John 5:8-14

John 5:8-14  has Jesus with the man who has been coming to the pool of Bethsada for the past 38 years.  He is paralyzed and can’t walk.  Jesus had asked him if he wanted to be healed, to which he replied that he would.  “Jesus said, “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.” The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bedroll and walked off”. How crazy is this?  The guy has been lying by this pool for decades, and now Jesus tells him to get up and walk.  What does he do?  He gets up, picks up his mat, and walks off.  He obeyed what Jesus told him to do.  That’s a key thing to keep in mind here.  He didn’t argue with Jesus about being unable.  He didn’t ask for help.  He simply did what Jesus said and was healed.

Jesus had guided the man towards a response of faith.  Healing happened as the man responded in faith and did exactly what Jesus told him to do, though a moment earlier it was impossible to move at all on his own. The fact of his healing was confirmed in that he had the strength to carry his own bed-mat and walk with it.  Great news, right?  Not according to the religious leaders.  “That day happened to be the Sabbath. The Jews stopped the healed man and said, It’s the Sabbath. You can’t carry your bedroll around. It’s against the rules”.  Jesus has done a miracle, and healed a man from a paralysis of 38 plus years.  But the leaders of the day were focused on their rules, not the impact Jesus had made.

The Jewish leaders didn’t want to know who healed the crippled man. They wanted to know who told him to carry a bed-mat on the Sabbath day. “They asked, “Who gave you the order to take it up and start walking?” But the healed man didn’t know, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd”.  They want to know who was undercutting their authority and violating their rules.  To the religious leaders Jesus was the man who broke the Sabbath. To the healed man Jesus was He who made me well.  The healed man didn’t get Jesus business card.  He didn’t know His name.  He only knew that he had been paralyzed and now could walk, even if it was wrong to carry his bedroll.

Jesus found him a bit later because He was concerned for his spiritual health (sin no more so a worse thing doesn’t come upon you), not only his physical health. Living a life of sin is worse, and will bring a worse result, than being crippled for thirty-eight years. “A little later Jesus found him in the Temple and said, You look wonderful! You’re well! Don’t return to a sinning life or something worse might happen”.  Sin carries a price.  We may think that a physical ailment is a real problem.  Those things end when we die.  But the result of a sinful life without repentance and reconciliation is eternal.  We have to deal with sin.  That is why Jesus came to earth – not to heal us physically – but to heal our sin problem through the blood of Christ!

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