Lesson 24

The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

Now it was the Sabbath on that day. 5:10 So the Jews said to him who was cured, "It is the Sabbath. It is not lawful for you to carry your mat."

5:11 He answered them, "He who made me well, the same said to me, 'Take up your mat, and walk.'"

5:12 Then they asked him, "Who is the man who said to you, 'Take up your mat, and walk'?"

5:13 But he who was healed didn't know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a crowd being in the place. 5:14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "Behold, you are made well. Sin no more, so that nothing worse happens to you."

5:15 The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 5:16 For this cause the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill him, because he did these things on the Sabbath. 5:17 But Jesus answered them, "My Father is still working, so I am working, too." 5:18 For this cause therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

 Today's Lesson

The Sabbath restriction to the Jews of Jesus' day was an important part of the ritual life of their nation. Israel was under the dominance of the Roman Empire. They were eager to maintain the cultural heritage that set them apart from the Gentiles. One of the principle distinctions that the Pharisees made between themselves and other parties was their rigorous adherence to the Sabbath regulations.


In this passage, and many others in the scriptures, Jesus shows that His understanding of the Sabbath is quite different than theirs. He purposefully heals on the Sabbath. And, in this passage we can see, He not only healed the man, but He then encourages the man to break their Sabbath regulations as well. It should be noted that the regulations that Jesus encouraged the man to ignore were those regulations that the Jews themselves had developed, not the laws that God had established through Moses concerning Sabbath observance.


He heals the man and then tells him to, "Take up your mat, and walk." Now for the Jewish authorities, healing on the Sabbath was a gray area. The Sabbath was for man's rest. If God could choose to heal on any day, wouldn't he either heal on the day before the Sabbath or the day after? But, more importantly in this passage, the instruction to "take up your mat" was not a gray area. The lifting and carrying of burdens was a clear violation of their regulations. It could be debated whether God would heal on the Sabbath, but to their minds, God would never encourage a man to carry his mat home on the Sabbath day.


To the credit of the man that was healed, he did not question Jesus on this matter. It was clear to him that God had acted through this man that had told him to, "Take up your mat, and walk." If God were speaking to him through this man, then he would not question what God had said. He would do it. And, it was clear to him that if this man could heal him of a sickness from which he had suffered for 38 years, then truly God was behind this work.


Here we have two opposing reactions to God's work. The man experienced the work of God in his life and rejoiced, and obeyed. Others saw only an action that violated their own sense in the way that God works. We must be very careful when we are certain that God will react in a particular way. God has a way of confounding our sense of propriety. The good son was disappointed when the Father welcomes the prodigal son home. The Pharisees looked on with disdain when Jesus ate with sinners. His own disciples were embarrassed when Jesus bent down and began washing their feet.


As long as the Father is still working, the Son will be working too. As long as the Son is working, His body, the church, will be working as well. How's your work schedule today? Is God working in your world? Are you working in His?


Psalm / Next Lesson / Past Lesson / Lesson Archive / Home

© 1998 adailywalk.com - These materials may be reproduced as long as they are never sold in any form.