Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, "Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you."John 5:14(NASB)
Jesus was the promised Messiah that the nation of Israel was eagerly awaiting... and there were many identifying marks and prophetic signs, recorded in the Old Testament, which would establish His identity. He would cause the blind to see, heal those that are broken, feed the hungry, and raise the dead. He would loosen the tongue of the mute who would shout for joy - and he would cause waters to break forth in the wilderness and streams in desert places.
One sign of His authenticity was that he would cause the lame to leap like a deer, and the healing of this paralytic man at the pool of Bethesda, was a public sign that the Messiah was in their midst.
This messianic miracle took place in Jerusalem during an unidentified religious feast - and it happened to be the Sabbath day. However, extra-biblical oral laws had been added to the Mosaic Law and the religious leaders so idolised these human traditions, that they were blinded to the presence of their Messiah - the Lord of the Sabbath Who was in their very midst.
The man at the pool of Bethesda had been paralysed for 38 years. This was the same length of time that Israel had blindly wandered in the wilderness, in unbelief - because they believed the report of the 10 spies instead of trusting in God. Jesus used this healing to open the eyes of those who had not yet recognised Him as their Messiah, to revive those that were weary, and to call His chosen people to repent for the kingdom of God was near and the King was living among them.
The healing of this paralysed man was punishable by stoning, according to the religious leaders, because it broke their Sabbath Law. The healed man pleaded his 'innocence' and appeared ignorant of Who Jesus was, when interrogated by the Jewish leaders. But the Lord was more interested in this man's eternal soul and did not want him to miss the opportunity of salvation through faith in his Messiah, and so the Lord Jesus searched for him and we read: "Afterward He found him in the temple and said to him, 'Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.'"
I wonder if this man was thanking God for his healing when Jesus found him in the Temple, or if his attitude was apathetic and thankless - for he chose to tell the Jewish leaders who were so outraged about the Sabbath healing and that it was Jesus Who had healed him. It was the Lord Jesus Who told Him to take up his bed and walk on the Sabbath day!
But Christ loved this man... and desired him to be saved, which caused the Saviour to search this man out and warn him not to sin again in case something worse happened to him.
Although certain illness and ailments may result from sinfulness, the eternal consequences of sin are far more terrible than a lifetime of sickness... for the wages of sin is death, which means eternal separation from God and all that is good - however, the gift of God is eternal life for all who trust in Him - through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We are all born - physically alive but spiritually dead in our sins, but every one of us has the opportunity to have ALL our sin forgiven, by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But how terrible for the unsaved sinner who rejects God's offer of salvation and dies in their sin - for they will be judged for the good works THEY did and not the good work that JESUS did on their behalf - but the good deeds they did will inevitably fall short of the glory of God. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the many lessons that You teach us through Your Word. Help me to keep my focus on Jesus and not become too obsessed with my own troubles and difficulties which can entrap my mind and cause me to dwell on my present woes, rather than on my future hope. Keep me alert to Your leading and ready to listen to Your voice, in every situation of life. Thank You for Your amazing grace, that through faith in Jesus I have not only been forgiven of my sin, but have been given all I need for life and godliness. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.
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