Read: John 5
I always consider the first portion of this chapter to be a lesson in patience. There is a man waiting by a healing pool… a man that has had an infirmity for 38 years! He of course waits with many other sick and crippled people to go into this pool to be healed, a pool that is literally touched by an angel (does anyone else remember that show?). This man’s infirmity is such that he cannot take himself down to the pool. Who knows how long he has waited or tried to wait on the mercy or pity of others to take him into those healing waters? I know my patience would wear thin or I would become bitter and entitled and probably blame others and complain about the situation. But this man… patient always.
Jesus walks up and surveys the scene. He sees this man and knows his exact situation and asks if he will be made whole. Jesus then heals this man, which is amazing and awesome, right? Well, Jesus did the healing on the Sabbath, which is a day of rest. For the man, it was not lawful for him to carry his bed. That’s what the Jews pounced on, not a miracle of the Messiah, but rather attention to the restrictions of the Law. The Jews were trying with all their might to find something to bring Jesus down. Look at Verse 16, they sought to slay Jesus because He did these things on the Sabbath.
Jesus goes one further in the next verse and says something that equates Him with the Father. This, of course, makes the Jews VERY angry. Jesus then begins to preach to them. I love what His message here. He preaches that He can only do things that He sees God the Father do, that He can do nothing of Himself. Even Jesus is under an authority. He goes on to say that whoever believes on Him will have an everlasting life, and then tells the future that the time is coming for the resurrection. Jesus acknowledges that if He were the only one to speak for Himself, He’d be a liar, but there are others bearing witness to Him being the Messiah.
1. His forerunner, John the Baptizer 2. God the Father and 3. The Scriptures
Jesus knew that the Jews would not see Him as the Messiah, and sadly for many Jews, that is still the case today. With this sad situation, the salvation to the Gentiles came, but how heartbreaking is it to not be received by your own people, those who knew to look for you?
And with that realization, I ask you today to pray for the chosen people of God, pray for the Jewish people to open their hearts to the gospel of Christ, especially in these coming times.
One last thing to think about in this chapter. Jesus claimed a lot of things, but He let the witness of others speak for Him when it came to the truth. In our lives, we should be living differently than the world and there may be times when we are being attacked or ridiculed for how we live and respond to situations because of our faith. Have no fear, Jesus said if the world hated Him, then it will most surely hate us. But what we need to think about is the fact that we may want to defend ourselves and make our own reputation, but we need to let the witness of God, Jesus, and the Scriptures speak for us and through us.