Monday after Misericordias Domini
Scripture: St. John 5:1-17 (NKJV)
5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. 5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”
7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”
8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.
And that day was the Sabbath. 10 The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.”
11 He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.'”
12 Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?”
13 But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place.
14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” 15 The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”
In six days, God created all things, visible and invisible. He created matter itself, and then shaped it. Having made land and sea, the various gasses that make up our atmosphere, etc., He brought forth plants and animals and rational beings—beings of spirit alone and of spirit and flesh…and then He stopped creating new things. But did He “rest” in such a way as to stop working altogether? Did He stop sustaining the universe on that first Sabbath and demand that all things function without Him on His “day off”?
Obviously, He continued to sustain all things by His Word, as St. Paul tells the Colossians. The Father continued to work—and, especially, to work for mankind through every Sabbath, by sending the Holy Spirit to bring sinners to faith in the coming Christ through that same creating and sustaining Word!—and Jesus’ healing simply follows that same pattern, expressing that same thought: Man can only rest because God continues to work.
Since the first one in the pool would be healed, one might get the idea that healing came to whoever ‘won the race’. This man, though, already confesses that he would need someone else to get him to the pool, that he wasn’t sufficient of himself to “achieve healing.” Jesus makes it clear that He is the power behind the healing that was being done, that He was continuing to work so that Man could have rest. That rest includes rest from the Law itself, because as Law Giver and Law Fulfiller, He can certainly tell this healed man to carry his bedding home without worrying about whether either has transgressed a man-made addition to the Sabbath’s requirements.
We pray: Thank You, Lord Jesus, for winning true and everlasting rest by fulfilling the Law for us, and giving it to us through faith in You. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.