(Today’s post by Tim David)
One of my wife’s favorite hang outs here in Atlanta is the Sundial restaurant. I can remember every time I’ve been there. I don’t go often – not because of the price of the menu – but how you have to get up there. I am the first to admit it, I hate heights! Period, whether it is open air, enclosed…if my feet leave the ground for any extended period of time within a building, I don’t do well. Thoughts like, what if the iron union was on strike when the building was being built, so the contractor used a lower grade metal in order to keep moving goes through my mind. I start theorizing why I am going to be part of the tragic discovery of a flaw or mistake someone else made midst my untimely death. There is a moment though, after getting up to the restaurant and seated at the table, when the comforting remembrance of how long the building’s been around, how many people have been there before me, or how I haven ‘t heard a single news report of anything going wrong since I’ve been in Atlanta creeps through my cognitive rational and I start to calm down. My line of reasoning is never sound, but it gets me through dinner and back on earth. There are many who follow a similarly illogical path of reasoning when determining how and what they put their faith in. This is where we find ourselves at the beginning of chapter 5.
The passage starts off with a 38 year old paralytic who had lost hope of being healed. Christ asks him if he would want to be healed. The man, full of faith but discouraged, lets Christ know his predicament – he can’t get in the pool quick enough to be healed. I want to stop right there, and dwell for just a second – he believed that if he was first in this pool when an angel from heaven touches the water, he would be able to walk again. I admit, I admire his faith, but it was completely misdirected. Here he had the very Son of God standing in front of him, ready to heal him, and his faith is rooted in getting in the pool first. Christ tells him to get up and walk, knowing full well that the Jewish authorities would have something to say. To this cat’s credit, he stood up, picked up his bed, and walked. That being said, when he was questioned later on, he didn’t want to have anything to do with Jesus. It was only after Jesus re-approaches him does he tell the Jewish leaders who healed him. What is the significance of this miracle? What is the point of this being 1 of only 7 miracles John records?
1st the miracle required the man not only to get up, but to carry his bed. It would have been easy for anyone who was convincing enough to get the man to stand up. But to pick up his bed and walk implies complete healing. This is one reason why Christ needed this man to acknowledge who healed him. There were many who were able to do miracles in the name of Satan, but only in the name of God can someone be completely healed.
2nd the miracle happened on the Sabbath. This law of the Sabbath goes all the way back to the original commandments. Christ needed this man to let the Jewish leaders know who healed him in order to start His discourse. Verse 17 breaks it wide open – Christ identifies Himself equal with God. Up until now, only Yahweh could work on the Sabbath. Here Christ says, I can work on the Sabbath because I do the same thing as my Father – implying Yahweh. And the leaders knew it…just look at verse 18.
Now that Christ has identified Himself as the Son of God, He is now going to take things to a whole new level. Christ goes to identify his authority in resurrection (vs. 21, 25, and 26) and judgment (vs. 22 – 23 and 27). Christ who knows all of our actions (both good and bad), intentions, and reasoning is going to judge you and me.
So in looking at applications to everyday life…
1. What am I putting my faith in? Look its really easy to walk this Christian walk having a “faith” in Christ, but reserving a good amount of our total faith for ourselves. There are yet other times when our faith is illogically placed causing us to miss the mark all together.
2. What action steps does my faith take? The paralytic got up and walked…what “bed” have I picked up and walked with lately?