St. John’s Gospel (13) - The Ill Man (John 5)

Date: 5/25/2014
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Type: Sunday Sermon
Topic: Sabbath
Organization: All Saints
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The Resurrection Manifest in St. John’s Gospel (06) - An Ill Man

John 5 -  . . . A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He *said to him, “Do you wish to get well?” 7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus *said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.”  9 Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk. Now it was the Sabbath on that day. 10 So the Jews were saying to the man who was cured, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet.”… 16 For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”

The Seven + One New Creation (Signs in John)
1. New Creator: Water into wine (2:1-11)
    2. Redeemer/Healer: Prevents death of king’s man’s son (4:46ff)
        3. True Sabbath: The paralyzed man at the pool (5:2-9) (sin no more)
            4. Bread of Life: Multiplication of loaves (6:1-14)
        5. Light of the World: Born blind, healed on Sabbath (9:1-7) (not his sin)
    6. Resurrection & Life: Delays/death then raises Lazarus (11:1-44)
7. Living Water: Water & blood on the cross (19:34-35)
+ 8. New Adam/Gardener: The resurrection (20:1-29) “First Day” (8th Day)

The Response of the Ill Man (vv. 1-7). Jesus intentionally creates a conflict for the sake of revealing Himself (signs: note 3 & 5). Like Israel’s disobedience in the wilderness (Dt. 2:14), this man was ill for 38 years. He had become accustomed to make excuses and grumble. However, Jesus breaks in on his life of misery: “Do you wish to get well?” The man did not respond aright. But Jesus acts to heal, not leaving him there with his excuses. Still, there is some concern about the man’s response: “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you” (v14).

The Response of the Pharisees (vv 8-15). The healed man could hardly resist following the command of Jesus. Yet, this command ran aground of the Talmud (Mishna Mo’ed 39 classes of Sabbath breaking work). Pharisees questioned this man, but this man cannot even name his healer. The Pharisees response to Jesus is very clear: they hated Jesus with murderous hate. They did not respond aright, they were sad-u-see.

The Response of Jesus (vv 16-18). As the Jews were busy persecuting Jesus, He stands to give his defense (apakrino). This is a legal term for responding in court. The first section of this reply is brief and direct: “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”  This was an excellent refutation of breaking the Law. But by giving it Jesus draws out further condemnation from the Pharisees. In other words, the Father continually works to give life and Jesus is the Son of this Father God. Ergo: Jesus is like the Father.

Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more