“Do you want to be healed?”
What a dumb question! The man had been lame for thirty-eight years, and was now perched beside the pool called Bethesda. He was waiting for the stirring of the water, and hoping for someone -- anyone -- to throw him into the pool for a miraculous healing. Of course he wanted to be healed! (John 5:1-15).
Yet, it was not a dumb question, for the Great Physician dealt with many who were unaware of their afflictions, and had no desire for healing. As Jesus said to the proud, self-sufficient Pharisees, “Those who are healthy have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31-32).
The Greek word for healthy or healed is hygies (hoo ge ACE), from which the English word “hygiene” is derived. In the early centuries hygies meant to be whole, healthy, and undamaged. When great crowds came to Jesus in Matthew 15:30, they brought their friends who were maimed and deformed. Jesus made them whole. When Jesus met a man with a withered hand in Matthew 12:13, Jesus restored the hand and it was “whole like the other.”
Just like the hand that got all straightened out, Jesus told about a prodigal son who came home all straightened out (Luke 15:27). When the father welcomed his son home safe and sound, it was not just the boy’s body that was whole and healthy -- it was his entire life.
To be whole and healthy in a spiritual sense brings us to our final application of hygies in the New Testament. People who want to be healthy in the faith (Titus 2:2) must be taught healthy doctrine (Titus 2:1). Error must be silenced (Titus 1:11) and rebuked (1:13) so people can be healthy. Paul warned that the time would come when people would not endure sound doctrine (2 Tim 4:3) and urged Timothy to retain the apostolic standard of sound words (2 Tim 1:13).
Do you want to be healed -- healthy in your soul? Do you want your life straightened out? Then seek the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Tim 6:3).