Text: John 5:2-18
The first three gospels have their own accounts of how Jesus upset the religious officials by healing (which they considered working) on the Sabbath. Here in John, the same thing happens. This time, Jesus is in Jerusalem. The sick and infirm gather by the Sheep Gate near a pool called Beth-zatha. The waters of the pool are believed to have the power to heal. But here’s the catch. In order to be healed, you have to be the first person to enter the water after it is stirred up by some supernatural force. This is such a cruel teaching. Think about it. Who will be able to get to the waters first — someone who is deathly ill, paralyzed, blind or someone with just a minor injury? Those who need it most simply have no hope of finding healing here. Hence, the man who has been waiting by the side of that pool for 38 year. And then comes Jesus. The man is healed and sent on his way. Jesus tells him to stand up, pick up his mat, and walk. So what’s the problem? Well, carrying his mat is legally considered work. When the authorities see him doing so, they object. Can you believe that? For 38 years, this man has been unable to stand, to walk, to carry his mat. Instead of rejoicing with him in his healing, they criticize his behavior. And when they discover that Jesus is the reason for the healing, they began persecuting him. When Jesus refers to God as his Father — the persecution escalates. Now they want to kill Jesus. Talk about majoring in the minors! Instead of seeing a walking miracle, they see a violation of Sabbath law. Instead of thanking the one who offered the healing, they criticize him. And instead of praising God for the way He was at work through Jesus, they seek to destroy that channel of blessing. It is so easy to get the majors and minors of life confused. For many folks, honoring the Sabbath had become a way of majoring in the minors. That’s too bad because the Sabbath — rest in the company of God — is intended to help us clarify the majors and minors of life. I’m hoping it can do that for me— and for you.
Thought for the Day: Time spent with God helps clarify the minors and the majors of life.
Prayer: Dear God, forgive me for those times when I confuse the minors and majors of life. Help me to always celebrate your power at work in the world – even in unexpected ways. AMEN
2 Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. 3 In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” 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 making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk.
Now that day was a sabbath. 10 So the Jews said to the man who had been cured, “It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” 11 But he answered them, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your mat and walk.’” 12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take it up and walk’?” 13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had disappeared in the crowd that was there. 14 Later Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you have been made well! Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16 Therefore the Jews started persecuting Jesus, because he was doing such things on the sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is still working, and I also am working.” 18 For this reason the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because he was not only breaking the sabbath, but was also calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God.