5:10-18 “The Persecution of Jesus”
Introduction: Jesus has healed a man and departed before
the man knew who He was. We certainly
can understand how this is possible for in the excitement of the moment the
crowd would have been amazed and the man would have been demonstrating his new
found strength and agility. Jesus
deliberately left this man to face the Jewish leaders by himself. Jesus will reveal himself to this man but
only after he has been tried by the Jews.
5:10) The Jews therefore said unto him
that was cured, It is the sabbath
day: it is not lawful for thee to carry [thy] bed.
The Jewish leaders are meant here by
the term Jews. They did not say a word
about the man’s ability to walk and the apparent miracle that had been preformed. They instead focus on the man carrying his
bed. They deemed this a violation of the
Law of Moses concerning the Sabbath.
Was this a violation of the
Sabbath? To keep this law one was to do
no work. They were not to gather sticks
for a fire on the Sabbath. They were not
to cook on the Sabbath. All work was to
be done ahead of time. The wood was to
be already gathered and the fire already kindled before the Sabbath. The food was to be pre-cooked and no servants
were to work on this day. There was
provision for emergencies for they could get an ox out of the ditch on this
day. The Priests worked hard on the
Sabbath offering the sacrifices. The
Idea of the Sabbath was for men to rest and worship God together.
This man had not broken the Sabbath. What he did was to carry his bed home at the
bidding of Jesus. Had he left his bed
there it would have been stolen. He went
to the temple to worship for this was appropriate for the Sabbath day.
5:11) He answered them, He that made me
whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.
The man answers his accusers by
explaining that he was simply following orders.
The one who had made him whole had to have been a man of God. A man of God was to be obeyed. Men were to obey the words of the prophets
for they spake for God. Nicodemus had
concluded that Jesus was from God because of the miracles He preformed. This man had concluded the same thing. The Jews have to admit that a notable miracle
has been done and they must accept this mans explanation and release him.
5:12) Then asked they
him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?
They turn their attention now to the
man who told him to do this thing. They
will bring this one to be judged for they deem Him to be guilty of breaking the
Sabbath by healing on this day and by encouraging others to break the Sabbath.
5:13) And he that was healed wist not
who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in [that]
The man is unable to provide them
with this information for Jesus had not stayed long enough for the man to know
who He was. It would seem as though he
would have been so grateful that he would have followed Jesus and not let Him
out of his sight. It would seem natural
for him to want to show his gratitude to Jesus and would not have let Him get
away without knowing were to send the Thank you card. But the man had let Jesus slip away and made
no efforts to find out who He was.
Upon this the Jews release the man and
he goes into the temple. The reason
people go to the temple is to pray and to offer sacrifices. This man has much to be thankful for and has
gone to the right place. He could not
thank the man who healed him but he can thank God who sent Him.
5:14) Afterward Jesus findeth him in the
temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a
worse thing come unto thee.
Jesus comes to the man in the temple
and reveals Himself to him. Jesus gives
the man two pieces of evidence that He is the Christ. The first concerns the past. Jesus knows the sin of this man. He knows that it was a result of the sin of
this man that he had been sick. Sin can
result in illness. Paul told the
Corinthians that some were sick among them because they had misused the Lord’s
Supper. Sexual immorality can result in
illness such as AIDS. Whatever this
man’s sin was it had resulted in illness and this man knew it.
Jesus gives this man the second
piece of evidence when He tells him the future.
If this man does not turn from sin he will suffer a worse punishment
than being sick for thirty eight years.
The only way a man can sin no more is to be born again. The man who is born again is a new creature
and that new creature, that inward man can not sin for
he has been born of God. The outward man
continues to sin but the inward man will never sin again. Remember that the wages of sin is death. The opposite of this is everlasting life
which is a gift of God. For one to have
everlasting life he must not sin. Thus
our outer man will die and go back to the dust but our inward man which is a
new creation in Christ will go to be with God forever.
This concept of no sin is a strange
and difficult to comprehend. This man
shows no interest nor any curiosity. He is not like Nicodemus who asked “how can
these things be?” This man does not make
any acknowledgement that Jesus is Lord.
Nicodemus called Jesus Master. This
man will betray Jesus. Nicodemus spoke
out for Jesus before the counsel. This
man will have no more to do with Jesus.
Nicodemus will bury the body of Christ.
5:15) The man departed, and told the
Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.
This man left Jesus and went strait
to the Jewish leaders to tell them that it was Jesus who had made him
whole. Why did he do this? As far as I can tell there are two possible
reasons. The first reason is that he
fears the Jews still hold ill feelings toward him for breaking the Sabbath and
he wants to get back into their favor. He
goes to them and tells them it was Jesus and they will see that he is sincerely
trying to clear himself of wrong doing.
He will shift the blame from himself to Jesus.
The second reason is that he wants
them to know that it was Jesus who had done this great miracle so that they may
meet Him and acknowledge that He is from God.
Notice that the scripture does not say that he told the Jews that it was
Jesus who commanded him to take up his bed and walk. He told them rather that it was Jesus who
made him whole. He places the emphasis
on the healing rather than on the instructions.
This man knows that the Jews want to
know who healed him so that they can accuse him of breaking the Law. It seems to me that the former reason is the
most likely. This man is concerned only
about himself. He fears what men will
think. He has his health and cares
nothing for the one who healed him.
Jesus healed a blind man who insisted on following Jesus. Jesus healed a man possessed with a legion of
demons and this cured man beg Jesus to let him follow but Jesus told him to
return to his own and tell them what great thing had been done for him. Nicodemus would proclaim openly for Jesus
before the counsel and before all men.
Mary Magdalene had seven demons cast out of her by Jesus and she showed
her love for Him by being a faithful follower.
Many followed Jesus because they were so profoundly grateful for what He
had done for them but this man says not a word of thanks or of acknowledgement
of who Jesus is. I believe this man to
be a selfish, blame shifting, un-thankful, fearful man who in spite of these
traits experienced the mercy and grace of God.
If I am wrong then I will apologize to this man in glory but I fear that
he will not be there.
5:16) And therefore did the Jews
persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on
the sabbath day.
The Jewish leaders now have one
witness and they need but one more to put Jesus to death for breaking the
Sabbath. The surely will be able to find
in the multitude of people who witnessed this miracle one whose testimony will
agree with this man. The verse says they
persecuted Jesus. We may conclude that
they very actively sought witnesses and evidence with which they could condemn
Jesus. Having obtained this they call
Jesus before them and question Him concerning His working on the Sabbath.
5:17) But Jesus answered them, My Father
worketh hitherto, and I work.
Jesus gave them an unexpected
answer. Jesus told them that His Father
had been working up to this time and He to, like His Father, must work. He is not talking about Joseph for Joseph is
not His father. God is His Father. David called both Lord. David said “The Lord said unto my Lord sit
thou at My right hand until I make Thine enemies Thy
footstool.” David understood that there
was but one God and yet he knew of the Spirit of God and He acknowledged the
position of the Father and of His Son.
The Jews understood what Jesus meant.
5:18) Therefore the Jews sought the more
to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father,
making himself equal with God.
There are religious groups who say
that Jesus is the Son of God but this does not mean He is God. Notice in this verse that the Jews took this
to mean that the Son of God was equal with God.
The Jews now have two things against Jesus. They have the breaking of the Sabbath and
Jesus had not broken the Law of the
Sabbath. What Jesus had told the man to
do in no way broke the law. The man carrying his bed broke only the
traditions of the elders. Much of what
the Jewish leaders practiced as law was nothing more than tradition. Today men often base right and wrong on
tradition rather than on Biblical doctrine.
Some would be highly offended if the worship service included the
playing of a drum. These perceived
offences have resulted in people being run off from the church. Traditions are good in their proper place but
beware that they take not the place of God’s Holy Word!
Clapping in Church services, Women baptizing, Who conducts the Lord’s
Supper, how often we observe the Lord’s
Supper, the use of musical instruments, the order of services, who leads the public prayer, and were and how
we worship are often based upon tradition and not scripture. Let us beware, do not condemn someone just
because they violate our tradition!
Conclusion: Let us learn from the persecution of Jesus:
1. Those who are helped by God are not always
faithful to God.
2. Those that seem to be the most religious
often turn out to be God’s enemies.
3. If men persecuted Jesus they will certainly
persecute His followers.
4. People who are doing what is right are often
works will result in persecution.