Follow Jesus, not a bunch of rules
From John: A 21-Day Devotional
Religious leaders get angry when Jesus heals a lame man on the day of rest. They get even angrier when Jesus claims to be God’s Son.
For most of John 5, Jesus speaks to the Jews who criticize Him for healing the man at the pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath. The Jews had rules upon rules about what good Jewish people could and could not do. One of those rules prohibited any kind of work on the Sabbath. Healing was work and, according to their rules, should be saved for the other six days of the week. Allow the absurdity of that to sink in. The religious Jews were essentially saying, “How dare you perform a miraculous healing in defiance of the Jewish law! How dare you change this man’s life on the Sabbath! How dare you end his 38 years of suffering! That can surely wait until tomorrow.”
Jesus continues to call them out in John 5:39–40, where He points out their diligent study of the Scriptures but their blatant disregard for believing them. The whole Bible is about Jesus. Even the Old Testament tells us about God’s plan to send His Son to save us. The Jews knew those Scriptures well, but failed to recognize Jesus as their fulfillment.
“Very truly I tell you whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24).
If we aren’t careful, we, too, can turn our relationship with Jesus into a bunch of rules we follow, a bunch of words we read, and a bunch of songs we sing. By doing so, we can completely miss Jesus and the miracles He is doing all around us.
• What can you learn about Jesus from this chapter?
• How has Jesus performed healing in your life?
• Why is it our tendency to make our relationship with Jesus a checklist of good behaviors? What changes can you make today to break that cycle?