The Enduring Love Of Jesus
John 5:1-17 NIV
Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie – the blind, the lame, the paralysed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.” But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’” So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?” The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well. So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. In his defence Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I too am working.”
Jesus healed the invalid and slipped away into the crowd without the man even knowing where he went. As it was unlawful to carry a mat on the Sabbath, the man could be accused of breaching the Jewish law. So Jesus might have left because he didn’t want to create an unnecessary issue with the Jewish leaders.
Jesus however returned to remind the healed invalid to repent of his sins. When he learnt who Jesus was, he went to tell the Jewish leaders about Jesus. The Jewish leaders started persecuting Jesus as a result. How does this make us feel about this man? I’m sure we’ll all find him extremely ungrateful!
But the question we should ask ourselves is whether we would do what he did to Jesus under similar circumstances. The healed invalid faced the threat of persecution from the authorities and worried for his own safety. He had been invalid and feeling defeated for 38 years. When Jesus asked him if he wanted to get well, he had no clue Jesus was the Messiah and gave a frivolous answer. Even after he was healed, he couldn’t see that only the Messiah could heal him. But this man was certainly not the only person who has failed to recognise the Messiah. “He (Jesus) was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him.” (John 1:10)
The most important point to learn from this incident is not how ungrateful this former invalid was, but how great is the love of Jesus despite his ungratefulness. Jesus would have known through the Holy Spirit about his character, yet Jesus still had compassion for him and healed him. In the same way, Jesus cares for our sufferings even though we’ve been ungrateful.
Jesus returned to the man to remind him to repent of his sins, warning that he would suffer a worse fate than his former condition if he didn’t repent. Jesus is more concerned about our spiritual well being than our physical. The best response we can give to Jesus is to repent of our sins.
Jesus’ work isn’t complete until we see him in heaven. He will keep coming back to seek us, to remind us we need to live a holy life, and to stay away from sins. Jesus’ love is enduring; he never gives up.
“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” C.S Lewis.
Andy is the head of compliance for an international bank and is happily married, with three daughters. He became a disciple of Christ three decades ago, and studies God's Word passionately. He desires to be constantly led by the Spirit. Andy joined the Central Christian Church in 1990.