John 5:10-13 – Lesson #51

We have seen Jesus choose to heal a specific man by the pool of Bethesda; “Rise, take up your bed and walk” (John 5:8). What an incredible story of the power of Christ! This ought to have been a time of rejoicing for the entire community. But when John inserts the phrase, “And that day was the Sabbath” (John 5:9), he is letting us know that the real story has just begun.

John 5:10-13
“The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, ‘It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.’ He answered them, ‘He who made me well said to me, “Take up your bed and walk.”‘ Then they asked him, ‘Who is the Man who said to you, “Take up your bed and walk”?’ But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place.”

One of the major confrontations between Jesus and the Jewish leaders was over the observance of the Sabbath. But we need to understand that Jesus most often initiated the debate. The man by the pool could have been healed on a different day if the intent was a physical healing. But the issue of interpretation and enforcement of Sabbath law was so important that Jesus set out to boldly exposed the hypocrisy.

The original Sabbath law given through Moses was, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). The instruction for the Sabbath was to “do no work,” but the rabbinic traditions had defined thirty-nine forbidden categories of work – one of which was carrying loads. These traditions became more than guidelines, they became a new law which defined “proper” observance of the Sabbath.

By the time of Jesus, the focus was on the impossible burden imposed by the multitude of traditional laws, and the true meaning of the original law and the love of the Law Giver had been completely lost. The process of trying to further define the law may have begun with good intentions but it had grown into a system which was stealing the hearts of the people away from God; “And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9).

The evils of this system is exposed when we see that the observance of the man-made law had become more important than a miraculous healing. We see similar problems today when the Spirit of God transforms a heart, yet all we see is method, hairstyle or clothes. A great healing of the spirit takes place and we say, “It’s not lawful to dress like that!” God forgive us!!

Let’s take a good hard look at what we call proper and make sure we haven’t created a barrier to Christ with our man-made commandments – or created false security for those who observe our new law. Let’s never become so attached to what we decide is proper that we miss the miraculous power of God. Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus and always allow room for God to move any way and at any moment He chooses.

Have a Great Day!
Steve Troxel God’s Daily Word Ministries