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Feb 14 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

February 10, 2019 – Mark 2:1-12; John 5:2-13

You Do Not Have the Love of the Father

Now that day was the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up you bed, and walk.’ ” They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk?’ ” John 5:9-12

Intro: Last week a friend asked why we read passages from two gospels each week

We are tracking comparisons and contrasts between John and Synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark & Luke)
– John wrote long after the Synoptics had been in circulation
• he was at a different stage of spiritual insight than when he walked with Jesus
• so what he provides is like a spiritual commentary on the other gospels
◦ he provides missing pieces in their understanding and fills in some of the blanks
– today’s reading have to do with two men miraculously healed
• they did not suffer from the same condition, but both were incapacitated
◦ and in both situations Jesus was attacked for healing them
• but unlike Mark’s gospel, John used the healing as an opportunity
◦ John provides a deeper insight into Jesus’ heart and mind

We’ll begin by looking at comparisons and contrasts

Both men were disabled and helpless

  • Mark’s story took place in a home in Capernaum
    John’s story took place at a a pool in Jerusalem
    both men were disabled, helpless
    one a “paralytic” and the other an “invalid”
  • in Mark, the paralytic was carried by four men to Jesus
    in John, the invalid had no one to put him into the pool
  • Before healing them, Jesus said something to both men
    in Mark, Jesus told the paralytic, your sins are forgiven
    in John, Jesus asked the invalid, Do you want to be healed? 
  • in both cases Jesus addressed an issue that may have interfered with their health
  • Jesus also said something about “sin” to both men
    in Mark, Jesus told the paralytic that his sins were forgiven
    in John, Jesus told the invalid, Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you
    (there are worse things than being physically crippled)
    (he was healed for a reason, and it wasn’t so he could go on in sin)
  • Jesus healed both men
    in fact, he used the exact same Greek words, Get up, pick up your bed
    ◦ then, to the paralytic, Jesus said go home 
    to the invalid, Jesus said, walk 
  • both miracles stirred up controversy
    in Mark, those present felt he was out of line for forgiving sins
    in John, Jesus not only healed on the Sabbath, but told the invalid to carry his bed on the Sabbath
  • in both stories, Jesus presented a defense to his accusers
    and in his defense, he appealed to the authority of the Son of Man
    in Mark, Jesus demonstrated his authority to forgive sins
    in John, Jesus said that the Father gave him authority to exercise judgment (v. 27)

It is at this point that the stories diverge in different directions
– in Mark, everyone was amazed and glorified God
• then Mark moves on to the next story
– in John, Jesus’ lengthy defense goes on for the remainder of the chapter

What insight does John supply that’s not in the Synoptics?

Two points I think are important
– the first is simple and easy to grasp
• but I want to spend more time with the second point

First, John is explicit in letting us know there’s a message in the miracles
– that is why he refers to Jesus’ miracles as “signs”
• in the Synoptics, miracles rarely serve as a sign (only this one and the resurrection)
• in other miracles, a message may be implied, but never drawn out
◦ in fact, more often Jesus told people not to tell about the miracle they witnessed
– John carefully selected the miracles he reports
• and like this one, he uses them to tell us more about Jesus
• also, as we go along in John’s gospel, the signs build in intensity
◦ the reaction against Jesus also builds in intensity with each sign,
◦ until finally with the raising of Lazarus, Jesus’ enemies decide to kill him
– the ultimate sign in John is Jesus’ own resurrection
• that there’s a message in miracles is the theme of John’s gospel

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (Jn. 2:30-31)

The second important point:
John gives us a closer look into Jesus’ mind and heart

In his defense, Jesus gives much more information about his relationship with the Father
– his first statement is a revelation,

My Father is working until now, and I am working (v. 17)

• this is a beautiful statement, illuminating the Sabbath
◦ God hears and answers prayers on the Sabbath–the sun rises, crops grow, sick people get better
◦ worship and helping others are restful activities
– the religious leaders understood the union Jesus claimed to have with God

This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him . . . (v. 18)

• Jesus responded with a lengthy explanation of where he stood with God
• there are three parts to his defense:
◦ his “Truly, truly” statements (vv. 19-29)
◦ his appeal to witnesses on his behalf (vv. 30-40)
◦ his diagnoses of what was wrong with his accusers (vv. 41-47)

In his “Truly, truly” statements, Jesus expands on his relationship to Father
– he says something remarkable
• in the same way the disciples could do nothing apart from him (Jn. 15:5),
he could do nothing apart from the Father

. . . the Son can do nothing of his own accord (v. 19)
I can do nothing on my own (v. 30)

• this does not weaken his authority
◦ it locates it in his relationship with the Father
◦ he enjoyed a perfect knowledge, cooperation and synchronization
• I’m personally touched by what Jesus says in verse 20

For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing

◦ in Matthew, Jesus said something strikingly similar

All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him (Mt. 11:27)

◦ this is so uncharacteristic of Matthew that scholars have referred to it as a “bolt from the Johannine blue”

Jesus appealed to others who gave testimony on his behalf
– he has something to say about each of them, listing:

  • John the Baptist
  • his (miraculous) works
  • the Father
  • and the Scriptures

• it is at this point that Jesus begins his diagnoses of them
– they had briefly responded to John the Baptist (v. 35)
• but they didn’t respond to his works or his Father, because

His voice you have never heard his form you have never seen (v. 37)

• even the Scriptures weren’t getting through to them
To summarize the rest of his accusations, Jesus says:
– there were two things they did not have:

you do not have his word abiding in you (v. 38)
you do not have the love of God within you (v. 42)

– their other faults were

you refuse to come to me (v. 40)
you do not receive me (v. 43)
you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God (v. 44)

Reading this story, it is painfully obvious that they did not have the love of God within them
– how? By the way the responded to the invalid man

Conclusion: For me, this is the strongest sentence in this chapter

But I know that you do not have the love of God within you

– they were ready to punish the invalid after he was healed
• when he told them,

The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk

◦ they heard only the second part
◦ we would expect them to react with supirse

“What do you mean, ‘healed’ you?! How sick were you? Was it serious? How did he heal you?”

• but all they wanted to know was who to rebuke and punish for this Sabbath violation
-these people, either hyper-sensitive to Sabbath violations or on the look out for violators
• they were like those people who today go around to different churches
◦ just looking for something they consider to be wrong so they can criticize the pastor and the believers who are there

The love of God is not within us when attention to rules takes priority over attention to human persons and their needs
– In the 1979 movie, “The Frisco Kid,” Gene Wilder played Avram, a rabbi making his way to San Francisco in the Old West
• Harrison Ford (Tommy) became his reluctant guide and companion
• after shooting and killing a villain, Avram told Tommy he could no longer be a rabbi

Avram: When those men were shooting at you, I ran to save the Torah.
Tommy: So? I understand that. You’re a man of God. I understand that.
Avram: I wasn’t thinking about God. I didn’t do it because of God. I don’t know one thing about God. I was thinking about a book. I cared more for a book than I did for my best friend. I don’t know if you can understand that. I don’t want to insult you. But do you understand what I mean? I chose a piece of paper instead of you.

– he realized that sort of miscalculation of what mattered most was not love for God

Contemplative prayer is similar to the state of being in love
– we become more aware of beauty in world
more sensitive to color, to design and texture
we feel more joy, more openness to space and others
I want to live in love with God in this way

Can we agree that as Christians it is more important
to follow Jesus than to follow rules?
And that we will not allow anything to get in the way
of our love for each other?
Can we be people in whom other people can see
that the love of the Father is obvious within us?

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