What Happens When Jesus is King (John 5:1-15)?

paris_-_bibl-_mazarine_-_ms-_0924_f_150vOne of the most unifying statements to the Christian church is the Apostles Creed. This is a confession of the early church, dating back earlier than 400AD. It was written to combat heresies of the day, and affirmed the Trinitarian nature of God. Look at it w/ me:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit

and born of the virgin Mary.

He suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried;

he descended to hell.

The third day he rose again from the dead.

He ascended to heaven

and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.

From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen.

There are 3 general sections: one for the God the father, one for God the Son, and one for God the Spirit. We could spend all year discussing this creed, but for now, look at the section on JC. WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT JC? He was born; He suffered; He died and rose again to power. All of this is true, but what do we gather about the life of JC form the Apostles Creed? WHY DID JC LIVE? Now the purpose of this creed was not to give is a dissertation on the life of JC, but we can admit that they left out almost all of the gospels from this statement. The gospels share w/ us about the life of JC. They pose the question: WHY DID JC LIVE? As I mentioned last time, scholar NT WRIGHT asserts that JC lived to bring in His kingdom – to bring in theocracy, if you will. Not a rule of religious representatives of God, but the reign of God Himself. And so this fall as we look at the book of John, we are asking the question: What happens when this God becomes king? And tonight I want to look at John 5:1-15

 

Text

We will ask John 5:1-15: What happens when this God becomes king? Last week we saw that when JC becomes king the sick are healed and belief is filled in. That is the sort of thing that happens in JCs kingdom, when He reigns. So lets read John 5:1-15. As we do so, pay attention to what jumps out at you.

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 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. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie -the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. [4] 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 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?

7 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.

8 Then Jesus said to him: Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.

9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 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.

11 But he replied: The man who made me well said to me, Pick up your mat and walk. 12 So they asked him: Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?

13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.

14 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. 15 The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.

WHAT ARE YOUR OBSERVATIONS OF THE TEXT?

For starters: Where is v. 4? The earliest Greek manuscripts of the nt do not contain v. 4, but the man’s statement in v. 7 demonstrates that the people around the pool believed something similar to what is said in v. 4. However, v. 7 contains no note about an angel, suggesting that v. 4 may have been a later attempt to explain v. 7.[1] In the KJV, v. 4 reads: For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.

What about this pool? One commentator said:

This site was later used as a pagan healing shrine, but the Jewish community in Jesus day probably viewed this pool as a place of healing. The temple authorities undoubtedly did not approve -after all, sacred pools at healing shrines characterized Greek cults, but popular religion often ignores religious contradictions that are clearer to the official religious leaders.[2]

What is interesting is that JC goes out of His way to this place of illness. Another scholar said:

When Jesus went to Jerusalem, he did not spend his time in elite hostels w/ those who could help him politically and financially with his ministry. He concentrated on people in need. In this story he visited the pool below the temple where the helpless dregs of society lay in a pathetic state. Most proper people probably avoided places where they had to pass among the sick and suffering both because it was an uncomfortable setting and because of the potential for violation of ritual purity rules. But Jesus went out of his way to visit such a place.[3]

The bottom line for me, is that people were placing their hope in this pool‘s restorative properties, rather than God. In other words, it was a place of Superstition. In v. 7, it appears that the belief was that when the water was stirred the 1st one into the water received healing. “You better be quick, or have help to get well” (AKA -works based or elite salvation). Superstition When JC asks if he wants to get well, JC exposes the BS of this paradigm. And in v. 8, after the man gives his shame-filled, superstitious response to JC, JC cuts through the BS and directly confronts this false paradigm, asserts who He is, and powerfully commands the man to Get up, Pick up his mat and, and Walk! Enough superstition, the King of creation is here, be well and walk into life. The man is healed, ready for his new life

He is giving everyone high 5s and chest bumps, until he sees the authorities. It turns out the man was healed on the Sabbath, and is breaking rules. The authorities are not happy. Physical labor was forbidden on the Sabbath, but biblical law did not explicitly define what qualified as work So Rabbinic legal tradition defined work according to 39 types of behavior that were forbidden on the Sabbath. Carrying anything out of the house was one of the forbidden activities.[4] Jeremiah 17:22 : You shall not bring a load out of your houses on the sabbath day nor do any work, but keep the sabbath day holy, as I commanded your forefathers. The authorities are not totally bad, they desire Gods favor. They are under Roman oppression, and believe that Holy Law keeping and living will bring about Gods favor. These guys are not the superstitious type. They are men of tradition and logic, seeing a direct correlation b/t humanity’s action and Gods positive or negative response. There is no mystery here; this is precision. But ultimately they are missing the point. The religious leaders are more concerned with the man carrying his mat on the Sabbath than with his miraculous healing.[5] In telling this man to take his mat and walk, JC is confronting the unnecessary religious tradition of the day. The authorities of the day were not comfortable w/ ambiguity or mystery, so they defined every aspect of life. Their heart was to draw Gods heart back to His people. It was a works based salvation. And JC was saying: No, I [I] am the way the truth and the life, not anything else. So get up! , Pick up your mat and, and Walk! But by doing what he was told he violated section 18.7.5 of the religious code. So they want to know who authorized this violation. The man ultimately does not know. And filling in the blanks, we can assume that the authorities told the man to report his healing to the temple authorities, w/ the probable proper sacrifices. It is there that JC finds the guy. JC initiates relationship w/ the man. He wants to follow up. He says: Look at you! You look wonderful! You are healthy! This phrase in the Greek is a perfect active indicative, meaning his healing was permanent. JC is saying: You are not going back to being unhealthy. JC is celebrating w/ the guy. Then, JC tells him to stop sinning. As if He is saying: make this a day of total cleansing. Use this as a moment of worship, declaring the goodness of God. Live into the grace God has given you!

So, WITH ALL THAT IN MIND, WHAT DO YOU SEE JC DISRUPTING IN THIS TEXT? JC is disrupting superstitions and unnecessary traditions. The Good news is that JC is greater than superstition and tradition.

 

Today

So as we consider this text from millenniums past, we see that there is not much that has changed. Today, we have superstitions and traditions. Even among those who claim to be JC followers, there are accepted, overlooked things that displace JC as healer and rescuer. So, WHAT ARE ACCEPTED SUPERSTITIONS or TRADITIONS THAT DISPLACE JC? The Problem is that We trust in the wrong things

Our Series question is: What happens when this God becomes king, and the answer I see from this text is that Superstitions and unnecessary traditions are displaced. So What difference does JC/the good news make? If, JC is greater than superstition and tradition, then we can walk the line of mystery and confidence and trust in the real deal, JC.

 

Amen.

[1] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Jn 5:3). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[2] Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Jn 5:3). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[3] Borchert, G. L. (1996). John 1–11 (Vol. 25A, pp. 231–232). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Jn 5:10). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Jn 5:1–18). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

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