Today’s Scripture: John 5:1-15
5 Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. 2 Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. 3 Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. 5 One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”
7 “I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”
8 Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”
9 Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath, 10 so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!”
11 But he replied, “The man who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”
12 “Who said such a thing as that?” they demanded.
13 The man didn’t know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. 14 But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.” 15 Then the man went and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him.
There’s always that one guy. You know the one. The one guy who, despite something good happening – has to point out the negative. I have to admit I have had some people in my life like that. And yes, I have been that guy as well (probably too often!).
The Jewish leaders were upset first that the man “worked” on the Sabbath by carrying his mat. And then they were upset that someone TOLD him to “work” on the Sabbath. You get the impression that they are looking for Jesus not to find out who did this miracle, but in order to accuse him of breaking the law! Talk about missing the big picture.
And yet I think we do this often. We focus on the rule instead of the reason. We miss the miracle because we are focused on the minutiae. We condemn the violation instead of celebrating the victory.
Jesus told us he did not come to break the law but the fulfill the law. In order words, Jesus’ actions show us the full meaning of the law. They show us what is really important – what we should actually be focused on – namely, the well-being of those around us. And yet too often we find ourselves getting mad that some rule was broken and missing the miracle that has happened.
Look for the miracles today. And let the rule-keeping go.
God forgive us for missing the miracles you give to us because we are focused on the rules. Give us a larger view – a more generous faith – a more open heart. Allow us to live with the same grace towards others as you have for us.