Truth Encounter #2: UN-stuck!

This message is the second in a series I introduced in a prior post.

STAY TUNED for a PRAYER by the author at the end of this post!

John 5:15 “Then the man went and told … that it was Jesus who had healed him!”

Did you ever feel STUCK? Or are you praying for someone who seems stuck? Whether emotionally, spiritually, relationally or physically (or some combination thereof); we all have. It seems at times that a familiar DYSfunction is more comfortable than unfamiliar function, doesn’t it? Join me as I explore a Bible passage in which Jesus helped one man to get UN-stuck and find out what we can learn from his story:

Here goes:

I’ve been thinking of a guy. I don’t know his name, but I think I’d like him if I met him. He is often referred to by Bible commentators as ‘the man on the mat.’ He’s a regular guy with ‘issues’ like the rest of us. In fact, I surmise that’s why John (the Apostle), chose to include his story in his Gospel at John 5: 1-15 . If you read the text, you’ll find that the man had an “Infirmity thirty-eight years.” (v. 5) For a LONG time, he’d been physically sick. He was literally lying on a ‘bed’ or ‘mat’ with a large group of similarly situated people. Local tradition had said that people who went into a particular pool at a particular time were healed. From the context surrounding his story, it’s quite likely that besides his physical infirmity, he was likely stuck emotionally as well. (Who wouldn’t be?!) Perhaps in disappointment, impossibility-thinking, low self-esteem, shame, self-blame, or hopelessness? We don’t know all the details.

But what we DO know is that Jesus asked him an odd question. Why? Because Jesus knew all of the details! When Jesus asks a question, it’s not because he doesn’t know the answer. We need to pay extra attention to his questions! In this case, Jesus says point blank to the guy: “Do you WANT to be made well?” (v.6) ‘Well, of course he does’, I’d think as I read (and re-read) these passages! But, then I remembered that Jesus had insight from the Holy Spirit, and only did what he saw the Father do (v. 19).

By the way, I’d read this passage repeatedly over a long period of time and thought that Jesus was being sort of a ‘meany’ to this poor, pitiful man until I read more carefully! Notice in v.6; the text says, “Jesus KNEW he’d been in that condition a long time.” Jesus undoubtedly had a ‘word of knowledge**’ (a gift of the Holy Spirit) that gave him insight into this man’s entire condition; body, soul and spirit. In short, Jesus knew the WHY behind the WHAT.

Likely Jesus discerned that (in THIS case — not all cases!) there was a link between the man’s emotional (his ‘soul’ or mind, will and emotions), his spiritual (his spirit) and his bodily (his physical) conditions. The man replied to Jesus with an excuse regarding why he couldn’t get well. Notice what Jesus did not do. He did NOT coddle the man’s self-pity or sit down and join him on the mat. He simply commanded the man, “Rise up, take up your bed and walk!” (v.8) In other words, he ignored the lame man’s ‘lame excuses’ and spoke Spirit-empowered, healing, truth to him. What happened next was shocking to all who observed it. Evidently, the Spirit-infused, powerful, truthful word from Jesus touched the man’s body because in verse 9 John records, “immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.”

Bottom line: the anointing of the Holy Spirit, flowing through Jesus, healed the man’s body.*** It was a miracle!

But that wasn’t the greatest miracle. What Jesus said next was even more important and addressed a deeper problem, in verse 14 we read, “See you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” From his perfect knowledge of this man’s back story, Jesus had discerned that some sinful action in his past was connected with his lengthy infirmity. So, Jesus not only healed his body but called him to repentance in order to heal him spiritually (an even greater miracle of salvation or personal faith revival). His great love for the man compelled him to both heal AND speak the truth by calling him to repentance.

The next thing we know, the healed man is out telling others “that it was Jesus who had made him well.” (v. 15). He didn’t keep the miracle he’d received or the good news he’d heard to himself. He told others what Jesus had done for him.

*photo credit below

As an aside, if you read on further in the story, (v. 16-23) you’ll learn that the religious leaders were offended that Jesus had healed the man. Healing prayer wasn’t in their religious tradition, particularly on the Sabbath. The fact that Jesus was moving in the power of the Holy Spirit and setting captives free just didn’t ‘work’ for them. Sad, but true.

How about You? Do YOU want to be well? Perhaps it’s gotten a bit too comfortable on some ‘mat’ in your life. Maybe your ‘mat’ isn’t a physical infirmity; but instead it’s an invisible ‘mat’ like unforgiveness (toward yourself or others), bitterness, self-pity, hoplessness, unresolved grief, disappointment, rejection, or shame. Whatever the case, if you’ve been physically, emotionally, or spiritually sick for so long that you feel ‘stuck’, today Jesus is asking a question to you and me: “Do you want to be well.?”

If you do, talk to Jesus (in prayer). He knows the WHY behind your WHAT. By the power of the Holy Spirit, he is ready, willing, and able to reveal that ‘what’ and bring healing to your life at the point of your deepest need. Nothing is impossible with God!

END NOTES & PRAYER VIDEO BELOW:_________________________________________________

*PHOTO IMAGE CREDIT: download purchased from iStock-136919993.jpg

**see e.g. 1 Corinthians 12:8 For more on the gifts and guidance of the Holy Spirit, see my book “GOD SPEAKS: The Guidance of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts & Today” available at

***Isaiah 10:27 PLEASE NOTE: In addition to praying for healing, we are also wise to seek all medical and natural means of healing as well.

PRAYER VIDEO (view on browser if not visible on mobile device):

Prayer for the readers of blog post: UN-stuck! by Rev. Janet L. DeCaster

Janet DeCaster
Janet DeCaster
Christian Author & Speaker, Janet DeCaster, holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a J.D. from Emory University School of Law, and a Certificate of Biblical Studies from ACTS International Bible College. She has served as a Pastor to women in a local Church, a Deacon, a global missions team member, and a committed volunteer in many capacities in the Church. She is Ordained for Christian ministry with the Assemblies of God, U.S.A. Learn more about her books and ministry at her website,

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