Monday, September 12, 2016

Jesus' work and your response - John 5:1-16

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John 5:17 "But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”

Today's post details the third miracle or "sign" Jesus performed in the Gospel of John. As one reads through John 5:1-17, verse 17 summarizes the chief purpose for this miracle account: "But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” The work that Jesus is recorded doing in John's Gospel and the other three Gospels is responded to in different ways. How you and I respond to what He is doing and where He is doing it must be considered. It is interesting when we briefly review the people Jesus engaged in John 3,4 and 5 how the Apostle John used contrasts. Contrasting persons, images or ideas is how John drives forward his narrative of Jesus' life. Let the reader quickly note the following:

Jesus’ personal work with people in John’s Gospel (note how John uses contrasts):
1. Nicodemas, a man lost in religion (John 3).

2. Woman at the well, lost in her sins (John 4).

3. Nobleman, lost in his high position (John 5)

4. Man at Bethesda, lost in his low position (John 5)

The final man is the focus of today's post. Notice how wide of a spectrum of people Jesus went to in his ministry. 
He is ever at work and aimed to do what the Father sent Him to do.1 

So for our purposes today, we want to know where then does Jesus work (as illustrated in the miracle He did in the invalid man's life) and what ought our response be? Again let's quickly note the following:

1). Where Jesus works

a. Circumstances. John 5:1-4
Jesus was making His way back to Jerusalem to attend an unnamed feast. Jesus made His way in and around that Northern district of Jerusalem. He meandered around the numerous lame and sick people. He was operating in the background to get to the foreground of this man's life. The circumstances of life, both the 38 long years and the immediate situation here in John 5 all were worked forth by Jesus in bringing about this Divine appointment. 

b. His Word. John 5:5-9
Jesus works in our circumstances, whether we realize it or not. The chief area where Jesus does His work is by way of His word. He told the man to "Pick up your pallet, and walk". Whenever we hear the scriptures read, taught or preached, we ought to expect to hear His voice through the words of the text. Jesus so chooses to work through His written word.

c. Among His people. John 5:10-14
After the miracle, the man is found at the temple worshiping with his fellow Jews. Jesus came looking for the man in the midst of that mighty throng. Do we ever realize how Jesus is very well aiming to work in our hearts and midst when we are gathered together. Jesus is present even when we may assume He is absent. He is ever with His people. Coming to be with God's people is part of where Jesus does His work. 

d. Amidst conflict. John 5:15-17
What about the places and times in life where conflict occurs. The Jewish leadership began their desire to want to kill Jesus in the aftermath of this miracle. At times we may think that the last place we would expect to find Jesus is in those seasons or places where life is barely fit for man or beast. Yet by His incarnation, Jesus expressed Himself has God in human flesh, God getting His hands dirty and God desiring to bring peace into otherwise desperate situations.

2). What your response ought to be
So in seeing where Jesus works in life, what ought our response to be? To answer that question, we can note what it ought not to be.

a. What it ought not to be….

-Neglect. (man at Bethesda in John 5:13-15). Sadly the man who was healed in John 5 never thanked Jesus and was quite negligent. When asked by the Jews who healed him, the man, even after having a second encounter with Jesus, does not evidence the saving faith that expresses itself in thanksgiving to God. R.C Sproul notes in his St. Andrew's Expositional Commentary on this text:

"Instead of rejoicing and defending the Glory of the One who had delivered Him from His malady, the healed man simply passed the buck, saying, 'This fellow who healed me told me to carry my bed."

Sproul then cross-references Luke 12:8-9 which reads - “And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God; 9 but he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God."

-Rejection (Nicodemas in John 3:11 & leaders in 5:16). Certainly the Jewish leadership increased their hostility toward Jesus. Jesus indicated early on that the Jewish officials never accepted Him. Even though Jesus so often does work in our lives, how often do we reject it out of hand or act thanklessly and recklessly? A quick survey of some verses in John's Gospel will reveal how the persistent rejection escalated all the way to the cross (John 5:15,16; 7:1; 11:54)

We ought to be very careful not to miss what is otherwise persistent work by Jesus in our lives. So then how ought we respond?

b. What your response ought to be….

-Reception (like the woman at the well)
Certainly the woman at the well in John 4 evidence reception. She told the hold town of Samaria about what Jesus had done for her.

-Intention (like the nobleman). When Jesus healed the Nobleman's son in John 5, we find him making inquiries and increasing all the more in his conviction that Jesus was who He said He was. Both the nobleman and woman at the well received and intentionally responded to Jesus' work. The result? People were receptive and intentional as well. 

Closing thoughts
As we close out today, may we take stock of the work Jesus is ever doing in our circumstances, by His word, amidst His people and in those seasons where even conflict ensues. May we be careful not to be negligent nor rejecting of His work. Instead, may we be ever receptive and intentional in our response to all Jesus has done and is doing. 


1. Touching His deity, the Son's will and the Father's were One divine will. Along with the Person of the Holy Spirit, the Trinity works together to achieve One ultimate plan and purpose as Almighty God. When the Son took unto Himself a second nature, a human nature, included in His incarnation was the inception of His ability to express a human will. Whenever we see Jesus walking in the Gospels, He is doing the Father's will as the Son so expressing Himself by way of His humanity. As He ever remained truly God, His shared Divine will with the Father ever molded and sculpted how He exercised Himself in His humanity. Jesus not only did the work of His Father as man, but He also, with the Father, did the work of God as God. 

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