Friday, October 11, 2013

John 5:1-6:71 Healing on the Sabbath and the first I AM statement

So far Jesus is pretty popular. He speaks with authority and many come to listen to his teachings. He heals many and flocks of people follow him. But Jesus did not come to be popular. He was on a mission by the Father. He speaks with authority and the origin of this authority rubs people the wrong way.

John 5:1 "there was a feast of the Jews"........ 
The Jews have many feast, all ordained by God throughout the year. If you want to know more about them read Leviticus 23.

 All those feast are feasts of the Lord but here John calls it a feast of the Jews suggesting a decline in spirituality and lack of proper focus.

 By the pool of Bethesda laid a multitude of invalids. They were all waiting for the water to be stirred. It is said that an angel would come down and stir the water. The first person to go in the pool would be healed. One man that was there waiting, had been there for 38 years. 38 YEARS. Waiting, praying, hoping, at this point resigned to his fate.

The pool of Bethesda
Jesus walks straight to him. Jesus, the Word that became flesh, the son of God, I AM on earth is walking straight to this man who has been praying for 38 years to be healed and probably lost hope. Be encouraged by that. Pray, ask, keep on praying, keep on asking. Even when you lose hope God answers.

Jesus heals this man physically but more importantly he heals him spiritually. See verse 5:14

Beautiful story of grace, mercy, love, redemption except that it happened on the Sabbath. Because of this the Jews were persecuting Jesus. And Jesus answered

"My father is working until now, and I am working."

 The Jews had what they needed to persecute him and kill him. He was claiming to be equal with God!!! Blasphemy! Or is it?



What is the Sabbath?

The Sabbath is said to be be the best known and least understood of all Jewish holidays.

Where does it come from? 

"So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation." Genesis 2:3

"Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your servant woman, and the alien may be refreshed." Exodus 23:4

"Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places." Leviticus 23:3
  
No work shall be done. What is work? The Hebrew work for work is Melachah. It generally refer to the kind of work that is creative, or that exercises control or dominion over your environment. Rabbis have then found 39 categories of forbidden work.  

So did Jesus break the Sabbath? A crime to be punished by death (see Exodus 35:2). What Jesus did was answer a man's prayer. Does God not answer prayer on the Sabbath? In my heart of heart I know that He does.

"Truly truly I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing." John 5:19

 But the Jews got him on a technicality and they will persecute Him until they can crucify Him.

This is the turning point of the Gospel of John. Gloves are off. Jesus speaks the truth and the truth hurts and disturbs. 

In John 6 Jesus makes his first I AM statement. I AM the bread of life. Whoever comes to me shall not hunger. "This is the bread that came form heaven, not like the bread the fathers are and died." John 6:58. He is referring here to manna, a coriander seed like bread that God provided daily for the Israelites while they were in the desert (See Exodus 16). Jesus makes here some very radical statements like "For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink." John 6:55
 Are we talking about the Walking Dead, season 4, Jerusalem edition?

We know that He is referring to the communion and the last supper. We know because we stand on the other side of the resurrection. We know because we have the Holy Spirit in our hearts helping us understand. We know but they did not. They did not understand that Jesus was talking about spiritual food (our daily bread, the Word). This was hard sayings and many were grumbling.

"Do you take offense at this?" 

 Some teachings are hard and makes us grumble. Homework might get harder as we will be dealing with longer reading and tougher teaching.

Do you take offense at this?

There will be times when the teaching will stir you and make you uncomfortable and you will want to close the book and walk away.
And Jesus will be asking you

Do you take offense at this?

"The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life?"

Do you want life?

Take his words, ponder on his teaching, follow his commandments. And when you hear him ask you "do you take offense at this?" be like Peter and reply "to whom shall I go you have the words of eternal life."

  Amen.