Today’s Reading: John 5
It was not about the WHEN, but the WHO.
It was not about the PHYSICAL, but about the SPIRITUAL.
It was not about HEALING, but about CHANGE.
It was not about the BODY, but about the HEART.
It was not about the TIMING, but about the SOURCE.
It was not just about a MOMENT, but about a LIFE.
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 38 years. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”
“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!”
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 (John 5:1-15).
Crowds of sick people all around and Jesus approached one man, knowing this man had been ill for a very long time. He knew this man, knew his situation and his need – not only for PHYSICAL healing but for SPIRITUAL healing. Jesus’ desire was for this man’s life to change. For 38 years he had been sick but Jesus had more than just physical healing in mind to change this man’s situation. Jesus wanted to give this man life – eternal life!
For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life – John 3:16.
This was a miracle of life that Jesus was offering. The physical touch was for the purpose of this man believing in Jesus and choosing obedience. Jesus told this man to do two things: “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” and “stop sinning”. The first required a MOMENT of faith and obedience. He had been sick for such a long time. He had to believe in Jesus enough to stand up. The second required a LIFE of faith and obedience, a healing of the heart that would change the way this man lived the rest of his life – holy and set apart for the One who had healed him.
The Jewish leaders tried to make this next miracle about timing but Jesus corrected them, letting them know this was not about WHEN but about WHO – not about the physical healing but about spiritual healing. While the Jewish leaders focused in on the TIMING of the miracle, Jesus tried to point out to them the SOURCE of the miracle. Jesus had come to bring life and they were missing out on this miracle that was available for them also because they were too caught up in the legalism of when the miracle had taken place. What is it that has us so distracted that we are missing out on the miracle of life that God is offering?
For just as the Father gives life to those he raises from the dead, so the Son gives life to anyone he wants (5:21).
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 to 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 (5:24-26).
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 (5:39-40).
The miracle of life is what Jesus was offering at the pool of Bethesda and it is what He is still offering us today. This miracle comes from the love of a God who would send His one and only Son to die for our sins so that we might believe and experience eternal life. This miracle of life is available to all of us – it requires a MOMENT of faith and obedience, as well as a LIFE of continued faith and obedience. The purpose of all of these miracles performed by Jesus were to prove that He was sent by God so that we might truly believe and experience eternal life (5:36).
Lord, focus our attention where you want it to be. Give us eyes to see what today is about – not what we want to make it but about your purpose. Give us patience to focus on the source instead of the timing, the spiritual instead of the physical. Amen.