Healing on the Sabbath (Part 2)
Yesterday, we were introduced to a man who had an infirmity for thirty-eight years. He desired to be healed and believed he could be restored to health at a pool called Bethesda--if he could just get in the water quickly at the right time.

It is then recorded in John 5:8ff - "Jesus said to him, 'Rise, take up your bed and walk.' Immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, 'It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.' He answered them, 'He who made me well said to me, "Take up your bed and walk."' Then they asked him, 'Who is the Man who said to you, "Take up your bed and walk"?' But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, 'See you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.' The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well."

The miraculous power that Jesus manifested while walking this Earth is impressive indeed. Notice how simple it was for Jesus to cure a man who had been bound by an infirmity for so long (cf. Eph. 2:1)! Also, it should be observed that this healing was not dependent in any way upon this man's faith. After he was healed, the man did not even know who Jesus was (cf. 5:13). Thus, he obviously did not believe in Jesus as a healer when their brief dialogue began. The man was still looking to the pool for his cure. Nevertheless, when Jesus commanded him to get up, he complied and was healed!

The rest of John 5 is based on the last sentence of verse 9 - "And that day was the Sabbath." It doesn't appear that there was anything urgent about this man's condition that required an immediate cure. After all, he had been ailing for nearly four decades already! Why then would Jesus heal on the Sabbath? Perhaps His intent was to create a teaching opportunity.

In John 5:10, the religious leaders of the Jews (cf. 1:19; 7:1) chastised the man who had been healed - "It is not lawful for you to carry your bed." Actually, there was no law against this activity, but the Jewish traditions forbid it. Their interpretations of the law and their traditions caused the Sabbath day to be more of a burden than a day of rest. Obviously, Jesus would not have ordered this man to violate the law which He came, not to destroy, but to fulfill (Matt. 5:17). Also, certainly the Lord of the Sabbath (Matt. 12:8) was qualified to determine what was proper and what wasn't on that day (cf. Matt. 12:12).

The Jewish leaders gave the man two choices essentially: (1) stay by his bed until the Sabbath was over or (2) leave it and let it be stolen. Jesus gave a third option--he could carry it with him since he would need it for rest. These particular Jews did not seem to be either impressed or pleased that an afflicted man had been healed. They were only concerned with whether the law of the Sabbath had been violated.

The man sensed that a reply was expected and that some defense should be made. His response was simple and accurate. The One who had healed him instructed him to do this (John 5:11)!

The Jewish leaders naturally ask who this Man was (5:12). Jesus, not wanting to excite the multitude by His presence, had already moved on. The man truly didn't know who had healed him (5:13).

Jesus spoke with the man in the temple later (5:14). His words may imply that the man's particular infirmity was a consequence of personal sin. Likely the man was in the temple to offer a grain or peace offering out of thankfulness to God. Many people today are the recipients of untold blessings from the Lord for which they never so much as offer thanks. This man puts all such persons to shame by his actions here (especially those who use sickness as an excuse for not worshiping with fellow Christians, yet when their health improves their attendance does not; cf. Heb. 10:25).

After speaking with Jesus this second time, the man goes and tells the Jewish leaders who it was who had made him well. His statement was designed to honor Christ. He was completely unaware of the prejudice these men felt and the ends to which they would go in seeking to destroy Jesus of Nazareth.