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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

JESUS CONDEMNED BY THE JEWS

John 5:10-16 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the Sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed Himself away, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath day.

Since the Roman government ruled over their civil authority, the Jews, referred to in the lesson text, were those having spiritual authority over the Hebrew nation. They were probably members of the Sanhedrin that interpreted and enforced the Mosaic Law for all Jewish people. It is doubtful if these Jews witnessed this man's healing, therefore their only concern was the fact that he was violating their interpretation of the Sabbath. The law of the Sabbath is found in Exodus 31:12-17. It specifically states that whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. The seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. With a sanctimonious interpretation of this law, these Jews condemned this man with this accusation: It is the Sabbath day; it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.

In his defense, the man replied, to the Jewish rulers, that he did not intentionally violate the law of the Sabbath because he was told to do so by He that made me whole. He considered Jesus to have been commissioned with the power of God. This indicates that the man, miraculously cured of his impotent condition, accepted Jesus as one having a higher authority than those that interpreted the Mosaic Law, which would include the scribes, a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, or any member of a Jewish sect. This prompted these Jewish rulers to ask him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? So it was here. It seemed these Jewish leaders knew of the miraculous healing of this man's impotent condition, but instead of noting the compassionate healing of the man, they asked who had told him to carry his bed, and thus dishonor the law of the Sabbath with such work. The healed man wist not, that is, he knew not who it was. As verse 13 continues we find the logical reason the man could not identify his Healer. Because of the great multitude at the Pool of Bethesda, Jesus had conveyed Himself away - He became lost in the crowd.

Later Jesus found the man in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. This statement indicates that the man's impotent condition resulted from sins he had committed. Although we are not told what these sins were, Jesus, with His omniscient wisdom, knew of them. Therefore, He admonished the man to refrain from such sins in his future life, warning him that, if he did engage in such sins, he would experience a sickness, disease, or malady that would be much more grievous than he had experienced during his past thirty-eight years of life.

After having met Jesus, and learning that it was He that healed him, the man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. Here the man does not confirm the Jews' inquiry as to who told him to carry his bed on the Sabbath, but he assures them that it was Jesus that restored his ability to walk. With these answers from the man that was healed, the Jews now began searching for Jesus with the determination to persecute Him, and later to slay Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath day. Oh, how often people dwell upon minor sayings and actions of Jesus and His disciples, and overlook the weightier matters, such as the good works of caring compassion demonstrated to those less fortunate. Often these distractions cause men and women to lose sight of the significant acts of obedience required to be reconciled to God through Christ Jesus and obtain the hope of eternal salvation.