They were all eyes and ears. They monitored the doings of the people about them. They cast angry looks toward anyone who might dare to commit an infraction, or what they perceived to be wrong. They are self-appointed critics. The speak out at any opportunity, pointing out the sins of those they encounter, those they choose to hate. They are Accusers.
They are the liberals in America pointing fingers at people for doing what is, to the liberal, wrong, which is just about everything a liberal doesn’t like. They are conservatives pointing equally judgmental fingers at anyone whom they don’t approve. Some are worse than others. All have some basis they think gives them the right, the mandate, to be an accuser.
After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids–blind, lame, and paralyzed [waiting for the moving of the water;] [for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and stirred the water: whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was healed of whatever disease he had.] One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.“
John 5:1-10 (emphasis added)
Now here’s the thing: “It is not lawful. . .” What they are saying is, “It’s not me telling you that you that you are not allowed to do that, it is (insert some reference here)!”
Standing upon some ruling, some law, they point there fingers saying, “I don’t judge, but the law says what you are doing is unlawful.” How many times have I heard some Christian say that he doesn’t judge people but the Word of G-d does? Too many. And yet who am I to say that he wasn’t appointed, like Jonah or Elijah, or whomever else, to point out the wrongs he is shown by Almighty G-d Himself?
How do we respond to accusations of wrong doing? To the credit of the newly healed man in the Gospel of John, he didn’t say “@$#%&$ Off!” Rather, he, according to Matthew Henry, wanted to give credit and glory to the One Who healed him, though didn’t know the man’s Name. He said, “He made me whole.” Eventually, the healed man learned the Name of the One who’d healed him, and told the Jews. Matthew Henry points out that while done with a mind to give glory to Y’shuaJesus, was like “throwing pearls before swine.”
Some points come to mind while reading the Word this morning, and reflecting upon it. One I led with, that too many people are self-appointed judges, regardless whether or not they are liberals or conservatives, or Chistians. Worse, I’m right there along with them. I have a very bad habit of pointing out the driving faults of most every one on the road, especially when my kids are in the truck with me. My excuse is that I want them to notice the wrongs so that they’ll know to do right. And I certainly get there attention when my hand goes to the horn, and it blasts away at some unwary offender. Yet, I’m just acting in the self-appointed role of accuser. Just like too many other people in this angry, volatile, ready-to-explode country, world.
But there is a more important point, easily overlooked when I get off on to a tangent. This newly healed man said, “He that made me whole. . .” told me what to do.
Thank You, Y’shuaJesus, for making us all whole in You. May we be bold and stand firm in You when accused of wrongs. For this newly healed man obeyed the One who made him whole. He stood, picked up his bed, and carried it away. In essence, his reply to those who accused him was, “I do not do it in contempt of the law and the sabbath, but I am obeying a greater law than the one you cite, for the One who healed me is greater than those laws.” (paraphrased from Matthew Henry’s Commentary) This man obeyed G-d.
Y’shua was accused of breaking the law, too. Many times. On several occasions he referred to scripture to support his action. He pointed out David’s eating of the showbread, of the priests’ slaying the sacrifices, and of the people’s watering their cattle on the sabbath day. Eventually, when accused of healing this man on the sabbath, Y’shuaJesus goes higher and alleges the example of His Father and His divine authority.
Another point: Y’shuaJesus was a radical. Why not just come back another day. That man had been there 38 years, so another day wouldn’t hurt. Then Y’shuaJesus wouldn’t have caused this man to “break the law” and carry his mat. Y’shuaJesus wouldn’t have broken the law, either. Well, why did Y’shuaJesus heal the man on the sabbath?
The other day I heard someone on the radio speak of the gentleness and kindness of Jesus. This authority on Jesus said Jesus wasn’t a zealot. I sorta figured he meant that Jesus just walked around Israel doing nice things for people, patting the heads of children, talking to outcasts, eating with sinners. Okay, so sure, Y’shuaJesus did those things. But that just isn’t ALL of the things Y’shuaJesus did. And to imply that it was, is to undermine the Word of G-d. It borders on deception. It also marks a man as not truly knowing Y’shuaJesus.
Maybe the Lord was just plain tired of the self-righteousness of a stubborn people who prized the “Law” over the people for whom the Law was given. Perhaps Y’shuaJesus wanted to stir up some trouble to make a point. I’m sure it got the attention of more than one person when He went into the Temple, in an act of fury, and drove out sellers and money changers. This gentle Jesus was also the One Who called Pharisees white-washed, empty tombs, vipers. Hum. Not so very gentle. Y’shuaJesus was a very dangerous man, one that the religious establishment knew would cause them distress, one that would undermine the all they’d done to get along with the Roman rulers. Y’shuaJesus was a rebel.
Y’shuaJesus didn’t come down from His throne to bring a temporary, carnal peace. He came to die violently for a true Peace that is eternal, offered to all. Well, to all as long as they believe that Y’shuaJesus is Lord and Savior. He said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. . .” Hummmmmmm. That’s “hate” speech, isn’t it? I mean, He excluded a lot of people who follow the universalist religious views. And humanist who believe humanity is god, as well as New Agers. Well, let’s not go there, shall we.
The One Who healed me made me whole. Thank G-d. Blessed is the Name of the Lord Y’shuaJesus.
Lord Bless, Keep, Shine upon you and yours today and tomorrow, as we long for His coming. . .