My family is once again watching The Biggest Loser on NBC this season. One idea that the trainers try to instill in the contestants is, you've got to want this for you. It's not about your wife or kids or job it's about getting fit for your own health and well being. Those other motivations may get you started but they will not carry you through to your goal.
Some of the contestants try to push their success off on their team or on the trainers and blame them if they don't succeed. It's natural for us to blame our situations, our parents, our upbringing, our families our disabilities or schedules when things don't work out. It takes the pressure off us. It makes us feel a little better about ourselves.
Jesus came into Jerusalem and went down to the pool called Bethesda to see what was happening. While He was walking through the crowds He came to a man who had been at the pool for 38 years. Jesus stopped and asked him, "do you want to be healed?" Interesting question since it was believed that at times an angel came and stirred the water and the first person in the water was healed. So, of course the man wanted to be healed! He stayed at the pool for 38 years trying to be the first person in the pool. Talk about determination. Trying and failing for that long might have gotten a lesser man to give up.
So it seems a little cold-hearted that Jesus would ask this man if he wanted to be healed. At least, that is what it seems like.
Imagine if you wanted to loose weight and went to the gym every day. But when you got there you just sat in the lobby and ate a box of Krispy Kreme donuts. Then one day a trainer came in and saw you sitting there with the empty box and asked, "do you want to get fit?" It's kind of the same situation.
Here's the reality. Jumping in to a pool of water isn't going to heal you any more than sitting in the lobby of the YMCA is going to make you fit. They don't equal. It's misplaced hope. So Jesus question is entirely acceptable based on the reality of the situation.
But the man was so sure that his only hope was the pool that he immediately began to make excuses.