The focus of John 5 now turns away from Jesus for a moment. The Jews see the healed man walking and carrying his pallet. In their view this was work, work which breaks the Sabbath. Not supposed to be doing that.
5:10a So the Jews were saying to the man who was cured,
5:10b “It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet.”
It might be logical to suggest that someone who had been by that pool for 38 years, might be recognized. There is no indication he was. If I were going to break the Sabbath I probably would do it away from the temple. To see one so flagrantly breaking the law should, it seems, raise questions. But there is no hint of curiosity on the part of the Jews, they did not recognize that a healing had taken place. They just saw a man carrying a pallet, work, therefore the automatic reaction was to address the violation.
It is relatively certain that the man knew that carrying the pallet was a violation of the Law. But the Jews told him. You are not permitted to do what you are doing. This action was counter to the Jews world view. It was not aligned with the way things should be done. That was all that mattered to them. The reason, the man was carrying his pallet was irrelevant from their point of view. He had to be corrected. The rules had to be maintained.
On the other hand the healed man had experienced a world view altering event. His compass had been reoriented by the healing encounter with Jesus:
5:11a But he answered them,
5:11b “He who made me well was the one who said to me,
5:11c ‘Pick up your pallet and walk.’ ”
John prefaces the man’s response to the Jews with the contrast, “but”. The newly comprehensively healed man, thus he was operating under a different set of rules that emerged out of a life altering experience. The contrast was their need to keep rules and his experience with Christ.
5:11b and c
The Jews authority was their understanding of the Law. The man’s was the one who had instantaneously healed him. He did not challenge their interpretation of the Law or their desire to enforce it. He simply told them that he was told to break the Law by the one who had healed him. It is reasonable to surmise that he felt obedience to the healer was called for over obedience to the Law.
There are several implications here. What do you see? I will share what I see as the implications tomorrow.
Posts in this series:
Commands and Response
The Immediate Effect