Friday, 7 September 2012

John 5: Breaking the Sabbath

Throughout the Bible, the Israelites often miss the bigger picture. This is definitely true of the Pharisees in John 5.

  • Think of some of the things that the Bible teaches about (e.g. money, sex, etc.).
  • Out of these, which do think God is most concerned about?
  • Do your priorities match up with God's?
In this chapter, Jesus heals a man who had been paralysed for thirty eight years. For all that time he had lain at pool near one of the gates of Jerusalem, hoping that someone would help him into the water so that he could be healed. Jesus told him, rather than to get into the water, to stand up, carry his mat, and go. So, the man who had been paralysed for nearly four decades got up and picked up his mat. This is an incredible story of someone's life being transformed by the power of Jesus.

However, the religious leaders didn't like this happening. The reason was simple: it happened on a Sabbath. The Sabbath is the Jewish day of rest, it begins at sundown on a Friday and ends on the Saturday. The rules about what you can and can't do is very strict. Apparently, one thing you can't do is carry your mat. So the Jewish leaders were annoyed at Jesus for healing the man and then ordering him to take his mat and walk on the Sabbath. Rather than being amazed at what had happened they were angry that it happened on the wrong day.

While as Christians we're required to take the Bible seriously and to follow its commands. But we're also required to see the bigger picture. Micah 6:8 gives us a helpful idea of what this picture is:
And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
The Pharisee's preoccupation with killing Jesus after he healed the paralysed man seems to suggest that they are missing the point.

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