Lessons from Bethesda, Part 2

“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.’ The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath” (John 5:14–16).

In response to this miracle, the Jewish authorities castigated the healed man for breaking their trivial rules (v. 10). They were more concerned with legalistic regulations than with the man’s well-being—an attitude for which the Lord sharply rebuked them (Matt. 23:13ff.).

From this point on, the Jews were continually “persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath.” So began their open opposition toward Jesus—persecution that would eventually result in His death.

The die was cast. Jesus confronted Jewish legalism by disregarding their Sabbath rules, challenging them with His true identity as the Son of God. The Jews’ opposition to their own Messiah would harden and intensify until they crucified Him (1 Cor. 2:8).

Ask Yourself
Are there one or two individuals in your usual field of vision who are such sticklers for precision and protocol, they choke the life out of others’ freedom in Christ? How do you deal with this kind of attitude? How might their predilection for order be of value to the Body if exercised properly?

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610