1 After this 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 porches.
3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water.
4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.
5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years.
6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made 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, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”
9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath.
10 The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.”
11 He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’ “
12 Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?”
13 But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place.
14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”
15 The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.
17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”
18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.
20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.
21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.
22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,
23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.
26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself,
27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.
28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice
29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
31 “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true.
32 There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true.
33 You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.
34 Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved.
35 He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.
36 But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.
37 And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.
38 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe.
39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.
40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
41 “I do not receive honor from men.
42 But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you.
43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.
44 How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?
45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust.
46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.
47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
It’s ironic that, while much of the latter subject has to do with His accepted identity, the lame man at the pool didn’t have a clue as to who Jesus was. And yet He was healed without that knowledge or its accompanying expectancy. Though he hadn’t heard testimony from anyone that this could actually be the Messiah, he encountered his own personal testimony of that. Jesus said that this was even more effective than John’s announcement of who He was. Words can bring revelation and transformation, but nothing like the communication of healing power, the works that set Jesus apart from every other Messiah claimer. The religious folks, the ones with all the scriptural validation, were only offended by Jesus’ words and His miracles. All they had studied so faithfully was standing before them in human form and their response was only offense. After all, it wasn’t their miracle.
It is critical to recognize and honor our Messiah by receiving Him and truth revealed of Him even when He might show up in a form that isn’t what we’re used to or impressed by. So much better than a wealth of scriptural insight is this simple acceptance on the inside from a revelation that man can never provide. “Superior” information makes no difference at all if the identity of the Redeemer only produces offense because He isn’t conforming to some religious guidelines. How much better it is to let the guidelines conform to the person that is known for His confirming works and that amazing witness of the Spirit on the inside. When He is speaking and moving, no matter the vessel, how great it is to just receive the amazing effects of His presence, and disallow all disabling offense. There will always be reason to squabble over the where’s, the when’s, the how’s and the details, but how much more fulfilling of His purpose is the honoring of His name in an atmosphere of love driven more by exalting Him than perceived error.
By Your Spirit Lord, our eyes are open, our hearts are fertile soil for the seed you desire, we proclaim the fruit and harvest that speaks of Your Presence, Your ways. We are open to how You wish to manifest Your glory, in us, in those we encounter. May we look past any circumstances and see You, You can do all things, use any container, any vessel that is open to Your infilling. Jesus had so many mic drop moments in today’s reading.