Blogging through the Book of John
(John 5:1-6) Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years.When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”
The first thing we need to realize is that it's the Sabbath day. That will be important later on.
So, Jesus has came back to Jerusalem and stopped where the blind, lame, and paralyzed lay on porches. One of the people stuck out to Jesus, a man who had been sick for thirty-eight years. Jesus asked him if he wanted to get well. I'm thinking that was a rhetorical question--
(John 5:7-8) “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.”
Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”
The pool there was thought to heal so people would dip their relatives or others in the pool when it bubbled. Unfortunately for this man, he either didn't have a relative or basically had to fend for himself because in 38 years he'd never gotten to go into the water. Maybe he'd given up in year 15 and never tried again-- who knows? The point is, he had an excuse, and Jesus told him to 'get up and walk'.
We have every excuse in the book-- and sometimes they are valid. But to be healed, to live for Jesus, you just have to do it... Take up your bed and walk.
(John 5:9-15) Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath, so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!”
But he replied, “The man who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”
“Who said such a thing as that?” they demanded.
The man didn’t know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.” Then the man went and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him.
The man didn't even have to make it to the pool. He was instantly healed. He did as Jesus asked, picked up his bed and walked...
But then, the Jewish leaders saw what he was doing. Since it was on the Sabbath, one wasn't even supposed to carry a mat-- 'work' encompassed a lot of things.
The Jewish leaders couldn't deny that the man was healed. That was obvious, but who dare work (ie heal) a person on the Sabbath?!
The healed man couldn't tell them because Jesus had already left.
Jesus found him afterward and told him to stop sinning or something worse might happen. He didn't mean that he'd struck down with a plague, but that sinning has natural consequences that would fall on this man if he didn't stop his sinful ways.
The healed man went to the Jewish leaders and told them it was Jesus that healed him.
It makes you wonder, why? Why did the healed man tell? Was he sharing the Good News? Was he bragging on what Jesus did? Was he tattle telling? Did they offer him money for his loose tongue?
We have no idea, but Jesus chose to heal him because he KNEW how he would react. For whatever reason, the man told the Jewish leaders it was Jesus who healed him.
(John 5:16-18) So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules. But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.” So the Jewish leaders tried all the harder to find a way to kill him. For he not only broke the Sabbath, he called God his Father, thereby making himself equal with God.
This made the Jewish leaders angry. Not only was this little carpenter man healing people on the Sabbath, but he had the NERVE to call God his father!
Notice, they didn't question what he did.... just how he did it, and who he claimed to be.
(John 5:19-20)So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing. In fact, the Father will show him how to do even greater works than healing this man. Then you will truly be astonished.
What would it take for you to be 'astonished' by God? I don't know about you, but seeing the water turned to wine would convince me back in those times. I couldn't imagine seeing a person raised from the dead or that man healed so suddenly.
This is actually a good verse for us parents as well. Jesus did what he saw his father doing. Our kids learn how to act by watching us-- I know because sometimes I see my not nice habits coming out in them. That is never fun to see! Watch how you act around your kids... they learn how to act by watching you.
(John 5:21-30)For just as the Father gives life to those he raises from the dead, so the Son gives life to anyone he wants. In addition, the Father judges no one. Instead, he has given the Son absolute authority to judge, so that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son is certainly not honoring the Father who sent him.
“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.
“And I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the dead will hear my voice—the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live. The Father has life in himself, and he has granted that same life-giving power to his Son. And he has given him authority to judge everyone because he is the Son of Man. Don’t be so surprised! Indeed, the time is coming when all the dead in their graves will hear the voice of God’s Son,and they will rise again. Those who have done good will rise to experience eternal life, and those who have continued in evil will rise to experience judgment. I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will.
When we judge someone, we aren't just about it... oh we THINK we are. We think we are high and mighty and 'right', but we aren't. The only perfect judge is God-- and we will all stand before Him when we die.
No, we can't get to Heaven just by works, but we can HELP or HINDER someone else's trip to Heaven or Hell by how we act. Have you ever heard a non-Christian say, "I don't know why I have to be saved. I act better than he does anyway." Ouch. Yeah, your actions have caused someone to accept that their sin is on, which will result in him/her not getting into heaven.
We have a BIG responsibility. Don't let the world get to you, and if you do, repent about it. We are human, and we will mess up. But we need to try to live as best we can.
There is a saying, "YOU are the only Bible some will ever read." And that's true. If you act all sad and downtrodden, people see that and think being a Christian is no fun. But if we make it joyful, exciting, happy, then they look and see what it is that 'we' have and how can they get it...
(John 5:31-32) “If I were to testify on my own behalf, my testimony would not be valid. But someone else is also testifying about me, and I assure you that everything he says about me is true.
Praising yourself doesn't do any good. If I told you how good of a writer I was, you'd probably laugh (because you've read my blogs and know how many typos I have...). If someone else tells you, then you believe it more.
Same went for Jesus. If he told them how awesome he was, he would be accused of gloating. Others had to do it to legitimize the claims.
(John 5:33-38) In fact, you sent investigators to listen to John the Baptist, and his testimony about me was true. Of course, I have no need of human witnesses, but I say these things so you might be saved. John was like a burning and shining lamp, and you were excited for a while about his message. But I have a greater witness than John—my teachings and my miracles. The Father gave me these works to accomplish, and they prove that he sent me.And the Father who sent me has testified about me himself. You have never heard his voice or seen him face to face, and you do not have his message in your hearts, because you do not believe me—the one he sent to you
(John 5:39-40) “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.
Several.... several scriptures in the Old Testament point to Jesus, but the people who were supposed to be so schooled in it refused to acknowledge him.
(John 5:41-44) “Your approval means nothing to me, because I know you don’t have God’s love within you. For I have come to you in my Father’s name, and you have rejected me. Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them. No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God.
The world's/man's approval didn't mean anything to Jesus. He knew that God was proud of him and that was all that mattered.
We need to do this (yeah, me included). Worldly approval is nice, but it certainly doesn't top God's approval.
This reminds me of the Oscars. I love watching the Oscars actually... even if I haven't seen a movie nominated since Titanic, I think. But all of those people, patting themselves on the back, in the grand scheme of things, it means nothing. You can't take an Oscar or a Golden Globe or your Second Grade Spelling Crown with you to Heaven. All you have there is whether or not God approves of your life on Earth.
Without beating yourself up, do you think God would approve of your life? DO NOT GET YOURSELF DOWN OVER THIS QUESTION! We have this awesome thing called forgiveness. If you do something you don't think God will approve of, then ask forgiveness and move on with your life. Don't let the devil beat you up over it.
The devil lives in the past; God deals with the future.
(John 5:45-47)“Yet it isn’t I who will accuse you before the Father. Moses will accuse you! Yes, Moses, in whom you put your hopes. If you really believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me. But since you don’t believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”
Jesus is throwing their own words against them. He knew they were so into the law and so into Moses that he used that to his advantage. He's saying, "If you REALLY believed Moses you'd believe in ME because MOSES WROTE about me!"
But he knew that the Jewish leaders didn't really believe in what Moses wrote. They loved their positions more than the law. Of course, there was political pulls (both in the cities and with Rome... more on that later), but one of the big things was they didn't truly believe it. If they had, they would have been lining up to kiss the Messiah's feet.
What about you? Do you truly believe what you read? Or do you just go with the flow because it's what you are used too? Questions for us all to answer...
Other posts in the series: