would do if he was better, but now it’s real. Do you really want to get better?
Jesus pierces through our religious responses. We know the things to say and especially the things Christians are supposed to say. God doesn’t listen to our words as much as He does to our hearts. John the Baptist rebuked the Pharisees telling them that they weren’t the children of Abraham just because they said they were. They had to mean it enough to “bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” It’s not about appearance, but reality. Jesus said to the Pharisees and Scribes, “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me.” (Matthew 15:7) Where is your heart? Have you been mouthing words to God while your heart has been somewhere else?
Maybe you’ve been stuck in sin or in self pity and have asked the Lord to deliver you out of it. Do you really mean it or are you just saying it? When you and I get serious with God, He gets serious with us. When Jesus saw that this man was sincere He told him to do something, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” As he obeyed the power of God came into him and that which had remained the same for 38 years was changed.
Can God change you? He can; but you have to mean it enough to listen to His voice and then obey what He tells you to do.