Wednesday, August 29, 2012
For the last few days I’ve been reading chronologically in the New Testament. Completed the Old and have written about chronological reading numerous times of the last months. I’m in no hurry to finish, though, for there are so many things I’m finding during the reading. Such as Jesus at Bethesda.
Yes, I know that story – have loved it most of my life. My favorite verse there is:
When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? (John 5:6 KJV)
I’ve heard many lessons and sermons on that question – do we really want to be made whole? It sounds as though we’d be as eager as the man who had been infirm for 38 years.
Instead of saying “Yes!!!”, to Jesus’ question, the man gives an excuse for not being whole:
The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. (John 5:7 KJV)
“Do you want God’s help?” “Well, no one has proven to me there is a god.” Or, “Which god?”
Sounds like an excuse to me, does it to you? People are full of them when asked a direct question about salvation or belief in God. Try a question about why someone doesn’t attend worship services. Excuses galore.
But – those were old lessons to me. I’ve heard them before. What caught my eye this time were those who saw the man carrying his bedding. I have no idea how much bedding he carried, could have simply been a blanket, or a large parcel. Didn’t matter, they wanted to know why he was sinning on the sabbath by bearing a load. He answered:
He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. (John 5:11 KJV)
The questioners, identified only as Jews – not priests Sadducees or Pharisees - were not interested in the man’s healing. Their problem was that he was carrying his bedding on the sabbath.
Laws concerning what may or may not constitute labor on the sabbath appear convoluted to those of us who believe Christ’s words:
And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: (Mark 2:27 KJV)
I’m going to leave the discussion of Sunday/Sabbath for another day. Today I’m focused on the fact that the questioners did not mention the man’s healing. There was no rejoicing with him that he could walk, his infirmity gone. The concern was breaking a commandment by carrying bedding on the sabbath. Are we that legalistic in our own lives?
Are we overlooking God’s hand in a person’s life by seeing only the baggage they are carrying?