You've heard that phrase before, right? I'd like for you to read the whole rest of the chapter we are in. Go ahead. It's the fifth chapter of the gospel of John.
We'll wait right here . . .
When we last studied together, we were witness to the miracle of the paralytic man, healed by Jesus, who picked up his mat and walked away from the pool of Bethesda.
The rest of the chapter is so packed full of good stuff that we'll stop and rest a while, and then move a little further on, and keep going and going!
Remember in the eighth verse, Jesus told the man to "get up and walk"?
He actually told him to "pick up your mat and walk." Have you wondered why? It wasn't because it was necessary to clean up around the pool for the upcoming festival. (Grin)
Jesus was actually getting the attention of the people. Two groups of people, in reality. We've talked about how he got the attention of the common people, who had seen this man for years, and they knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was crippled. There was no question that he was healed when they saw him pick up his mat and walk away!
The other group of people was the legalistic bunch known as the Pharisees. They were to be at the receiving end of Jesus' anger more than just once. And they deserved it! We'll talk more about why they deserved it in some other passages. So how is He getting their attention?
Well, it was the Sabbath.
And the Pharisees were all wrapped up in "can't do this, can't do that" on the Sabbath. They made a list of thirty-nine types of activities that could NOT be done on the Sabbath. Notice the operative word there . . . THEY made the list. The fourth commandment simply said people should not work on the Sabbath day, but honor it; that God rested on the day. The Pharisees took it much further -- they called their rules "the traditions of the elders" and many times the rules became more important than the Word of God itself.
That's why they had such a difficult time understanding Jesus. Not only were they doing the wrong things, but they were guiding other people to do the wrong things. They trusted God would bring them a Messiah, but their religion was really about behavior. They had hundreds of strict rules about how to behave.
A large crowd of people came with the Pharisees, who were very upset that Jesus had told the man to pick up his mat and walk. Jesus knew they would . . .
He made the most of the situation by preaching to them. He introduces Himself, and many in the crowd become angry when He clearly implies that He is divine. John 5:18 says that the crowd who listened became angry because "He was even calling God His own father, and making Himself equal with God."
Then Jesus goes a step further and declares:
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. John 5:24-25So now it's time for Him to show His credentials, so to speak. And that is just what He does.
We'll continue this on Wednesday.