READ: John 5
BACKGROUND: By Verse –
2 – For more background on the Sheep Gate, see Nehemiah 3:1 & 12:39
5 – Though it’s not specified here, the inference is that the man’s problem had to do with paralysis.
8 – Jesus tells him to do the impossible. But it is Christ’s words that make him well.
10 – The rabbis had decided that carrying any type of furniture on the Sabbath counted as “work” and thus violated the 4th Commandment.
15 – The Jews here is referring to the religious authorities.
17 – Starting here and extending through the end of the chapter, Jesus clearly asserts his authority and his Divinity. By talking about his special relationship with the Father he is claiming very specifically to be the Father’s equal.
24 – Eternal life in Christ is available to all people.
29 – A day of judgment is coming for all people who have ever lived.
37 – The Father bore witness to Jesus throughout the Old Testament and at his baptism.
43 – In my Father’s name means “I am his chosen representative.”
THINK: I recently heard a new song that has been stuck in my head since I heard it. I think it stuck in part because the tune was catchy, but there is something more to it than that. The lyrics – particularly the chorus – overwhelm me a bit. They are incredibly hope-filled. And they describe a reality that all believers can live in even right now in the midst of a broken world.
In this passage Jesus heals an invalid man who is broken. But he stops, just before healing him to ask whether the man truly wants to be healed. And, at first glance, it seems like kind of a ridiculous question. It’s almost tempting to accuse Jesus of being ignorant in this case. Of course the man wants to be healed! But here’s the thing: I don’t think Jesus’ question was intended to help Jesus know whether or not the guy wanted to be healed. It was asked to force the man to think about all that it would mean to be healed. See, the experience of healing would change absolutely everything about his identity. He would no longer be who he once was – who he had been for so long. He would be new!
This is the same offer that Jesus makes all of us – broken and crippled by our sin. If we will simply turn to him and put our faith in him then he offers us eternal life. He came to earth so that we – every single one of us – might have the opportunity to be healed. He came to make us new. And here’s the cool part: we don’t have to wait for that. Sometimes it’s easy to think of Heaven and eternity as being far off – a distant dream of the distant future. But we, like the crippled man, need only to believe in Jesus to start immediately experiencing the glorious reality of eternity. We can taste it even now. By God’s grace we can live in his glorious presence and majesty this day.
PRAY: Listen to this song. (You can find lyrics here if you’d like). As you listen, make the song a prayer. Allow it to be a moment of worship and thanksgiving as you taste – in this life – the eternity that is already yours and as you feel God’s majesty surrounding you in love!