Bystander Part 3- Carry On!

While believing in Jesus gives us hope, Christianity is not based on hope or blind faith. It’s based on evidence. As an eyewitness to many of Jesus’ miracles, the apostle John reminds us that the supernatural feats of Jesus are not just random acts of kindness meant to help and inspire people. They are signs that give evidence for who Jesus is.

Over this 7 week series we are looking at 7 signs that point to the identity of Jesus. In this third part of the series we find ourselves just outside of Jerusalem and Jesus performed a miracle that changed a man’s life for ever. For 38 years this man was unable to walk. But when Jesus said, “Get up,” the man was healed. However, it’s what Jesus said next that made this miracle a clear sign of who Jesus really was.

You can read about this third sign in John’s account of Jesus’ life chapter 5 verses 1 to 18. You can find that here.

Have you ever been put off God, the church or Christians because it seems like religious commands or traditions have got the priority over compassion? Or maybe rules and rituals have triumphed over relationship or tradition has triumphed over engaging with people? In these days where we are being forced to re-evalutate what church is all about it is great to be reminded of what is really important.

Jesus goes to a pool where people thought you could get healed. It would have been a dirty, smelly place, but Jesus goes to the places others wouldn’t go. He sees a man who hasn’t been able to walk for 38 years. He heals him and tells him to pick up his mat and walk.

However it was the Sabbath and the oral law and religious traditions said you couldn’t carry something from one place to another on the Sabbath. So Jesus gets into trouble.

The religious leaders are more interested in the breaking of the religious laws than there are about the miracle or the new life the man has received. They missed the point.

Jesus tells them that he is bigger than the Sabbath because he is the Son of God and equal with God. Jesus is saying to them “your whole lives you have been searching the laws and the scriptures to find life in the words. Now the word of life has come to you and is right here in front of you.”

In the midst of the suffering, turmoil, upheaval and wondering God showed up and he spoke up. And Jesus made it really clear what following him would be about: loving God and loving people, and it is good for us to be reminded of that in these difficult days. We need to remember to ask the question: “what does love require of me?”

To find out more about Next Steps zt Andover Baptist Church check out the NextSteps web page.

Questions to reflect on in your small group or on your own:

  1. What is one law or cultural expectation that you wish was different?
  2. Is there a time you can remember that someone went against the rules or the norm so that you could
    benefit?
  3. Read John 5:1–21, where the apostle John recounts the story of Jesus healing a paralyzed man.
    What are some details about this story that would lead a reader to believe that this actually happened?
    Before healing him, Jesus asks the man, “Do you want to get well?” Why do you think Jesus asked
    him that?
    In verse 9, notice how quickly the author (John) pivots from the miraculous healing to the fact that this
    happened on the Sabbath. What does this say about the main reason John captured this story?
    Verses 16–18 lay the groundwork for why religious leaders were at odds with Jesus. What do their
    comments tell you about their religious priorities?
  4. Read John 5:39–40. Describe how the religious leaders may have felt hearing this.
  5. Give an example of how your past version of Christianity got in the way of loving people God loves. Is
    your current version getting in the way?
  6. Is there a step you can take to make a particular person a bigger priority than a potentially flawed belief
    or tradition? Can this group help?

Listen to the full talk on our podcast below…

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