Today’s devotion is based on Sunday’s message: Signs – Beyond Superstition (CLICK HERE TO LISTEN)
The bigger picture
At its core, the healing Jesus did at the pool of the one who was an invalid for 38 years was an amazing restoration of health. However, the miracles that Jesus did had more purpose than just the external change of one’s condition.
Remember that the Apostle John is recording these seven key miracles in his Gospel to do one thing:
John 20:30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
So, what spiritual impact did this miracle have? It wasn’t at the pool, but later at the temple:
John 5:14 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.” 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
At first glance it appears that the physical suffering the man had was due to some sin he committed, although this was a popular opinion about ailments in Jesus’ day. Sometimes our sins do cause physical harm (addictions; doing illegal activity, etc.) However, in this case we just don’t know.
To be sure, being an invalid for 38 years is something we would consider “bad.” However it was temporal and Jesus showed power over the temporal issue by performing the miracle. But Jesus didn’t want the physical healing to be the end of the story. Jesus wanted to move the man’s mind away from the physical issue to that which is eternal. Living in sin, apart from knowing and believing Jesus as your Savior, has a much worse consequence than any physical ailment, no matter how long it lasted.
We don’t know why Jesus chose this man to heal. We don’t know why he didn’t reveal himself at the pool. But we do know Jesus’ desire for this man was primarily spiritual. As John wrote, it was true for this man: Jesus wanted the man to know that he was the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing he would have life in his name.
The Jews wanted to persecute Jesus more. Yet Jesus took the opportunity to proclaim this truth:
John 5:24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. 25 I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.
True to his mission, Jesus is ALWAYS interested in the eternal wellbeing of people. The miracles were just a tool used to convince or gain an audience to proclaim what was really important: Believe in Jesus as your Savior.
The same is true today.
We all go through physical challenges and trials. Should we be delivered or healed is not the important outcome. What God desires is that every event in life leads us closer to him. His desire is that nothing worse happens and we spend eternity with Jesus forever.
APPLY: What physical situation is happening in your life today? How might God be using it to draw you closer to him or to trust him more?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the physical challenges in life. Use them as you did for the invalid you healed to bring your truth closer to my heart. AMEN.