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.
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
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.
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:
-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)
-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.