As I read through chapter 5, I’m reminded how easily my focus can be on the wrong thing. First, I join Jesus at the Bethsaida pool where many disabled people laid around waiting for the water to “stir.” It was believed when the water stirred, it was the movement of God and the first person into the water would be healed of their disability. Jesus comes across a man who is an invalid and thus, unable to move himself, nor did he have anyone to help him, and therefore is always beaten to the water. Jesus asks him, “Do you want to be healed?” Instead of simply saying, “Yes, Lord” he gives an excuse, albeit his reality, but nonetheless, an excuse of why he hasn’t been healed. Jesus simply heals him anyway.
But I notice after the invalid is healed, after he does what Jesus says and takes up his mat and walks, the man doesn’t follow Jesus. He takes his blessing and walks…walks away, that is. Again, not focused on the healer. As the man is later questioned by the Jews who were more focused on obeying their ritual law concerning not carrying a load on a Sabbath day, they focus on the mat the man was carrying. Instead of being amazed and praising God for the healing, they are concerned with the former invalid’s breaking of their law as well as Jesus’ healing on the Sabbath which too, was breaking their law. Wow.
My, how easy it is to miss the real work of God in our lives. How easy it is to be distracted, deceived, and not focused on the Lord and what He is doing in our lives. Thankfully, Jesus comes and demonstrates His love and grace and power in our lives, even at times when we are not focused on Him and/or our hearts are not all that grateful.
Speaking of being ungrateful, Jesus is now being persecuted by the Jews because of this healing on the Sabbath. They question Him and His response is the rest of chapter 5 about the testimonies of men and of God. In a nutshell, Jesus acknowledges that although John the Baptist as well as Moses gave testimony about Him, those testimonies don’t really matter. What matters is the testimony God the Father gives. Jesus is the Son of Man, and this sets Him apart to be the judge. God the Father has given Jesus that authority; therefore, Jesus warns the Jews, just like He warns the invalid saying, “Stop sinning or worse things may happen to you.” Jesus speaks of eternal life and the consequence of sin. I’m reminded in vv.28-29 that judgement is always based on works (Law) but salvation is a gift of God given by Grace through Faith in the Son of Man.
I’m so thankful that for me a sinner, God has worked faith in me so that I trust in the works of Jesus for my salvation. I can be certain of my salvation because of Him and Him alone. I’ve learned there is nothing else in this world to put my hope in. I just hope and pray that during these days of life on earth, I don’t lose my focus.
PRAYER: “Lord Jesus, keep me focused on You, the Father, and the Spirit, One God, and the work you are doing in my life and in the lives of others. Yes, we want to be healed. Amen.”