What Will You Do with My Grace?

HEARTLIGHT

Note from Jesus

Dear Follower,

In today’s events from My life on earth, you will meet a man who had great difficulties. But like so many who find themselves in very difficult situations, this man makes the situation worse by refusing to take responsibility for anything in his life. As you read, notice that I ask this man if he really wants to get well:

Are you here in this place hoping to be healed?
(John 5:6)

He states the truth about his situation, and yes, it is a sad truth, but also notice that he never really answers My question. Instead, this man blames his circumstances. He never really says, “Oh yes, more than anything, I want to be healed!”

When I heal the man, he gets in trouble with “the overly somber religious enforcement society” of his day for breaking one of their rules. Notice what the man does: he passes the buck and blames it on Me! (I think you will find it very helpful to compare his reaction to “the overly somber religious enforcement society” with the fellow you meet in John 9:1-41, whose actions are quite different after I healed his blindness and he was then questioned by the Pharisees!)

Don’t miss two points!

Point 1:

You should have compassion for all people, but don’t be discouraged when some of those you help still hang on to their victim mindset. You can recognize this by their words and actions:

  • “It’s not my fault!”
  • “Don’t blame me; I can’t help it!”
  • “My problems are all because nobody will help me!”
  • “That person told me to do this, so don’t blame me; I was just doing what I was told!”

As much as you want to help everyone, some folks will never assume responsibility for their circumstances or for getting better. Even in their greatest moments of joy, they refuse to celebrate and praise God — or thank you — for their blessings. Nevertheless, as My disciple, your love should still lead you to help people as I did.

Point 2:

Many folks don’t get what being My follower really means for them. They are caught up in the religious rules of everything. You, however, need to be guided by three calls in your life. They will keep you focused on the heart of My mission! They will also keep you from being part of “the overly somber religious enforcement society” of your day! What are those three calls?

Verses to Live

Ask yourself two questions as you read the scripture today. First, if you had been healed after 38 years of bondage, would you have blamed your healer or praised God no matter what anyone else said? Second, as My follower, would you be one who helped get this guy into the pool when he had no one else to help him?

… Jesus led His followers to Jerusalem where they would celebrate a Jewish feast together.

In Jerusalem they came upon a pool by the sheep gate surrounded by five covered porches. In Hebrew this place is called Bethesda.

Crowds of people lined the area, lying around the porches. All of these people were disabled in some way; some were blind, lame, paralyzed, or plagued by diseases, and they were waiting for the waters to move. From time to time, a heavenly messenger would come to stir the water in the pool. Whoever reached the water first and got in after it was agitated would be healed of his or her disease. In the crowd, Jesus noticed one particular man who had been living with his disability for 38 years. He knew this man had been waiting here a long time.

Jesus (to the disabled man):

Are you here in this place hoping to be healed?

Disabled Man:Kind Sir, I wait, like all of these people, for the waters to stir; but I cannot walk. If I am to be healed in the waters, someone must carry me into the pool. Without a helping hand, someone else beats me to the water’s edge each time it is stirred.Jesus:Stand up, carry your mat, and walk.At the moment Jesus uttered these words, a healing energy coursed through the man and returned life to his limbs — he stood and walked for the first time in 38 years. But this was the Sabbath Day; and any work, including carrying a mat, was prohibited on this day.

Jewish Leaders (to the man who had been healed):Must you be reminded that it is the Sabbath? You are not allowed to carry your mat today!Formerly Disabled Man:The man Who healed me gave me specific instructions to carry my mat and go.Jewish Leaders:Who is the man Who gave you these instructions? How can we identify Him?The man genuinely did not know Who it was that healed him. In the midst of the crowd and the excitement of his renewed health, Jesus had slipped away. Some time later, Jesus found him in the temple and again spoke to him.

Jesus:Take a look at your body; it has been made whole and strong. So avoid a life of sin, or else a calamity greater than any disability may befall you.The man went immediately to tell the Jewish leaders that Jesus was the mysterious healer. So they began pursuing and attacking Jesus because He performed these miracles on the Sabbath.

Jesus (to His attackers):My Father is at work. So I, too, am working.He was justifying the importance of His work on the Sabbath, claiming God as His Father in ways that suggested He was equal to God. These pious religious leaders sought an opportunity to kill Jesus, and these words fueled their hatred.

Jesus:The truth is that the Son does nothing on His own; all these actions are led by the Father. The Son watches the Father closely and then mimics the work of the Father. The Father loves the Son, so He does not hide His actions. Instead, He shows Him everything, and the things not yet revealed by the Father will dumbfound you. The Father can give life to those who are dead; in the same way, the Son can give the gift of life to those He chooses.The Father does not exert His power to judge anyone. Instead, He has given the authority as Judge to the Son. So all of creation will honor and worship the Son as they do the Father. If you do not honor the Son, then you dishonor the Father Who sent Him.(John 5:1-23)

Response in Prayer

Father, I want to answer Your three calls to love You with all I am and love my neighbor as myself, to light the way so others can find Your grace, and to lead people from other cultures as well as my friends, neighbors, and associates to know Jesus. Holy Spirit, I ask that you open my eyes to see practical ways of living out these three calls in My life today, and every day, as I live as a follower of Jesus Christ, my Lord, in Whose name I pray. Amen.

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