One of the many joys of life on the road is the daily battle of trying to figure out how to get my run in. How will I get a 5k today? Where can I go? What will the roads be like?
I woke up this morning in Morgantown, WV en route to Harrisongburg, VA for the first of two treks to Harrisonburg that I will make this weekend. Life is such an adventure!
My morning run started with a little loop around the shopping center adjacent to my hotel. That loop was less than a mile and I just really did not feel like running it two more times, so I started my second mile by heading in a different direction… which was pretty much straight downhill. I dropped around 200 feet in the second mile. The whole time I was running downhill I was thinking about mile three. There is only one way back to the hotel… straight back up.
Sure enough, my watch clicked and I had to turn around. Up, up, up I went. Mile three was significantly more difficult than mile two. Overall, I ran exactly 3.1 miles at an overall pace of 8:10 per mile. I finished in 25 minutes and 22 seconds.
Today’s reading has an interesting story in it. I may be looking too deeply into the circumstances surrounding the story, because what I want to share is not expressly presented in the text, but I do think it is worth considering nevertheless.
In John 5 Jesus heals a man by the Sheep Gate pool. This man was an invalid for 38 years! Who knows how many times Jesus walked by this man on His way to or from Jerusalem to celebrate the festivals. For whatever reason, on this day, Jesus decided to engage the man in conversation by asking a simple question.
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?” – John 5:5-6, ESV
What an interesting question. “Do you want to be healed?” We could camp out on that question for a while! How many of us have become content in our sin or mess and don’t even want to be healed?! Alas! This is not the point I wish to make today, so I will move on.
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.” – John 5:7, ESV
The man had only one solution in mind, and it was not the right one. All of his hope was in reaching the water in time to be healed. Little did he know that he was speaking to the Living Water, the Creator of water, the One Whom alone could save… again, this is not the point that I wish to make, so I will move along.
Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” – John 5:8, ESV
Um… Jesus, this man is unable to walk. Why are you telling him to walk? Oh yeah, it’s because You Are Jesus.
And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. – John 5:9, ESV
To his credit, this man attempted exactly what Jesus had told him to do -no matter how ridiculous it sounded. At once he was miraculously healed and took up his bed and walked. This happened on a 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.” But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.'” They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. – John 5:10-13, ESV
Oh no! This whole bed carrying bit really upset the Jews! Never mind the fact that this poor man who had been an invalid for 38 years was miraculously healed and is now able to walk! The only thing that matters is that he is breaking their understanding of the Sabbath!
The man who wanted to be healed only saw one possible way for the healing to happen -and it was the wrong way. The Jews only saw one possible way to keep the Sabbath -and it was the wrong way! Jesus is going around trying to help people see the right way -God’s way!
Still, we have not quite reached the part that I wanted to settle on. Almost there.
Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” – John 5:14, ESV
Somehow, the man apparently did not know who Jesus was. So Jesus found him. “See, you are well!” He says. So far, so good.
It is at the next moment that things take a drastic turn.
Everyone loves Jesus the Healer! How could you not?! “If you have a problem, yo! I’ll solve it!” Jesus is the man when He is going around healing people. But this other aspect of Jesus is a little hard to swallow.
“Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” Party foul! What happened to cool Jesus?! Can’t He just be a Healer? That is a lot easier to stomach than Ruler.
So how does the recently completely healed man handle being called out on his sin problem?
The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. – John 5:15, ESV
He went away and ratted Jesus out to the Jews.
Is it too much of a leap to think that perhaps the man who was healed developed a new disability? Perhaps one called bitterness. Perhaps he turned Jesus in specifically to get even with Him for calling out his sin problem.
Personally, I think this is exactly what happened. Either way, it should cause us to pause and take inventory of our own lives.
We all have areas that only Jesus can heal -and He is more than willing to do it! We should run to Him and find our healing!
Of course, we also all have a problem with sin that only Jesus can take away. Are we as eager to run to Him to allow Him to speak into that, as well? Or are we, like the healed man in the story, only really interested in cool Jesus, and not so much Jesus, the LORD?
*5k Every Day in the Month of May 2018 is brought to you by Jeff Polen Music and Vertical Runner of Wooster. If you are joining the fun, don’t forget about the Facebook group, the Strava group, and the printable PDF.