Fifty days after that table-flipping Passover… this celebration started on the way from Galilee – and grew in to Jerusalem.
Little can compare to the lively thankfulness and satisfaction of a people’s summer wheat harvest celebration! On top of that, being the 10 Commandments holy day, we talked about Moses giving I-AM’s law. The beauty of its simplicity.
Thinking how God’s name given to Moses is, “I-AM,” and how it is fundamentally separate from everything else we talk about. How his name is never to be used to praise the person speaking (Law #3). It was a surreal morning with Jesus, as we were walking through the wheat fields – gleaning a snack for breakfast.
As with most beautiful moments, there eventually comes someone… claiming their own authority, and acting offended when everyone else is not living up to their standard. This morning was no exception.
The God-experts did not like that we were rubbing the grain in our hands… because our method of eating breakfast was apparently “not lawful to do on the Sabbath day.”
Jesus, answered them, “Did you never read what David did? When he had need… and was hungry… he and those who were with him? How he entered into God’s house (when Abiathar was high priest), and took and ate The Show Bread? And then… gave some to those who were with him… which is not lawful to eat except for the priests alone?”
He had set out how our nation’s founding king contradicted this expert’s “holier than thou” expectations, and then lowered the boom by undermining everything religion’s authority is built on; saying, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Therefore; the son of man is lord… even of the Sabbath.”
We found our way into the festival, but ended up walking around the temple’s staging area… by the Bethesda pool.
- Our political and religious leaders lived in Jerusalem’s “upper city.”
- Above that was the temple, with it’s majestic south facing royal front porch and steps.
- In the middle was “the holiest of holy places” – which was God’s personal room.
- Off the north back side of the temple was a little gate where the sheep were brought in for sacrifice. Most of these sacrifices turned into someone’s food, and this exercise actually powered the Jerusalem economy.
- Off to the side of the path on which the sheep were brought into the temple, there was a pool named Bethesda.
- Five porches were around this pool on which those who were sick, blind, lame, or paralyzed were.
The idea was… at certain times, an angel would come down into the pool. You could tell that the angel was there, because the water would get all stirred up. That started the race; The water moved, and whoever was first to step into the pool got healed!!!
Religion’s annoying side comments are typically less common when we to spend time in the stinky part of town; but Jesus wasn’t avoiding – he was working. We met this guy, who had been sick for thirty-eight years! Those of us following Jesus looked at each other, and thought whether any of us were even that old? Jesus (out loud) asked him, “Do you want to be made well?” (That would not be the last time that our ignorance made us feel embarrassed by eternity’s perspective; which is why we are called to simply follow The One.)
The sick man explained that he used to try to move quickly once the water was stirred, but (even when he was a younger man) someone else always got in there before him. Jesus said to him, “Get up. Pick up your mat, and walk.” At that moment; as bewilderment turned into action – the man gathered up his mat, and walked off.
Being a holiday, religious policing was everywhere.
We clearly hadn’t escaped the Pharisees’ accusing watch, because as the man was walking away… one of the blindly self-righteous chastised the healed man for carrying his mat! There is nothing that brings out a crowd like someone being publicly accused of wrong. As was his style, Jesus found his way out of a growing crowd. This religious condescension exposed that these religious leaders simultaneously; had no interest in the individual being accused, and were merely looking for dirt on their rival (protecting their power).
Situations like this expose the beauty of Jesus’ natural way of living this life. The guy had no idea who Jesus was! And; of course Jesus had taken off (a crowd being there, and all). Jesus’ beauty is layered with ripples. Later on (once the ruckus had died down), Jesus found the healed man among the crowd in the temple, and said, “Look, you are made well! Stop knowingly doing wrong from now on (so that nothing worse happens to you).”
The man left, and told the religious leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well. This stirred them up. They targeted Jesus for not following God how their religious authority directed. Knowing the fight or flight mechanism he was being confronted with, Jesus left it with, “My Father is still working, so I am working, too.” This did not have the calming effect you may assume. Our leaders were ready to fight anyone who broke our laws, but calling God his own Father… making himself equal with God… they were even talking about killing him.
Jesus then answered them,
- “I tell you Truth’s truth, the Son can do nothing of himself, but only what he sees the Father doing. So; whatever things He does, that is what the Son does too. The Father has affection for the Son, and shows him everything that he himself does. He will show him greater actions than these (that you may marvel).
- As the Father raises the dead and gives them life, likewise the Son also gives life to whoever he wants.
- The Father judges no one, but he has given all judgment to the Son – that all may honor the Son (even as they honor the Father).
- He who doesn’t honor the Son – doesn’t honor the Father who sent him.
- “I tell you Truth’s truth; the one who hears my word, and believes Him who sent me, has eternal life (and doesn’t come into judgment). Rather, pass out of death into life.
- I tell you Truth’s truth; the hour comes (and is now), when the dead will hear the Son of God’s voice – and those who hear will live.
- Therefore; as the Father has life in himself, even so he also gave to the Son to have life in himself. He also gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a Son of Man.
Don’t marvel at this, for the hour comes in which all who are in the graveyard will hear his voice, and will come out! Those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
I can of myself do nothing.
“As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is right… because I don’t look out for what I want – but rather what my Father who sent me wants. If I testify about myself, my witness is invalid. It is someone else who testifies about me! I know that the testimony which He testifies about me is truth. You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. But the testimony which I receive is not from humans. However, I say these things so that you may be saved. He was the burning and shining lamp… and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.
But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John, because the actions which the Father gave me to accomplish… the very actions that I do… testify about me (that the Father has sent me). The Father himself (who sent me) has testified about me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form. You don’t have his word living in you; because you don’t believe the one whom he sent.
“You search the Bible, because you think that is where you have eternal life; and these are they which testify about me. Still… you will not come to me (that you may have life). I do not receive glory from humans. But, I know you… that you don’t have God’s love in yourselves. I have come in my Father’s name, and you don’t receive me.
If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.
How can you believe… when you receive glory from each other, and you don’t seek the glory that comes from the only God?
“Don’t think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you, even Moses (on whom you have set your hope). Therefore; if you believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me. But if you don’t believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
Jesus Words 10 – Jesus upsets the authorities
Jesus Words 12
This post includes all Jesus’ words from:
Bible Dictionary: a list of Bible words and phrases (typically Jesus’ words) which don’t have clear meaning when used in daily talk, and are simplified / culturally paraphrased in this story – in pursuit of understanding.
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