John 5:1-17 (ESV)
1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids–blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 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?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. 10 So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” 11 But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.'” 12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” 13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. 16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”
There are a couple of pretty big oversights in this healing story. One is from the man being healed and the other is from the Jews as John relates the story. The man is healed from being an invalid for 38 years. He had been trying desperately to get into the water to be healed but someone always beat him. But when Jesus tells him to get up and walk, he does just that. He gets up, rolls up his bed and walks away. So what is the oversight? He doesn’t stop to ask who it is that has healed him. He doesn’t wonder who the man is that has so much authority in his presence that when he asked him to stand up he stood up, even after 38 years. He doesn’t ask, “Who are you? Your special, can I follow you?” He walks away and right into the other group of people who miss something. To be John tells us that Jesus withdraws because of the crowd, but I think I would have tried to follow him with my new working legs.
The Jews see someone carrying his bed on the Sabbath. Doesn’t matter that he was healed just a few minutes before. Their concern when hearing about the healing is not to celebrate with the man now that he can walk but to find out who told him to break the law.
The man had received what he wanted, the ability to walk, and he thought that was all he needed. Jesus encounters him again to charge him to sin no more. The man needs more, He needs to encounter Jesus.
The Jews had a law and system. They had an understanding of the way they wanted things to work and how to obtain righteousness. When Jesus disrupts and disturbs this way they seek punishment. They need to hear that the Father is working and so is Jesus. That their system does not limited God. And that their system will not save them.
Sometimes we miss Jesus because we think we have all we need or we have everything figured out. This is not the case. All we need is Jesus, He has us figured out and wants us to rest in him.
Jesus, protect us from not seeing you in our lives. Protect us from being content with getting little from you and forgetting that you have so much more for us. We are grateful for salvation but forget that you empower us to live life like it was meant to be lived. Forgive us for looking at your sacrifice as a get out of jail free card. You love and sacrifice gives us life, real life. Forgive us when we let pet causes become more important than you. They shadow your light. Spirit, remove them from our lives if they hinder us from seeing God’s truth. Amen
Try to identify who you are in the story. Do you think you have all that you need and move on without looking intently to Jesus? Or do you have a system of religion that is working for you and have become blind to the Gospel? Pray that God will help you see who you might be and seek forgiveness for not seeing Jesus as your all in all.