My previous article presented the text from the fifth chapter of the gospel of John. In this article, I wish to expand on that a little bit.
In John 5:1-15, Jesus healed a man diseased for thirty-eight years. The Jews never forgave Jesus for healing this man on the Sabbath, nor for His claim of personal equality with God (John 5:16-18), and humanly speaking, this opened the opposition that eventually cost Jesus the Christ His life.
Jesus told the invalid to get up. Jesus’ command always carries with it His quickening power to obey. However, the obedience and the power are simultaneous. To refuse to obey in faith is not to experience the power. Similarly, Paul describes fallen humanity and every descendant of Adam as being dead (limp, lifeless, helpless) in transgressions and sins (Ephesians 2:1). He then speaks of God’s quickening power to make dead people alive.
Jesus gave the invalid at the pool of Bethesda strength but also required him to carry his responsibilities---his mat. He told him to pick up his mat and walk. This could also symbolize the idea: “Accept your circumstances but carry them in triumph, trusting in My imparted strength.” Not until he obeyed did this man experience the totally new life and strength created within him.
Immediately, the healed man ran into opposition. Opposition is similarly inevitable for any active Christian (Acts 14:22; 1 Peter 2:20-21). Those of us who are Christians need to expect opposition, trials to test our faith, and difficult circumstances, for these are appointed for us, and “we are destined for them” (1 Thessalonians 3:3). God allows opposition so that we may be deeply rooted in Him and experience the delights of proving His strength and comfort given in trials.
Jesus ordered the now-healed invalid to stop sinning. After Jesus had broken the power of sin over him, He warned him of the danger and of the consequences of indulging in the habit of whatever sin in which he had been involved. We, too (those of us who are followers of Christ), are made whole in order to live in newness of life with new habits that please God. We were chosen in Christ “before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight” (Ephesians 1:4). We are called to be set apart from sin (separated) and set apart for God (sanctified) through the power of the new life of the Holy Spirit given to us by God (2 Thessalonians 2:13). This is true wholeness. We work out what He has first worked within (Philippians 2:13).
The healed man then began witnessing to others about Jesus (John 5:15). Those who have been made whole by Jesus want to tell others about Him. We who are born-again, regenerated Christians with new lives should be doing the same.