There is a powerful story in John 5 that shows Jesus healing a man who has been waiting on this healing for 38 years. But the true power in this story isn't the healing itself, but in the fact that it was on the Sabbath and the conflict this creates with the Jewish leaders. In week 4 of our study of John, Daniel Bunn shares the deeper truth found here—that Jesus was about the business of overturning unjust systems.
The Work of Jesus
John | Week 4
June 7, 2020 | Daniel Bunn
John 5:1-18 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 paralyzed. 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 defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
What was the work that Jesus was doing?
Jesus performed the work of healing
The central tension of this passage is that Jesus has broken the sabbath and made himself equal with God.
The work of overturning unjust systems
Following Jesus is not optional
Do we fear, or do we trust?