“When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?” – John 5:6
In Luke chapter 8 we read of the woman with the issue of blood. She had been hemorrhaging for twelve years and scripture records that many doctors had tried but failed to help her. Understand that in her culture to have this ailment caused her to be declared unclean and therefor she would not have been allowed to touch or even be around other people. This is likely the reason that she hid herself while pressing through the crowd and touched Christ as inconspicuously as she could. She well knew that had she been found out, it could very well cost her her life. She had great faith, believing in her heart that Jesus could heal her when no one else could, yet her healing did not come simply by believing but by acting upon that belief and proving her faith in the face of much difficulty. It could not have been an easy thing for this sick and frail woman, weak from years of constant blood loss, to have fought her way to The feet of Jesus, pressing through a crowd of resistance. Yet her faith drove her to press on until she was finally able to grab hold of Jesus and receive her healing. Though when her healing came it was instant, from the point of her believing to the point of her receiving was not. There was a time and process of proving and acting upon that faith. This process helped her to build a timeless testimony, teaching countless others invaluable lessons.
Jesus knew the moment she touched him, though He was being mobbed by the crowd, and called her out. Though she knew the severity of her crime and also the consequences of it, she did not hesitate to publicly proclaim her testimony, giving God glory for her healing. To this Jesus replied “your faith has made you whole”. “Whole, not just healed but whole. Spiritually, emotionally, and physically she was made whole by her relentless pursuit of Christ.
Now in John chapter 5 we read a very different story of healing in the account of the impotent man. For 38 years this man had carried an infirmity. All these years he had been seeking a healing at the pool of Bethesda. At a certain time an angel would disturb the waters of this pool and the first person to enter the water after this event would be healed but this man had no one to help him and was too feeble to get to the pool first on his own. So year after year he failed to be healed.
When Jesus passed by and saw this man laying there He had pity on him, knowing how long he had been sick. At this point something interesting happens. Jesus ask the man, “wilt thou be made whole?” While the woman had proven her faith by her actions, faithfully pursuing God, this man simply lay there waiting to be healed. Both believed but only one had true faith, because faith will drive you to action, obedience, and the pursuit of God. This is why we are saved by faith, because faith will cause you to pursue and take action.
The woman had come willingly to Jesus and been made whole, while this man had not. In fact Jesus had come to him, giving him an opportunity where he was to either be made whole or remain in his current state. He had to agree to receive of Jesus and he had to choose to obey Him.
Once he had done these two things he was made whole, again not just healed but made whole. He was cleansed, forgiven, healed, and set free. The repeated reality that people were made whole and not just healed points to the fact that God is not as concerned with manifestations, putting on shows, or even with restoring our bodies as He is with the primary goal of restoring our souls.
The story continues with the Pharisees complaining that the man was healed and carrying his bed on the Sabbath. The woman fought through opposition to get her healing proving the stickability of her faith. Yet for the man who’s healing came easy, opposition came against him immediately after. Not having done much to prove his faith Jesus doesn’t seem very convinced of the man’s faithfulness to stay the course of righteousness, feeling the need to tell him, “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” (John 5:14)
Jesus delivers a clear warning that if the man chooses to return to his sin he will not only loose his right standing with God (salvation), but his healing also. He will no longer be whole physically or spiritually and what comes upon him will be a worse state then before.
“For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.” – 2 Peter 2:20-21
To this day, when we hear a sermon on faith and healing, we hear about the woman with the issue of blood but we rarely stop to realize the struggle she faced in the process of walking out that faith. Yet it’s that very struggle that makes her story the testimony that it is. Not only did she prove that she trusted God, but she proved that God could trust her, and unlike the impotent man, Jesus did not question her faithfulness. So if you are believing for a healing that hasn’t come yet, don’t give up, pursue God with all your heart, stand faithful and obedient to His voice through every struggle, and believe. You are proving your faith, building your testimony, and gaining God’s trust for greater things to come.