Yes or No
I like to think of myself as an opportunistic human. We all love to view ourselves that way right? People who see the opportunity, who love to be people of action, and are daring to be more. In the glorified version of ourselves – when something is pressed upon us, we like to think we swing into action like a pirate swinging from a mast to take on another ship with amazing music playing behind us.
Is that glorified version of ourselves the reality though? For most of us, it’s not. The scripture we read this week for Quest is more relatable than we want to be.
Look at this situation:
John 5:1-5, “Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. 2 Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda] with five covered porches. 3 Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. 5 One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years.”
38 years of the same thing. 38 years of sickness. 38 years of wanting something different. 38 years going to be dreaming of tomorrow and then tomorrow is a nightmare.
You understand that feeling don’t you?
We all have things that we are dissatisfied with in our lives – things that we want to be different, better, improved. We think about it all the time. We sit in our cubicle dreaming about it. It’s become part of your daily ritual like brushing your teeth. You feel like whatever gap that is in your life, you are defined by it and because it has not been fixed your life is slowly turning into a nightmare.
Like the man laying by the pool. You are just waiting for it to change.
Then Jesus comes in.
John 5:6, “When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him,
“Would you like to get well?”
Would you like to get well? Would you like to be made whole, as the Greek translates it more accurately? Would you like your situation to change?
I mean what a moment! This outsider that no one wants to be connected with and has been in that spot for 38 years, all of the sudden has a man come up to him and open the door for a conversation. This at the very least was a big moment for him, but his question was even more powerful. Jesus was asking a question that could change his life forever at this very moment.
I know it doesn’t always feel like it, but the same thing occurs for us on a DAILY basis. Jesus is always showing up in our lives in these little subtle ways that alter the course of our lives and while he is showing up he is looking at us saying “Do you want to get well?” You see, when Jesus arrives in our lives to change our lives, there is always a time for response to him. He is laying out the moment for you to say, YES I DO I WANT TO BE WELL. I WANT TO KNOW YOU MORE LORD.
If I could say it this way – Jesus intervening in your life is an invitation to be a part of his life.
All we have to do is say yes I want to be well!
We think that’s what the sick man would have done, but he doesn’t. Look at his words in John 5:7, “7 “I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”
I can’t. I have no help. Others take my chance.
Excuse. Excuse. Excuse. He is missing the opportunity because of the excuses that he is making. But notice what he didn’t say verbally… The man never said no I don’t want to be well. All he did was lay out his limitations to being made well.
Through that answer though, what he was saying was no. Why? Well it goes to the great theologian John Mayer’s quote from his song Friends, lovers, or nothing.
“Anything other than a yes is no
Anything other than stayin’ is go
Anything less than I love you, is lying”
When it comes to life and the opportunities that God is giving us – anything other than a
yes is no. Our excuses might come off as us saying we want to be well and we want the opportunities right now, but it isn’t saying yes.
Think about it:
“I can’t serve right now, I’m super busy, but maybe in the future.” – That’s a fancy way of saying no.
“I can’t give right now, finances are super tight, but once I get more money, I will give.” – Still a no.
“I want to read my bible, but I overslept.” – You said no with your eyes closed.
This is not me judging you – I have my own things that I say no to while trying to veil it with an excuse. It’s hard to not make excuses and execute on what you feel like you need to do, but the result of the execution and the yes is worth it.
Jesus is calling all of us to be made whole and better. There will be things that he puts in front of you today where you can respond to him. What are you going to say? Yes or no? Anything other than a yes is no.
This was a scripture that I thought about when I was pondering this for my own personal journey.
Matthew 5:37, “37 Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.”
This guy answered wrong. What will you do?
Thankfully – there is still grace and there is still more opportunity as we see later in this story, but I don’t want to push off my opportunity to be made whole.
Anything but a yes is a no. So say yes.