Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Tue, 08/12/2009 – 13:40
Bible Book: John / Johannes
Chapter: 5
Verse: 30 – 47
Text: John 5:30-47

When one compares chapters 4 and 5 of the gospel of John with each other, there seems to be a huge contrast between them. John 4 is about people who have come to believe in Jesus: the Samaritan woman (4:15, 28-29), the Samaritans (4:42) and the royal official and his household (4:53). In contrast to this John 5 talks about the “Jews” who didn’t want to believe in Jesus.

This contrast made me wonder: Why did it happen? Why couldn’t Jesus’ own people believe in Him? Why this hostility in stead of faith?

When you read chapter 5 with these questions in mind, you notice that, in verses 30-47, Jesus not only speaks of Himself a few times but also speaks out against his adversaries. Let’s look at some examples:

– Although they diligently study the Scriptures (:39), God’s word doesn’t seem to “dwell in” them (:38).
– They are reluctant to come to Jesus (:40).
– They don’t have the love of God in their hearts (:42).
– Instead of focussing on the praise that comes from the only God, they are anxious about praise from one another (:44).

My impression is that these reproaches are related to one another, and that the latter two form the crux of the problem. The problem with these “enemies of Jesus” is that they have formed a group in which each has become dependent upon the rest of the group’s recognition and approval. As a result of this “peer pressure” there was no room in their hearts for God’s love. So their studying of the Scriptures remained fruitless and they start out reluctant to approach Jesus with an open mind.

Consequently they found the healing of the paralysed man, who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years, to be an abomination. All they could say to each other was that it was the Sabbath, and that the law (as they understood it) forbade healing of an invalid and the man to carry his mat.

Their inability to understand this man’s plight and the miracle of his healing was the symptom of their warped relationships with one another and the absence of God’s love in their hearts.

This makes me wonder: Do people’s apathetic and even negative attitudes towards the need of people living with HIV perhaps tell us more about a similarly warped relationship with their peers and the absence of God’s love in their hearts than we are inclined to think?

Author: N du Toit (Ds)
Language: English

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