Do You Want to Get Well?

Do You Want to Get Well?

Bryan Jones |

In John 5, Jesus asks the paralyzed man, "Do you want to get well?" No one can transform themselves; only the Holy Spirit can do that. In this message, we examine what our part is in our transformation.

Jesus at the Center of Transformation
Do You Want to Get Well? • Message 3
Bryan Jones
March 3, 2024

Every Saturday, we have groceries delivered, and I will ask my kids to help… so I will carry like 6 or 7 bags, and I’ll look over, and my son is carrying a single cake box… not even a bag with the cake box… Do you know what he never carries? He never carries any vegetables… but he will say, Dad, you are stronger… and I end up falling for it and carrying all the groceries…

The reason I say this today when we talk about healing… I want to talk about your part to play in healing… sometimes we just say miracles are all on God. He’s stronger, but in doing so, we absolve ourselves of any responsibility… for healing to happen, you have a part to play…

God has left man many things to do for himself. He promises seedtime and harvest. Yet man must prepare the soil, sow, till, and reap in order to allow God to do His share. God provides us with food and drink. But He leaves us to take, and eat, and drink. There are some things God cannot do, or at least will not do, without our help. 

Albert Richardson

There are some things God has called you to do… Let’s be clear: no one can transform themselves; only the Spirit does that. But there are things we must do to allow the Spirit to transform us…

I want to give you two questions that will show your availability to the Spirit that show our desire to be transformed!


1. Do you really want to get well?
(John 5:2-7. C/R: Genesis 3:11-12; James 4:8)


2Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, He asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

John 5:2-6 (NIV)


This is a unique passage….

The Sheep Gate is where they would bring the sheep through on Passover… It’s also the gate Jesus rode in on Palm Sunday…

But also notice there is no verse 4… in the NLT, NIV, ESV and most of the other versions don’t mention it at all.

But in the KJV and NAS, it’s in there... this is because in some of the earliest manuscripts, verse 4 wasn’t in there… so in your Bible, it’s most likely a footnote… but it helps give some context as to why some many people were gathered… listen...


For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.

John 5:4 (NKJV)


They believed that if the waters stirred, there was healing… this was like Walmart on Black Friday; people were trying to get in because there was healing, or at least this is what they believed…

But then it goes on to say Jesus looks at this man and says do you want to get well?

Don’t you think this is an odd question for Jesus to ask? I mentioned this before, but sometimes I try to read the Bible as a skeptic, not a cynic, a skeptic, to try and get into the text. Here is a man who has been here for 38 years, paralyzed. He seems to be looking for healing. Why does Jesus ask an odd question like this… Why in the world would someone want to be sick!?!?

But I want you to notice this… Jesus asked him a very specific question: do you want to get well… listen to his response…

… “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

John 5:7 (NIV)


Jesus asks a direct question… and do we get a direct answer… you know there are times… you are asked a direct question, and you don’t want to answer… Hey, how does the dress look?

Honestly, just awful… you know what smart people say: did you do something with your hair… People often avoid the question or make excuses.

What do we get? Excuses… no one is here to help me… everyone goes ahead of me… it’s like he’s avoiding the issues.

In fact, excuses have been going on since the beginning of time…


And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman You put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

Genesis 3:11-12 (NIV)


Notice he uses the endearing phrase woman… But what does he do makes excuses… so what does this show us… men are the best at making excuses… and women are best at making mistakes and bringing us down with them…

But Jesus has a way of getting to what’s really in our hearts… Isn’t it true that we say things with our mouths that we don’t really mean in our hearts? Jesus sees something in this man… Something He has to draw out: do you really want to get well… See, I think there are two things that keep us from getting well:


  • Defeated (think this man’s heart was more withered than his legs) ... think about it: every destructive act happens from discouragement. Self-pity is one of the deadliest things that can consume you…


If life has been unfair, or something has happened to you that is unfair… if you keep dwelling on that thing, it starts to create self-pity... notice, the man is in front of Jesus, and all he can say is no one will help me…


  • Double-minded


But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

James 1:6-8 (NIV)


(we want Jesus, but we don’t want to let go of the other thing) … how many of you did some sort of fast or healthy eating for your New Year’s resolution… how many of you have already failed? Double-minded people

A guy at the last church… fasting… I’m going to fast for maybe two months… The next thing I know, I see a picture where he’s slurping down some noodles. I called him and asked, what’s the deal? He said, I love Jesus, but I also love carbs…


Most of us want freedom - but not at the price of forgiveness.

Most of us want peace - but we don’t want to let go of the anger we’ve operated in for so long.

Most of us want the best for our kids - but do you want God’s plans for your kids or your plans for your kids?

Most of us want more of God – but not at the price of waking up early and turning off the TV at night.

Most of us say, God, You can have my everything - but not at the price of sacrificial giving.


I told you guys I found freedom from pornography years ago… do you know what God revealed? I was double-minded. Yes, I wanted freedom, but I wanted the comfort and the familiarity this brought…

Sometimes, we will stay in what’s miserable if what’s miserable is familiar. Or we think to ourselves, I’m not quite ready to give this thing up…

In the ancient Jewish world, if you had a physical disability, you would be trained in the family trade. If you were blind, paralyzed, or missing a limb, you were not trained in the family trade; you were not trained in carpentry, winemaking, or agriculture. The family trade would pass over you because everyone would know your profession… they had the same profession… they were beggars. See, in the Jewish world, people would walk by and be moved by compassion because they had their sight or their legs, and so they would just give… also they were commanded … (homeless man vs beggar), and some people could be well provided for by this profession. This is all he would know… he wasn’t trained for any other position... maybe this is why he wants to get well... for 38 years, this is what he’s been doing; this is his identity.


Some people fear freedom because suffering is all they’ve known… and they aren’t sure what’s next... if all you’ve known is anger, what happens when you let it go… if this has been such a part of your life, sometimes people find comfort in our discomfort… that person who hurt or betrayed you and you no longer know who you are apart from anger… resentment becomes fuel for your life… this has become your identity.


Let me encourage you with this… this guy was trying to get into the water, and all of a sudden, the living water came to Him… God has come to set you free, but you have to surrender your doublemindedness and defeated thinking.


2. Are you ready for your past to become your platform?
(John 5:8-11)


What I notice is a lot of people want to bury their past, but Jesus wants to resurrect their past. That thing that brought you pain and death for so long, He wants to make that a part of your story….

Notice this…


Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.” But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”

John 5:8-11 (NIV)


Do you notice Jesus doesn’t say leave your mat. He says carry your mat. The mat is a part of your story; it’s part of your testimony… Notice it’s mentioned 4 times in these few verses… Jesus is showing us we aren’t just to bury our past; we are to use the past to bring glory to God. Jesus says to carry the very thing that had once carried him.

Can I ask a question? What’s your mat?

What’s the thing in your past, the thing that you’ve tried to bury? Can I say I believe God doesn’t want you to bury that? He wants to resurrect it.

Now let me be clear: He doesn’t want you to carry the shame… He wants you to carry your story. It’s funny; we spend so much time trying to get rid of our past, and what God wants to do is redeem our past and make it part of the story…

This man is walking around with a mat, with his past, but he’s been healed… it’s a picture of what God wants us to do.

The other day, I was getting ready to preach here… and I haven’t had it happen that often, but right before I walked out… God said this to me… I brought you out of the valley to help bring others out of the valley…

Some of my greatest ministries to people have come from two areas that I used to bury; one is pornography, and the other is depression… Listen, I will forewarn you; people will say and do dumb things… when you tell others how He brought you out of the valley…

Like one time, I shared my struggle with pornography at a church. Someone said you are like the pornography pastor… which quite possibly is one of the worst titles you can be given… let me tell you, when I went to seminary, never once did I pray that God would help me to be known as the porn pastor…

What I’ve learned is our greatest platform comes from our pains and our pasts… this has become my mat, a part of my story… God has set me free, and I want others to be free.

You know, one of the reasons I love Brookwood so much… is the transparency of so many… People talk about their mats, their past.

Like one of our mantras is, no perfect people allowed. People say to me all the time, you’re so honest… and do you know why I am… I wasn’t always like this…


  • I learned people can relate a lot more to people stumbling than someone always winning medals… said another way, your greatest platform will come from your past.
  • We already have a hero, and His name is Jesus.


So let go of perfection and stop trying to bury the thing Jesus wants to resurrect. You don’t have to be embarrassed by it. Some of you have been divorced, and multiple times… God will use that. Some of you have made all sorts of mistakes; God will use that. Some of you have made so many parenting mistakes; God will use that. Some of that feels like you wasted a portion of your life; God will use that… How do I know that?

Look at Jesus. What was Jesus’ past? A cross, a tool of torture and death… and it became His greatest platform to show the love of God.


If God can redeem the cross, then He can redeem your circumstances.


Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.” But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”

John 5:8-11 (NIV)

And when you try to be perfect, you know what it really shows—that your identity is in performance… you don’t have to perform for God. You are set free by Him.


What is your mat?

Have you shared that with someone?

Can I say there is nothing you can say that will shock us… Come down…


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