Thursday, February 16, 2012

John 5:9b-16

Today we will look at the reactions to the miraculous healing of the man who had been an invalid for 38 years.

The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”

But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”

So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”

The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.

Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. (John 5:9b-16)

Uh-oh! Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath! You know He’s in trouble now! The Jewish leaders, instead of rejoicing that this man was made whole again, were grumbling that it was done on the Sabbath. It’s easy for us to shake our heads at this, but I’m wondering what we do that would be the same. Maybe when we criticize the style of the worship music rather than rejoicing that the musicians are using their gifts to praise God and that hundreds around us are actually worshiping. Or maybe when we don’t like the position someone assumes in prayer, because it doesn’t fit our denomination’s practice. Whenever we take our eyes off of Jesus and focus on some picayune liturgical detail, we become just like the Jewish leaders.

Now, did you notice that the man had no idea who had healed him? Jesus had not intended for this to be a flashy show. He didn’t call in a news crew or capitalize on it by milking the people for money afterwards. He merely disappeared into the crowd. However, Jesus was not yet finished with this man. Jon Courson points out that the man went into the temple to worship, and Jesus found him there! Courson writes the following:

"So, too, you will discover that the Lord meets you in the place of praise. You will often find the Lord has just the word you need to hear or just the touch you need to feel when you come to the house of prayer. Quite frankly, it’s hard for me as a pastor to hear people say, ‘I just don’t sense the Lord. I just don’t feel Him,’ when I know they haven’t been to Bible study for months or at the Lord’s table for weeks. I know the Lord will find them if, like this man, they’ll just go to the temple - to the house of prayer, to the place of praise.” (Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: New Testament, P. 473)

Finally, we don’t know what area of sin was in this man’s life. But it is important to note that Jesus seemed to tie his illness with sinning when He warned the man to stop sinning or face the possibility of something worse happening to him. Why is it that we are so reluctant to find a correlation to whatever is going wrong in our lives to the fact that we are sinning?? There isn’t always a cause/effect relationship between our woes and our own behaviors, but frequently there is. Too often we play the victim and blame others, when we need to look inward. Is my family having problems? What actions of mine are contributing to them?

First Jesus questioned whether or not this man even wanted to be healed. Then He warned him that, if he wanted to stay healed, he would need to take responsibility for his behavior and just STOP sinning. I love that there are so many places in the Bible that just tell us to STOP doing what we’re doing! We want to analyze WHY we are doing it, and we come up with all kinds of excuses for not being able to overcome, and Jesus just says, “STOP it!!” :) He can make that demand, because He knows He will provide the power if we’ll just ask Him for it! What habit is continuing to control your life and creating problems for you in your marriage or at work? Jesus says, “STOP!’ Will you?


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