Look at Hidden Motives

Susan Hetrick

Read: John 5:1-15

When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” (v. 6)

Jesus healed lots of people when he walked the earth, in different ways and for different reasons. Notice the question that Jesus asked this man: “Do you want to get well?” We might think, “Of course he wants to get well! He’s been an invalid for thirty-eight years!” Yet, when Jesus asked him, the man did not say, “Yes, of course!” Instead, he gave excuses about why he hadn’t been healed: too many people near the pool, not fast enough, no one helped him.

Jesus could see people’s hidden motivations. Maybe this man’s motivation for sitting by the pool wasn’t healing but to ask for alms or gain sympathy. If he was alone in the world, this would be a clever method of social interaction. People passing by felt sorry for him, gave him money, or spoke to him. He was “rewarded” for being an invalid. Apparently Jesus had no patience for that; he healed him at once, then warned him not to sin anymore.

There is always a reason for our actions. We do what we do because it works for us. That is not to say that our motivations are always conscious. Sometimes we don’t realize why we do what we do. Make it a practice to look for the motivation behind your own actions. Ask, “What reward am I getting from this?” The answer might surprise you! —Susan Hetrick

Prayer: Jesus, you know my heart. Show me my hidden motivations.