John writes the story, the eyewitness history story, of Jesus. John starts back, before the beginning of all created things. Then he tells us of events in the life of Jesus. John shows how one event leads to another. Jesus pushes his claim to be the Son of God, Messiah, to the point where many of the Jewish leaders want to kill him. The tension and the drama build, Jesus keeps preaching who He is. We miss all that when we convert John or any other Gospel or text of Scripture to a loose assortment of verses from which we pick isolated verses that we find inspiring.
As we continue in our study of John, we take the time to get the story, the story of Jesus. Do you know that story? Do you have an outline of it in your mind? Take the time, learn the story of Jesus. Meet Jesus, face His claims and spark or renew your faith in Him.
John five opens with the “invalid for thirty-eight years” by the side of the pool called Bethesda. After conversing with this man Jesus commands him, “pick up your mat and walk.” John tells us, “at once the man was cured.” This a marvelous life changing miracle, yet it is overshadowed by the fact that, “the day on which this took place was a Sabbath.” We have to ask ourselves if it was a coincidence that out of thirty-eight years of days, Jesus chose to heal him on a Sabbath. We also notice that Jesus specifically told him to pick up his mat as to carry it walking. Was that also a coincidence?
This incident certainly bothered the Jewish leaders! “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.” In the emotion of his healing the man who had been an invalid did not notice who it was that had told him to get up and walk. “Jesus found him at the temple,” and identifies Himself to him. After all John has told us that Jesus did these miracles so that people would believe in Him. Jesus does not tell the ex-invalid to not tell anyone. By doing this, Jesus enables the Jewish leaders to blame him for commanding this man carry his mat on the Sabbath. Again was this a coincidence? Let’s see.
John tells us that, “because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him.” John lets us know that, beyond a doubt, at this point Jesus knows what they are saying and thinking about him healing on the Sabbath. So Jesus could apologize or explain why He healed on the Sabbath, and why he told the ex-invalid to carry his mat. We see that Jesus does not do that. The defense Jesus gives is even more inciting. “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” Rather than giving an apology for having healed on the Sabbath or explaining that the ex-invalid would be justified in carrying his mat, Jesus accepts that he is working. More over he states that he is working, as is “My Father.” This escalates the mood of those who opposed him. ”For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.”
Again as we follow the story we wonder if they were taking what Jesus said the wrong way. Again Jesus does not apologize or seek to clear up some misunderstanding. On the contrary, Jesus teaches even more about His special relationship with the Father.
So John shows us that Jesus purposefully moves from the healing of the invalid to his declaration that, “whatever the Father does the Son also does.”
We will pick this up in our next study the Lord willing, Jesus will give his public legal defense of his claims.