“Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore.”
John 5:1-23 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
After these things there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes. 3 In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, waiting for the moving of the waters; 4 for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted. 5 A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get well?” 7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” 9 Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk.
Now it was the Sabbath on that day. 10 So the Jews were saying to the man who was cured, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet.” 11 But he answered them, “He who made me well was the one who said to me, ‘Pick up your pallet and walk.’” 12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Pick up your pallet and walk’?” 13 But the man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away while there was a crowd in that place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, 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 reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”
18 For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.
19 Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. 22 For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, 23 so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
Today’s text leaves us with several questions, which are not directly answered here. That is why it is important always to view and understand scripture in the context of scripture, to understand what Jesus is saying by what He has said. One such example is verse 14 which says: Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.” Is Jesus suggesting that this man might lose his healing if he returns to a life of sin? Are we then to blame when we don’t continue to walk in a healing we have received? First Jesus says do not sin so that nothing worse happens to you. This man had suffered with his condition for 38 years, what could be worse? Jesus always has a view toward the eternal heavenly kingdom, not just to this natural realm we live in. If the man were to continue to live in sin the consequence of his sin would be worse than any natural consequence, it would be eternal death. Once Christ has been revealed to us, the eternal things of heaven become more important than the things of this world. Healing itself is an alignment in our lives of the things of earth with the heavenly realm. Jesus says we should pray that the kingdom would come and it would be on earth as it is in heaven. In heaven, the man in today’s text was already healed. Healing is complete in Christ. It is complete in the finished work of the cross. When we are in Christ we live and walk in the fullness of the finished work of the cross and the realities of heaven. Colossians 3:1-4 says: Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Our struggle though, like the man in today’s text is to continue to walk with Christ, above the circumstances, the struggles and the temptations of this world.
The man in today’s text was not healed because he had no sin. He was healed because he responded in faith to Jesus. He got up and walked in response to Jesus words. We too receive what God has for us, not because we have earned it through not sinning, but because of faith in Christ. Jesus, when people were healed, often said your faith has made you well. It is also faith, not our lack sin, which brings about our eternal salvation. John 3:16 says: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” It is believing in Christ, having faith in the finished work of the cross, not in our own actions which brings about salvation. It is believing in Christ, having faith in Him, which allows us to have any or all of God’s promises. If we believe, what role then does our not sinning anymore have in our lives? In today’s text Jesus says: “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” God has given all judgment to the Son. Yet in John 3:17-18 Jesus says: “ For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged.” So if we live in faith we are not judged. But Jesus continues saying: “he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” Choosing to continue in sin, when we have seen the revelation of Christ is choosing judgment. It is a fate far worse than anything we could experience in this world.
We are not left though to walk free from sin on our own. In John 16:7-11 Jesus says: “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” The Holy Spirit does not judge or condemn. All judgment has been given to Jesus. The Holy Spirit convicts us concerning sin, righteousness and judgment. He is our guide and teaches us all things. Galatians 5:25 says: If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. If we live by the Spirit we will live free from sin and judgment. The Spirit will convict us concerning sin that we can walk in righteousness. We can walk in the fullness of the realities of the heavenly kingdom here on earth. We will have both eternal life and the abundant life Jesus promised. John 10:10 says: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” The choice is ours, truth or lies, light or darkness, sin or righteousness. Jesus says: “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” Jesus will judge. We can either be judged by the finished work of the cross and have all the promises of the kingdom of heaven or we can be judged for choosing to continue in sin. Jesus says: “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore.”
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit thank You for the finished work of the cross, that I can be judged as righteous by Christ. Thank You for being my guide and my teacher, the one who walks with me. Heavenly Father, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven, both in and through my life because of the finished work of the cross. Amen.