Guilt that Remains

John 9:39-41 WEB

Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, that those who don’t see may see; and that those who see may become blind.” [40] Those of the Pharisees who were with him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” [41] Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.


The Pharisees were a religious group intent on obedience to God. In their intense desire to obey God, they wrote approximately 400 rules every Jewish person was meant to obey. The book of rules was called the Talmud. During Jesus’ day, the Talmud was the authoritative text of the Jewish religion, Judaism. Unfortunately, the Pharisees were about the only people that could properly obey the Talmud. This was because they studied the Scripture and Talmud daily. They did not have other employment. Instead, they spent all their time focused on obedience to God.

Because they knew the scriptures Jesus said their eyes were open. That meant they understood the scripture had authority over the Talmud. The Pharisees considered anyone a lawbreaker if they disobeyed the Talmud to obey scripture.  In fact, the Pharisees were professionals at policing and enforcing the Talmud. Anyone caught breaking the rules of the Talmud were put out of the synagogue, an extremely traumatic life outcome.

The Pharisees had just thrown the man who had once been blind out of the synagogue. He went to them to have his healing confirmed. However, instead of rejoicing that the Father had healed him, they were more concerned that the healing was done on the Sabbath. Doing anything on the Sabbath, even healing someone, was outlawed in the Talmud. This upset Jesus. The scriptures testified of the Father’s kindness and goodness. Therefore, to outlaw kindness and love on the Sabbath was disobedient. Because they knew this Jesus hurls the truth at them and declares them fit to be judged.


Father, forgive me for caring more about rules than about people. I long to be righteous in my obedience to the Bible and I long to be holy in my love towards others. Help me repent, Lord. This is inner work and I need you to come and show me the best way. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Religion or Love?

John 9:12-16 WEB

Then they asked him, “Where is he?” He said, “I don’t know.” [13] They brought him who had been blind to the Pharisees. [14] It was a Sabbath when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. [15] Again therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he received his sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, I washed, and I see.” [16] Some therefore of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, because he doesn’t keep the Sabbath.” Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” There was division among them.


It was a Sabbath on which Jesus did this miracle. That means it was a Sabbath when the blind man asked to be healed. The beggar who was blind did not care about decorum or rules. He cared about his need to see. So, regardless of the day, the blind man cried out to Jesus and was healed. Not only did the blind man ask for his miracle on the Sabbath, but Jesus also honored his heart’s desire and healed him on the Sabbath.

Before the cross, the old system was still intact. Healing on the sabbath was against the religion of Judaism. As a Bible and Torah believing Jew, Jesus should have been shocked at the bold request. Instead, the blind sinner was healed. Jesus cared more about the blind man than he cared about the rules. He knew the rules and honored them. But when a human need arose, the rules no longer mattered.

The human in the story is what matters most. The blind beggar was a poor and broken man, but God raised him up to eternal glory and honor by including his story in the Bible. He sinned his way to wholeness. Have you ever met a poor beggar? How about a homeless person? Their focus is on their need, not the rules. And God honors them as human beings. God does not withhold his comfort because of this man’s sin. The beggar asked God for help. So, regardless of his lifestyle, God reached out to him and healed him.


Lord, deliver me from a religious spirit so I can love others as you love me. Help me see people as you see them. Help me, love, as you love. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Resting While Working

John 5:17-19 WEB

But Jesus answered them, “My Father is still working, so I am working, too.” [18] For this cause therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God. [19] Jesus therefore answered them, “Most certainly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things he does, these the Son also does likewise.


Hebrews chapters 3 and 4 talk about the rest of God. We are told to be diligent in our pursuit of rest. (Hebrews 4:11) Yet here is Jesus telling the Jewish leaders that he is working, and his Father is working. More, it says that Jesus could see what his Father was doing and chose to join him. Seeing is an activity that happens in the flesh. Notice the verses do not say Jesus envisioned what the Father was doing. Rather, it says he saw. So, he joined in the Father’s labor. In this alignment with the Father, miracles occurred.

How is it that Jesus had open eyes to recognize the work of the Father? The Bible says that Jesus prayed for a long time each morning in a secluded place. (Mark 1:35) The Bible also teaches that Jesus did not care what others thought. Instead, he consistently demonstrated placing God’s priorities first in his life. (John 4:27) But do these attributes account for Jesus having eyes that see and ears that hear?

Both of the above examples show us how to see and hear the Father. Before and after Jesus moved in signs and wonders he frequently prayed. (John 11:43, Mt 14:23) Also, Jesus considered doing the will of God more important than his own fleshly needs. (John 4:31-34) The Bible says in John 3:16 that the Father desires all people to come into a relationship with him. Since Jesus is the one who said John 3:16, we can be sure he believed the Father loved all people. Therefore, Jesus loved people more than himself. He did it because it is what he believed the Father wanted. So, prayer, desiring God’s will, and loving others more than himself seem to be the keys to Jesus’ supernatural success.

Jesus’ supernatural miracles proved that Jesus was aligned with the Father.  Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Jesus thought He was God or thought He was equal to God. The Jewish leaders, out of jealousy, interpreted Jesus’ motives as evil. However, Jesus did not step out in the flesh. He waited to see what the Father was doing and joined him. Even when he worked, he was fully resting in the Father.


Lord Jesus, please help me pray, desire your will, and rest in you. Give me eyes that see and ears that hear so that I can join you in what you are doing. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

The Exchange

John 5:9-11 WEB

Immediately, the man was made well, and took up his mat and walked. Now it was the Sabbath on that day. [10] So the Jews said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath. It is not lawful for you to carry the mat.” [11] He answered them, “He who made me well, the same said to me, ‘Take up your mat, and walk.’ ”


A man with an infirmity for 38 years was miraculously healed and all the religious leaders could do was criticize. The leaders of Judaism, in their pursuit of obedience to God, had made up hundreds of rules for practical daily living. Now, with God working in their midst they could not see Him. Instead, all they could see was Jesus inciting rule-breaking.

It is probably difficult to overestimate how often we substitute the teachings of man for the teachings of God. Jesus had healed a man and the Jewish leaders did not approve. The rules they created to be zealous for God had become an idol. The rules are an idol because the religious leaders had become more loyal to the rules than to God.

How did the leaders of Judaism fall into idolatry? They forgot the lesson of Moses striking the rock when God told him to speak to it. (Num 20:7-12) They forgot that God does not do everything the same every time. The religious leaders also forgot the lesson of the Israelites at the Mountain of God. They did not want to talk to God, instead, they preferred a book of rules to follow. They rejected knowing God personally. (Exodus 20:19) In the same way, the religious leaders of Jesus’ time had created rules that eliminated the need to trust God directly. They substituted teachings about God for God.


Lord Jesus, please help me recognize idolatry in my life so that I may repent. Lord, please help me care more about our relationship than I care about people’s approval. Please help me, love, without compromise. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Fruit and Authority

John 5:9-17 WEB

Immediately, the man was made well, and took up his mat and walked. Now it was the Sabbath on that day. [10] So the Jews said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath. It is not lawful for you to carry the mat.” [11] He answered them, “He who made me well, the same said to me, ‘Take up your mat, and walk.’ ” [12] Then they asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your mat, and walk’?” [13] But he who was healed didn’t know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a crowd being in the place. [14] Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “Behold, you are made well. Sin no more, so that nothing worse happens to you.” [15] The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. [16] For this cause the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill him, because he did these things on the Sabbath. [17] But Jesus answered them, “My Father is still working, so I am working, too.”


The works of Jesus are good fruit. As Christians, we are often told that we should evaluate the fruit of a person’s life. In the above passage, Jesus has just healed, delivered, and restored a man. Jesus’ works bore good fruit. It is understandable that the healed man felt gratitude and loyalty to Jesus. Still, the man was under Jewish law.

The healed man had honor for the authority of the religious leaders. So, in accordance with the law, he went to the leaders to be declared healed. Here is where something interesting happens, the man who was healed followed the fruit. That is, he judged the fruit and showed loyalty to Jesus. Also, just a few lines later the man is telling the Jewish leaders what they want to know. The man did not dishonor the legitimate authority of the religious leaders.

Jesus was a man under authority. He watched and prayed and did what the Father showed him. When the Father showed him healing on the Sabbath, he obeyed. It did not matter doing a healing on the Sabbath was the best way to get into trouble with the religious leaders. Accordingly, it was not long until Jesus was challenged by religious hypocrisy.

The Jewish leaders persecuted Jesus for working on the Sabbath. Jesus answers them boldly when he says he is under the authority of the Father. In the same way believers are to name Jesus, Jesus named the Father. He truly did suffer as we do today. He faced challenges on behalf of the Father to serve His glory. He trusted the Father enough to obey him. He trusted the Father enough to bear good fruit.


Lord Jesus, please help me trust you enough to obey your word. Help me see what you are doing so that I may join in the work. Please forgive my love for the approval of others. Help me trust, obey, and bear good fruit. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Healed or Restored?

John 5:4-9 WEB

for an angel went down at certain times into the pool, and stirred up the water. Whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was healed of whatever disease he had. [5] A certain man was there, who had been sick for thirty-eight years. [6] When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had been sick for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to be made well?” [7] The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I’m coming, another steps down before me.” [8] Jesus said to him, “Arise, take up your mat, and walk.” [9] Immediately, the man was made well, and took up his mat and walked. Now it was the Sabbath on that day.


Being healed and being restored are two different things. A doctor can heal but they cannot restore. A boss at work or family leader may be able to restore but they cannot heal. In the above text, Jesus healed the man and restored him. Jesus’ admonition to take up his mat and walk deals with the man’s need to be both healed and restored.

When Jesus asks the man if he wants to be healed, the man answers indirectly and says, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool…” Jesus asked a question about the man’s situation and the man immediately blames those around him. So, this is the first thing Jesus deals with in this newly healed man when he says, “Arise, take up your mat, and walk.”

Notice the Lord did not tell someone to help the man to the water. Nor did he reprimand those around for not caring about the man. No one questioned anyone’s motives. Jesus simply challenges the man to walk in the Spirit. He challenges the man to do the impossible, get up.

So, the man got up. He did not wait to be asked again. He did not wait for a full explanation of how he was supposed to get up. The man waiting for 38 years by the pool quickly took ahold of the opportunity the Lord gave him, and he got up and walked.

The opportunity to be healed came with a specific challenge. The man had to pick up his bedroll on the sabbath to obey the Lord. This was direct disobedience to the fathers of the Jewish faith who said a person cannot carry their bed on the sabbath. Yet, obeying the fathers did not get the man healed.

For 38 years the man’s life was bankrupted by his illness. Yet in one simple conversation, Jesus heals him, challenges his faith, restores him, and gives him the opportunity to publicly name Jesus when asked why he is carrying his bedroll. When Jesus heals, he does a complete work. When we try to get people healed without the Spirit of God, the magnitudes of goodness are not there.  On the other hand, the goodness of Jesus’ intervention seeps into all the areas and lives connected to the person being healed.


Lord Jesus, please increase my belief in your willingness to heal. Help me say yes when you ask me hard questions. Help me desire your wholeness more than I desire the world’s acceptance. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.