October 11, 2016

Stop Sinning

Jesus often gave a postscript after he healed someone — go wash in the pool, pick up your mat, go show yourself to the priest, see that you don’t tell anyone. Jesus healed a man who had been an invalid for 38 years and my human nature is wondering, exactly how much sinning can a man who has been an invalid for 38 years do? Because of his limitations he probably wasn’t involved with prostitutes, nor was he a thief, or a murderer. I suppose that while laying around the pool at Bethesda he could have been trash-talking, telling dirty jokes, or reading pornography. The man did not know who healed him, but Jesus had yet one more postscript to add to the healing, “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” (John 5:14 NIV).

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----That this is Jesus insinuating to the man that sinning will cause something worse to happen to him does not help alleviate the confusion about the connection between sinning and bad things happening. Then what do we make of the Galileans whose blood Pilate mingled with their sacrifices or the eighteen who died when the Siloam tower collapsed? Jesus said they weren’t any worse sinners than anyone else, but then added, “…unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1-5) Is Jesus giving some double message here?
-----I can relate to Jesus’ message to the lame man. If God snapped His fingers and our minds and emotions became perfectly free of sin, we would immediately notice how even the smallest of sins upset the cascade of cause/effect action making this world go around. Occasionally I hear people marvel at the “butterfly effect”, that old adage about the flapping of a butterfly’s wing in China eventually causing a hurricane in South America. Although it is obvious hyperbole, the person who never drinks and drives never suffers the expensive, perpetual night classes and exorbitant fines from the DUI ticket. The man who never thinks a bad thought or feels an ill emotion towards his wife generally doesn’t wind up a divorcee (although some being no worse than others yet wind up like those upon whom the tower at Siloam fell.) I can understand Jesus’ message to the lame man. The more righteously we behave the fewer hazardous causes we present the general course of things for producing ill effects.
-----But simple reasoning objects to any such connection between the sins of those unfortunate Siloans and the tower’s collapse. Maybe the Galileans could have been misbehaving towards the government to give misfortune a handle on their demise. But that “…you will likewise perish…” thing harkens back to the abject calamity of both situations a bit more uncomfortably than we might like to think.
-----When it comes to messages like this, even though there are a few literal strings woven into it, the general fabric remains somewhat figurative. Messages in the figurative sense cover more ground. Unless one repents, the lake of fire will quickly mingle your blood with more than a sacrifice.
-----Nor do figurative messages completely escape all literal meaning. I suppose we might do well to remember the historic period. Jesus may have again mentally turned to a broader audience than the group He was addressing. For indeed, as a nation, the Jews did not repent. They hung Jesus on a cross. Forty years after Jesus began calling Israel to repentance, moreover, noting forty as being God’s period given for trial, the whole of Jerusalem, it’s Temple with it, all collapsed upon tens of thousands of unrepentants. Eusebius says there was not a Christian amongst them; from their repentant nature, they had ears to hear Jesus’ warnings and had fled before the siege began. Maybe even some of these folks listening to Jesus discuss Pilate and the tower were amongst those who fled.

Love you all,
Steve Corey