The day on which [the man was healed] took place was a Sabbath, 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.”
But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”
So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”
The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.
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.” The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.
Jesus works a fantastic miracle when he heals an invalid man for 38 years. Astonishingly, instead of rejoicing over his miraculous healing, the man faces opposition and accusations from the religious leaders. Why? Because it was the Sabbath, and their rules forbade them from working on the Sabbath. And healing the sick constituted work!
We can learn much from this passage because it reveals so much about human nature. Firstly, it reveals the legalism of the religious leaders who were more concerned about keeping their man-made rules than acknowledging the divine work of healing performed by Jesus. They were quick to criticize and condemn rather than celebrate the man's restoration.
Secondly, we see Jesus' response to the situation, which not only displays his compassion but also highlights the deeper spiritual healing he offers. After finding the man in the temple, Jesus tells him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you" (John 5:14). Here, Jesus addresses not only the man's physical condition but also the state of his soul.
This statement contains a powerful truth. Jesus' healing goes beyond the physical; it touches the innermost parts of our being. He desires not just to address the symptoms of our brokenness but to restore us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. His statement, often misunderstood, reveals two essential aspects.
One, while the man's physical ailment was not necessarily caused by a specific sin, Jesus acknowledges that sin has severe consequences in our lives. Sin separates us from God and leads to spiritual brokenness. If the man continued in sin without repentance, he would experience greater spiritual harm—a condition far more severe than any physical ailment.
Two, he was calling the man to holiness. Jesus' words are not meant to condemn but to call the man to a life of holiness and obedience. The miraculous healing was an act of grace and mercy, illustrating God's desire to restore and transform lives.
Thirdly — returning to our original stream of thought — we witness the man's response to Jesus' warning. Instead of taking offense, he goes and tells the religious leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him. He knew there would be consequences, but his transformed heart gave him courage.
Lastly, this passage serves as a reminder that encountering Jesus always results in a call to holiness. Jesus' healing touch comes with an invitation to turn away from sin and live in obedience to God.
Lots to reflect upon today. God bless you.