But he answered them, "He who made me well was the one who said to me, 'Pick up your pallet and walk.'"John 5:11(NASB)
The healing at the pool of Bethesda was unusual, in that Jesus Himself asked the man, "do you want to be healed?" - whereas normally He was approached by others who asked for healing.
In an act of grace, Jesus chose to engage with this man on a Sabbath day, despite his being infirm for 38 years. But like all the signs and miracles recorded in his Gospel, John's purpose in writing was to prove that Jesus was the Christ, and that by believing on HIM we might have life everlasting.
It was during His second year of ministry that this healing took place. Hatred for Christ was beginning to ferment and His Messianic claims were beginning to infuriate the religious leaders. But Christ continued to emphasise... in His actions and attitude, that He was Lord of the Sabbath with divine power to both heal the body and forgive sins.
The authority Christ demonstrated on this Sabbath-day healing, showed a godly concern and compassion for the well-being of mankind and a disdain for petty Jewish rules, rituals, and regulations, which dishonoured God and enslaved an entire nation.
Although the healed man picked up his bed and carried it home, as instructed, he did not know who Jesus was and seemed indifferent to the gracious healing he had just received.
Perhaps he was satisfied with his physical bondage, or maybe was irritated when he was rebuked by the religious leaders for carrying his bedding on the Sabbath. This poor man was not only physically helpless and enslaved by his paralysis, but he also appeared to be blinded to the good news of the gospel of Christ and the spiritual salvation he had been offered.
And so, when challenged by the authorities for breaking the Sabbath day rule, he did not withstand their rebukes by glorifying God for his miraculous release from sin and supernatural healing - he simply answered that he had no clue who Jesus was... and informed the Jewish leaders that he was not the one who should be held responsible for breaking the Sabbath Law - it was the responsibility of the Man who said to him, "Pick up your pallet and walk!!"
There are many such people in the world today, who, like this paralysed man, enjoy a close encounter with Christ... but fail to recognise Who He is... or refuse to engage in His offer of salvation. As we journey through life, may we never miss out on any close encounters that we may have with Christ. May we recognise His supernatural touch in so many of the natural things that take place in our lives - and may we always be ready to give Him thanks and praise in everything - for this is God's will for us.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the many lessons we can learn from the Word of Truth. I pray that as I journey through life, I may not miss any precious encounters with Christ along the way. Help me to do all things to Your praise and glory, and in everything give thanks. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.
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