Wednesday 09 July 2014

Bible Book:

“Jesus said to him, ‘Stand up, take your mat and walk.’” (v. 8)

John 5:1-18 Wednesday 9 July 2014


Unlike the UK, Grenada is a country where religious anddenominational affiliation are still very much part of life. It iscommon to be asked pointed questions about the nature of Baptism,Bible versions, acceptable food and the Sabbath day. Religiouseducation classes in school often have to be saved from descendingin to children forming battle lines based on whatever theirparticular church teaches on a certain subject.

The passage today about the healing by Jesus at the pool quicklychanges from being about this amazing miracle, to an investigationof Sabbath rule breaking. The idea of Sabbath rest was enshrined inthe ten commandments (Exodus20:8-11) but by Jesus' day, a major focus for some religiousmen was, 'What does it mean to rest on the Sabbath?' All sorts ofrules had been made to govern Sabbath rest, and while those whowere powerful and rich could find ways around them, others werebeing suppressed by the rules, especially the poor and sick. WhatGod had intended for good had now been made bad. We see that theJews, meaning the religious rulers not the average Jewish person,completely ignore the nature and wonder of this man's healing(verse 10). They do not give glory to God, but instead are blindedby their own religious thought and arguments to what God is doing!When Jesus faces persecution for breaking their religious rules,his reply is simple but profound: "My Father is still working, andI also am working" (v. 17). God is working around the clock doinggood, so Jesus works around the clock doing good. Love, compassion,kindness, forgiveness and faith in action trump religious rules andarguments every time.

To Ponder

  • When have rules, religious or otherwise, stopped you fromspeaking and acting in love toward another person?
  • What good can you do 'around the clock' like God?
  • How should we deal with differences between us on importantmatters of faith, religious observance and how we live out theChristian life?
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