This Sunday we welcomed Br Luke back from his ANZAC Day Cruise upon which he had provided chaplaincy to the Catholics and with Br Simeon still in South Africa and Br Andrew at his Woodturner’s Guild BBQ it was down to Luke to Preside and Preach. Meaning of course that there will not be a Sermon for this week since Luke never writes his down.
The readings from the Revised Common Lectionary were as follows:
Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
5After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
2 Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. 3In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralysed. 5 One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’ 7The 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 making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.’ 8 Jesus said to him, ‘Stand up, take your mat and walk.’ 9At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk.
Now that day was a sabbath.
My forte is in Exegeses rather than homiletics so I will make a few points about just this passage for the week.
- Scholars are fixated on verse 5 as to which feast of the Jews was intended, if another Passover then that would make 4 and give Jesus a 4 year Ministry rather than three, if this is the second Passover, the third is mentioned in,John 6:4. As desperate as most are for this to be so, Meyer, in his Exegeses of the Original languages places the time as Purim occurring on 14,15 Adar – March as does Expositor’s Greek Testament and Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges.
- It is the Feast of Lots, it was kept on the 14th of Adar (March), in commemoration of the deliverance of the Jews from the plots of Haman, and took its name from the lots cast by him (Esther 3:7; Esther 9:24 et seq.). It was one of the most popular feasts (Jos. Ant. xi. 6, § 13), and was characterised by festive rejoicings, presents, and gifts to the poor. At the same time it was not one of the great feasts, and while the writer names the Passover (John 2:13; John 6:4; John 13:1), the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2), and even that of the Dedication (John x 22), this has no further importance in the narrative than to account for the fact of Jesus being again in Jerusalem. (Comp. Introduction: Chronological Harmony of the Gospels, p. 35)
- NO FURTHER IMPORTANCE IN THE NARRATIVE – rightly or not I find coincidence if not importance in this information because it was a lottery for those at the Pool of Beth-zatha with first prize going to the one who reached the water first after the angel had troubled it.
There are many poor invalids lying about the pool, who knows whether they spent their days and their nights there or were brought there each day by relatives. The drawer of the Lot in this story had been ill for 38 years and had no one to put him into the pool. Jesus saw him and knew, because of his divinity and asked if he would be made well.
It’s nice to get a straight answer, isn’t it, a yes would have been nice, rather we hear how he would like to be healed but is always beaten at the start by someone faster who gets into the pool first. We might feel he is ungrateful for having his little whinge, yet he also gives us insight into his terrible days thereof the past 38 years. Why did Jesus pick him? Again was it a lot, how much of the good or evil coming into any life is by lot, by coincidence, by good or bad luck?
It is almost as though Jesus’ very purpose that Sabbath was to go to that Poolside and to heal that person because that is what he did. Stand up, take up your mat and walk and that is what the man did.
We know the arguments to come, but they are not intended for this week’s readings. Today we understand that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the sabbath.
dot points paraphrased from: John 5:1 Commentaries: After these things there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.. 2016. John 5:1 Commentaries: After these things there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.. [ONLINE] Available at: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/john/5-1.htm. [Accessed 03 May 2016].
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