John Blog 9 – Healing and Hassle

John 4:43-5:47

SNL Sunday 18 November 2012 7pm

 As before this seems to be written by John himself but is written by Derek McKelvey, seeking to reveal what he believes are the reasons and the memories and the purpose that John wrote what he did.

 So Samaritan revival behind us – I can still hardly believe how all that happened from a chance encounter – but then we were slowly beginning to realize that there is no such thing as chance in the workings of God. And so it continued – back to Cana[1] – quite a welcome – the news from Jerusalem travelled fast and everyone seemed to know of the signs[2] he did there. We had hardly arrived when one of the top guys from the civil service came up the hill from Capernaum – it’s quite a climb but he was desperate – no matter who he was or how important, only one thing was on his mind – his Son was ill, critically ill.  We thought ‘Here we go again back down the hill!’ but Jesus simply said ‘Go! Your son lives.’ And he went, believing. I (we actually) was amazed – especially since we heard later that the healing happened at the very moment Jesus spoke.

But if we thought we had done travelling, we were wrong. In no time we were off to Jerusalem again for another Festival. We certainly were fit with all the walking we did. This time he takes off to the Pool of Bethzatha[3] and walks through the crowds of sick gathered there to a wee man over in the back corner. His question surprised us ‘Do you want to get well?’ Why did he think he was there? But when the man spoke we understood – it wasn’t so much a speech as a whine – he had become a living complaint. If the last man’s faith left us gasping, this one’s faith had long since left and gone. But he healed him anyway – and the man went off without even asking Jesus’ name![4]

But big trouble was brewing – it was Sabbath of course and you can’t carry mattresses around on Sabbath – not even if you have just been healed after 38 years paralysed.

If it had not been so dangerous, we would have said ‘Get real!’ to them. But you don’t mess with the authorities in Jerusalem – and Jesus made an enemy of them that day. Especially when he talked of God as his Father.[5]

But what was intriguing us was how he knew to ignore everyone else and go to that one man. But he explained ‘Truly I tell you that the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does the Son does.’

There that’s it – and that’s what we had to learn to do too.

But the point of all this teaching[6] is simple. Jesus is the giver of Life and of judgment. But he does not miss his detractors and hit the wall. They are the scripture experts but they don’t recognize him – and that’s what the scriptures are all about.

So please read carefully what I’ve put here – I weighed every word – they are the ones you need to hear.

[1] The second sign (4:54 see 2:11) may indicate that John had an early source document of signs – or that he originally intended this story to follow the changing of the water into wine.

[2] As before John calls ‘miracles’ ‘signs’, and I prefer to use his term as it does not have all the trappings the word miracle does.

[3] Variously called Bethzatha, Bethesda and Bethsaida – all simply different transliterations of the original Hebrew.

[4] There are important implications about the role of faith in healing here – the main faith is God’s faithfulness not the recipient’s faith.

[5] Here is the second declaration of his status – the first was the ‘I am’ declaration to the Samaritan woman.

[6] You will discover that for the most of the rest of the Gospel, John tells one or two sign stories and then hangs a whole chapter of teaching on them.