Why Sin Matters!

“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.’” (John 5:14 NLT)

The man to whom Jesus spoke in the above verse had been lying by the pool of Bethesda, hoping to be able to get into the pool and be healed, for thirty-eight years. Let that sink in for a few minutes.

It was believed that the first person who entered the pool when the water began to bubble would be healed. There were crowds of sick people – blind, lame, or paralyzed – all laying as near to the pool as possible, hoping to be first when the opportunity presented itself.

This man was obviously lame and would have had to pull himself with his arms, but for thirty-eight years had not been able to get into the pool first. There’s no indication as to how many times a day the pool bubbled but suffice it to say that he’d tried thousands of times, to no avail.

Then Jesus, knowing how long he’d been there, asked him: “Would you like to get well?” Seems a strange question, wouldn’t you think? But listen to his answer: “I can’t, sir, for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”

As I read his response I’m wondering: “Then why are you there? Why have you stayed there for thirty-eight years? But thankfully, Jesus isn’t me and knew the man’s heart and simply said to him: “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” And the Bible says that instantly the man was healed, rolled up his mat and began walking!

It was the Sabbath when Jesus healed him, so the Jewish leaders objected to the man’s carrying his sleeping mat on the Sabbath, but rather than take the heat, he shifted the blame to Jesus and told them: “The man who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”

That’s the context of the verse at the top of the page, yet rather than be thankful he was healed and keep moving forward in gratitude to Jesus, the man went back to the Jewish leaders and reported to them that it was Jesus who healed him, thus adding fuel to the proverbial fire of the Jewish leader’s harassment of Jesus, and determination to kill Him.

Hills and Mountains “Used by permission, © Ray Majoran, GlimpseOfInfinity.com

Okay, let’s take a panoramic view of what’s happened. Jesus healed a man who had been lame for thirty-eight years, who reported Him to the Jewish leaders, so Jesus tells him to stop sinning, or something worse would happen to him! I’ve got to ask myself: “How much worse could it possibly get for the guy?”

Then I think of my life and the lives of countless others that I’ve met over the years, who have spurned the grace of God and continued in sin after learning who Jesus is and being invited to “Stand up and walk” with Him. It’s like the man at the pool thinking “Who does He think He is? He can’t tell me what I can or cannot do! It’s my life and I’ll live it however I want to! Just because He healed me doesn’t give Him the right to rule my life!” And He’s exactly right.

You see, healing the man’s physical body doesn’t constitute healing of his heart and life. Jesus didn’t tell this man, as He’d told others, “Your sins are forgiven.” It’s quite evident that the man’s heart wasn’t in tune with the heart of God, evidenced by his attitude and actions.

So, when Jesus told him to stop sinning or something worse would happen, Jesus was likely thinking about the eternal consequences of continued sin. Thirty-eight years of being lame is nothing compared to an eternity of separation from the Lord in hell.  

I’d like to look at this more closely in tomorrow’s post.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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