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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Immediate Effect

I have been working through John 5 phrase by phrase.  There are a number of reasons for this.  Primary among them is the way that most of us approach the Bible.  In many cases we read a passage like this and do not take the time to see what it actually says.  We either read into it what we think should be there or else after a cursory reading, either dive into the notes in our study Bibles or else pick up our favorite commentary on the book we are “studying.”
The Immediate Effect
My mission, what gets me out of bed in the morning is helping people actually observe what is in the text rather than what they think is there or what they think should be there.  Prof said that we would all be better served spending more time observing the text than reading what others have said about it.  I have found that advice absolutely sound.

So Far
We have looked at the first eight verses, 1 – 3 and 5 set the scene, 6 is Christ’s question to the man, 7 is his non-responsive answer, and yesterday we looked at Christ’s commands to the man.  Verse 9 is the effect of Christ’s commands:

5:9a Immediately the man became well,
5:9b and picked up his pallet
5:9c and began to walk.
5:9d Now it was the Sabbath on that day.

Literally, in Greek, the phrase says, “And immediately became well the man.”  The first word is another temporal connective, the word liberally peppers the Gospel of Mark.  As soon as Jesus commanded the man to get up, he was healed.  Think back to John 1.  The allusion to Genesis 1 is stark.  Both start with “In the beginning.”  In Genesis 1 the Lord speaks a word and immediately that word is created.  In John 1 Christ is called the Word, in John 1:3 we find that all that came into being did so through Him.  In Genesis 1 the things created did not participate in their creation.  Here the man did not participate in his healing.  The Word, the Creator, spoke, and he was healed.  This again emphasizes Jesus in the passage, it was His words spoken that was the cause of this effect.

The word order is also significant.  Placing the result before the one who experienced the resulting healing, emphasizes the healing.  It is yet another focus on the Savior.

5:9b and c
Yesterday’s post examined the implications of Christ’s commands in detail, I will not repeat that here but to say that the healing was not just immediate but immediately comprehensive.  With three commands Christ healed the man’s infirmaries and gave him the ability to use the healed limbs as if they were never infirm.

The sentence ends at the end of c.  D is a temporal commentary and yet more than that.  The Greek is explicit, “it was now the Sabbath on that day.”  If it is the case that Psalm 139:1 – 4 is true, and that Jesus is doing what His Father tells Him to do and only that, then this healing was intentionally done on the Sabbath, to create exactly the effect that the event created.  The reaction of the Jews in the next few verses was not an unintended consequence of a gracious deed.  We have already established in John 2:23 – 25 that Jesus knew what was in the hearts of men.

One implication is that Jesus and His Father are sovereign over who and when they heal, regardless of either the response of the individual or the “rules.”  There are other implications that play out over the next few verses.  We will begin that journey tomorrow.

Posts in this series:
Intentional Focus
"Strange" Question
Non-Answer Commands and Response