9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.
Now that day was the Sabbath. 10 So the Jews[d] said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” 11 But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’” 12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” 13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. 16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”
18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
Somehow, as we grow up, we develop patterns. There is nothing wrong with having patterns. Creation has cyclical patterns embedded in sunrise and sunset, the flow of the seasons, and the need for meals. However, most of us find that we become rigid about some of the patterns we develop. We become enslaved to them. The myth is that we are secure if we control our lives and we are unsafe if the patterns are broken. In its most extreme forms people develop obsessive compulsive disorder.
If Jesus is to do anything new, the security of our patterns will be challenged. If we are to grow the safety of routines will be broken. Our safety is in God and Jesus, as God incarnate, knew that. The salvation of the people of Israel did not come through their Sabbath keeping, it came through their dependence on God. God heals a man through his submission to Jesus, but the Jewish authorities do not rejoice in the life-giving healing that Jesus works. Their security is broken. They are presented with the need to unthink their laws, but they would rather attack and become cruel in the name of God than admit that God has brought mercy and grace through Jesus.
In your life, is God trying to open you up for deep changes? Why protect the way that you have known before? Is it really better than God’s touch? It may not be easy to take risks and change, but without it we remain crippled and stunted.
We have physical ailments that we bring to you. Our bodies fall short of perfection and our minds are darkened by sin. Help us to let go of anxiety and embrace the next step you have for us. Let us be open to teaching from your word that leaves us feeling exposed and unsafe. Help us to find our safety in you.
- What is Jesus doing?
- How can Jesus’ actions be considered evil?
- How is Jesus updating the rules on the Sabbath?
- Should we keep a Sabbath today? What can be done on it?
- What are some patterns or routines that you might be wed to? Do they need challenging?