My eyebrows shot up when I read read 5:14, “See you are all well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”
What? Why would Jesus say that?
Well, let’s figure this out. This is what we know:
1.) This man was an invalid for 38 yrs. (That is longer than Jesus had been alive at this point! When Jesus was brought to the temple in Jerusalem to be dedicated at 8 days old, this guy could have already been sitting by the pool for 5 years!!!)
2.) He obeyed Jesus by picking up his mat and walking.
3.) After the healing he was found in the temple (presumably, either offering sacrifices or having fellowship with other Jews, two things he probably couldn’t do much of before if he was always at the pool waiting for the “water to stir”).
To me it appears (at least on the outside) that this man had a “conversion” of sorts. He was changed by God and was back in church. He appeared like he was doing all the right things. HOWEVER, Jesus knows the heart (Acts15:8)! This man may not have had the “saving faith” that it appeared he had. He didn’t know Jesus. “The man had no idea who it was”, who healed him physically.
Jesus had just said a little earlier in our reading, “..true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” Jesus is the truth (John 14:6) In other words, in spirit, would mean we can worship him anywhere,(he is not tied to a building) and “in truth” is “in Jesus”.
The truth for this man is that his heart was sinful. Jesus knew it and called him out on it. My footnote says, “The eternal consequences of sin are more serous than any physical ailment.” Jesus was pointing out that going to church and acting the part doesn’t make you a believer. Changing your life to walking in truth is what he wants.
So, this story has a questionable ending, depending on how you see it…..
It could have a sad ending; “the man went away.”
Would you go away from the man that healed you from a 38 yr. ailment? I think I would have become a groupie at that moment!
the ending could be a good ending (the optimist in me would hope this). This man may have done the same as the official in the story ch.4- “The man took Jesus at his word and departed”(vs. 50)
What do you think? Sad or happy ending for the physically healed man by the pool?
On another note….John 6 ~ Jesus is the Bread of Life……and then many disciples desert Jesus…….whew…. a lot in that section to comment on but I’m going to hold off!!!! Do you have any thoughts there?