April 13, 2020 – Monday
John 5:16 NIV
16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him.
What things was Jesus doing on the Sabbath? On this particular Sabbath He healed a man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When He healed this man, who could not walk, He told him Get up! Pick up your mat and walk. Whereupon the man who had been paralyzed got up, picked up his mat, and walked. After thirty-eight years!
Then came the problem. The Jewish leaders, rabbis, who saw the man now walking whom they knew had not walked for decades only commented on him carrying his mat, saying, It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat. Of course the law does not say that, in fact the commandment prohibited doing work or business on the Sabbath. The rabbis, Jewish leaders, said nothing about those who carried the paralyzed man to the Bethesda pool by the Sheep Gate hoping to be healed, something that had been going on for years.
This slavish following of the extreme rabbinical interpretation of the commandment had continued as a well known incident in 1992 revealed when a fire broke out in an Orthodox neighborhood in Israel. The tenants were forbidden to use the phone on the Sabbath, so they asked the rabbi if it was permissible to use the phone to call the fire department. By the time he said yes and the fire department was called and showed up, the fire had spread to two more apartments. All three burnt to the ground.
In contrast, throughout the book of John, Jesus argued that it was indeed lawful to do good on the Sabbath. In this particular case He replied to those persecuting Him, My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I too am working. Because of His answer they ramped up their persecution, now seeking to kill Jesus for He called God His father making Himself equal with God (v18). He did do that and made His case before them throughout the rest of this chapter. Sadly, that only made them hate Him more as they blinded themselves to the miracles He was performing. Miracles only God could do. Thus their persecution continued for another eighteen months until He was crucified.
It is important to notice who believed in Jesus and His good news and those who persecuted Him. Those who saw His miracles and were even part of them, they believed and understood while those who were about making rules and regulations to add to the burdens of believers could not see who and what Jesus was – the Messiah, the Christ.
It is our privilege to know who Jesus was and is, the Son of God who eventually gave up His life to die as payment for our sins. It is also our privilege to know He rose on the third day to show He had conquered death as well letting us know how real the promise of eternal life is.
For this we celebrated Sunday, yesterday, as Resurrection Sunday, as well we should acknowledging Jesus is still alive and we can look forward to an eternity in heaven with Him, our Lord and Savior. He and His Father love (present tense) us so much, they gave and give us Grace, unmerited favor, so that we might join Them in heaven.
Riley D. Driver-Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton