January 20 – Chronological Life of Jesus Day 14
I’m just thinking today about those little ways that I feel love throughout each day. My almost 2-year old son will come up behind me and wrap his arms in a little bear hug around me, my husband will grab my hand tightly when he feels the Spirit moving him in church, God will make something seemingly insignificant in the scope of worldly matters just work out without my hands meddling in it. What about you? How do you feel love in your day? Do you acknowledge God in it?
READ: John 5
What’s covered in John 5 is not covered in the other gospels. Today’s reading focuses on an invalid whom Jesus heals on the Sabbath. One thing I noticed that’s different in this healing is that Jesus approaches the man and asks if he wants to be healed (vs. 6). In most of the other healings we’ve been reading about, Jesus is sought for healing and a certain amount of faith is shown by the person requesting healing. Here, Jesus shows mercy and heals the man, not as a reward for faith but just because He can. It even says in vs. 13 that the man had no idea who healed him, but I almost missed this—vs. 14 says that Jesus later found the newly healed man in the temple. After he was healed, he went to the right place to give thanks to God for the miracle he received. And in his focus on thanksgiving and God, Jesus came back and told him who he was. This is such a great example of God caring about us and chasing us down. I often give all the credit to myself for seeking God, but He chases me far more than I seek Him. I’m sure the man as an invalid wondered if anyone cared about him or even knew he was there—no one would help him into the pool and they even pushed him out of the way as he tried so hard to get himself into the water (vs. 7). Invisible. Hopeless. But God saw him lying there (vs. 6). He sent His Son. He loved him so much that He wanted to show him that he mattered and that someone cared. That same God loves you that much too.
And for that amazing encounter with an invalid, Jesus suffered. Many Jews and Pharisees were trying so hard to trap Jesus in their legalism. He was spreading love, healing people, and teaching them more about God than they ever knew before, and they were scared he had political goals in all of this and would undermine their power, so they had to stop him. Because Jesus was healing (i.e., working) on the Sabbath and claiming to be the Son of God, “…the Jews tried all the harder to kill him…” (vs. 18). Their hearts were so hard, their eyes were shut so tight, that even a perfect man couldn’t comply with their rules. Chronologically, this is the first time we see it mentioned that there was a plan to kill Jesus. This sentiment only grows throughout the rest of the gospels.
In John 5:19-30, Jesus explains some stuff about God and Jesus. We know that God and Jesus are the same yet manifest in different beings, and this is basically what verses 19-21 are saying. But in verse 22, Jesus clarifies another difference between the roles of God and Jesus: “Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, Who sent Him.” Verses 28-30 talk about Jesus judging us after we are in our graves. I think it is comforting to know that at the time of judgment, our Judge will be someone who lived here in the world with us, who faced temptation, who suffered, who lived the daily problems of man. Also, since Jesus is the Judge, he has that authority and I don’t. Wow, we don’t have the authority to judge. Does that feel like a burden lifted off your shoulders? Our role is to love others, not judge others.
I see John 5:31-47 as a wake-up call to us as Christians. You and I are reading our Bibles, hopefully daily, so we’re being good Christians, right? In verses 39-40, Jesus warns us as Bible readers: “’You diligently study the scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.’” Jesus was specifically talking to the Jews in Jerusalem, but it applies to us too. I can spend all day reading God’s Word and studying the intent and history and chronology of it all, but unless I’m seeking God in doing that, listening intently to what He has to tell me and teach me, and acting on it, it’s nothing but facts and knowledge puffing me up (1 Corinthians 8:1). I have to be willing to let Him change my heart as I read His Word.
God loves me so much and cares so deeply about me that he chases me down. My response should be to let Him change my heart.
God, You chase me down in so many ways! I see some of them and praise You, but I know I don’t see all of them. Thank You for Your many open displays of love to me. Thank You for chasing me down through this study, to spend time with You, to see so many new things revealed that I didn’t know before. But please help me not just to know these things but to act on what You are showing me. Help my heart to be open to the change that You help me write out each day in my application and to just do it.