What we can learn from Jesus’ ominous warning to a man he has just healed – John 4:43-5:15, Part 5

Jesus heals a man, and then he says something ominous to the man. John 4, verse 14:

“Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”

Woah. What got into Jesus? Why so dark after healing the man?

I wonder if Jesus was referring to the man letting fear rule him, which we talked about in the previous post.  Or maybe Jesus is just speaking generally about the condition of the soul, which is instructive for all of us.  While we want physical healing, Jesus is saying that there is a spiritual healing, a pursuit of holiness, that is far more important. 

It is not wrong to desire sickness removed from our bodies, but we should have an equal or more passionate desire to be holy, to remove sin from our lives.  To connect our hearts to him.  Jesus came for the purpose of reconciliation.  Is that a regular thought in our heart and mind?  How can we step closer in reconciliation with God and others?

When Jesus tells the man to stop sinning, as I said above, Jesus is referring to the pursuit of holiness.  What “pursue holiness” means is not to be holier-than-thou; it is not to be self-righteous.  Pursuing holiness is a desire and the resulting action to live like Jesus lived.  To care about what he cared about.  To strive to do what he did. 

Otherwise, Jesus says, something worse may happen.  Sickness is bad, and it can lead to death.  But the something worse that Jesus refers to is likely separation from God.  Jesus could be referring to separation from God in eternity, or he could be referring to separation from God in the here and now.  Separation from God is life lived without relationship with him, without connection to him, without his Spirit in our lives.  Any separation from God is truly something worse.

So let’s be passionate about pursuing Jesus and his way of living.  Let’s believe in him so that we give our lives to follow him in 2023 and beyond. 

Again, though, I am shocked when I read how this story concludes in verse 15:

“The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.”

This guy seems dominated by fear.  Twice he tells the religious leaders, “It isn’t my fault that I’m carrying my mat on the Sabbath…it was the guy who healed me. He told me to do it.”  Worse, this second time he gives Jesus’ ID to the religious leaders.  I bet the guy was really afraid that he was going to get in trouble with the religious leaders when they confronted him for carrying his mat on the Sabbath.  That would be awful, especially after he just got healed and was probably overjoyed.  But he was self-focused. 

It is amazing how cold we can be when we are self-focused.  We can receive an astounding undeserved blessing, like loads of Christmas gifts, and still we can fixate on ourselves, on self-preservation.  Jesus had even warned the guy about sin.  Didn’t seem to make a dent, though.  It seems all the guy could think about when he was talking with Jesus was, “Whew, now that I know who this guy is, I can get the Pharisees off my back!”

Here at the end of 2022, maybe you feel a bit like the man who was waiting for 38 years for a miracle.  And it still hasn’t happened, at least as you expected it to. 

In the middle of the waiting, I urge you to start 2023 by counting your blessings.  I urge you to start 2023 by examining your motives and desires.  Are you self-focused, even in some small way?  What can you do to be more God-focused in 2023?

Let’s ask God to help us see him more in 2023.  He is here.  Emmanuel, “God with us.”  And we are called to be his hands and feet to others.  We now have the wonderful privilege to be the presence of the Jesus in the lives of those around us.

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Published by joelkime

I love my wife, Michelle, and our four kids and two daughters-in-law. I serve at Faith Church and love our church family. I teach a course online from time to time, and in my free time I love to read and exercise, especially running,

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