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27 Feb | My Father is Working Until Now, and I Am Working

27 February • Monday of the First Week in Lent


John 5:1-18

1. After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

2. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”

7. The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.

Now that day was the Sabbath. 10 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.” 11 But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’” 12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?”

13. Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. 16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

18. This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

 

Meditation

Dying and resurrecting are the grand themes of our Christian faith and truths that guide our lives. Day in and day out, we must die to who we are, what we cherish, in order that new possibilities, Christ’s possibilities, may emerge. We see this in the experience of the invalid man. His life goal was to be healed by getting into the pool of Bethesda. Yet, his steadfast focus on his ‘solution’ blinded him to the significance of the man before him. Likewise, for the Pharisees, their world was chaotic and sinful. The solution was to stick steadfast to their laws, even at the expense of an invalid man. The net result was to fail to see that that Jesus could be much more than a mere man!

As we emerge from the pandemic into new disruptions and complexities, many of us will be tempted to stick to the familiar, to what has served us well in the past. While all these are well and good for their seasons, we must always remember that they are but means to an end. Means that change according to their contexts. Means for a true goal that never changes: to love God and our neighbours.

As we forge forward in our Christian lives and worship, let us be open to how Jesus will lead us by His Holy Spirit. Let us not be surprised or frustrated that He may disrupt our lives or cherished practices. Instead, let us be open to the new possibilities Christ will bring into our lives. To the new ways He may help us to love Him more. Such openness and spiritual freedom, however, requires us to embrace always that grand theme of our lives: to die daily to Christ, so that we may resurrect with Him.

 

Prayer

O Lord Jesus, You know how often we are tempted to hold on to our familiar strategies, our cherished plans, practices and forget to look out for Your Spirit’s guidance in our lives. Grant us a discerning heart, that we may keep pace with Your Spirit and the courage to follow You. Amen.

 

Action

When uncertainties emerge, or when we find our plans disrupted, remember that God is still in control. He is leading us through these very inconvenient moments.

Dr Lai Pak Wah

Principal

Biblical Graduate School of Theology

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