Some thoughts this morning about the Sabbath, healing and the finished work of Christ.
"After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. 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. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 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?'
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.'
Jesus said to him, 'Rise, take up your bed and walk.' And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath." - John 5:1-9 NKJV
That day was the first Sabbath that man had had in thirty-eight years. It was suddenly the Sabbath as God had truly designed the Sabbath to be for men. A holy day... a day of rest... God was in his day.
In Exodus 16 we see the connection between the manna and the Sabbath. If they kept the manna more than one day it would go bad in a dramatic way (see Ex 16:20) but on the day before the Sabbath there was extra work so that there could be rest the next day.
"On the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers each. And when all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses,
he said to them, 'This is what the LORD has commanded: 'Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD; bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over lay aside to be kept till the morning.''
So they laid it aside till the morning, as Moses commanded them, and it did not stink, and there were no worms in it.
Moses said, 'Eat it today, for today is a Sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, which is a Sabbath, there will be none.' " - Exodus 16:22-26 ESV
It is afterwards that the people go out on the Sabbath anyway that God tells Moses to make going out a restriction. Then even later in is firmed out into a law.
"Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant." - Exodus 31:15-16 KJV
That being said... the leaders of the day call this sick man now made whole out for carrying his bed.
"The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, 'It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.'
He answered them, 'He who made me well said to me, 'Take up your bed and walk.' '
Then they asked him, 'Who is the Man who said to you, 'Take up your bed and walk'?'
But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. 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.'
The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, 'My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.'
Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God." - John 5:10-18 NKJV
The picture I got this morning after reading about the Sabbath, this healing and Jesus' statement was this... Jesus was working like the Father worked in creation... Jesus was living in the sixth day of that work. God made man on the sixth day and rested on the seventh. Jesus was a man collecting extra manna and preparing it because there would be no manna in the field once His day was done.
Carrying that bed was a trophy for that man. It was the end of thirty-eight years of paralyzing sickness it wasn't work. Jesus was living in the sixth day so that the sick man could live in the seventh day.
Jesus got in trouble with the religious leadership of the day but God was pleased with Him.
Most of humanity sits waiting beside a pool somewhere. They are hoping that today by some miracle they will muster up the strength to be the first in the water. Only the one in first was healed after all. (The one who needed it the least got healed in that system). Jesus won the right to slip into the crowd and offer us something else. He isn't offering us the 'first prize'. He gives us the manna that He worked to gather so that we can rest.
I imagine that sick man never slept in that bed again... nor did he quickly throw it out either since the Lord told him to take it with him.
The bed is a picture of our old life. It gets us in trouble but God wants us to carry it around for a little while. We will never sleep on that bed again. We have a different rest now. It is the testimony of what once was. It is tells the world we are different. We are a paradox... a walking contradiction that God loves and is pleased with. We have a freedom that glorifies God and bothers those who are living in the the letter bound system.
We are God's trophies of grace.