Sunday, December 11, 2011

John 5:10-18

10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.
11 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.
12 Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?
13 And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.
14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.
16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.
17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.
18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

Key Observation:
John brings the theme back of Jesus being equal to God.

I laud the miracle, this third work of Jesus, but is it not amazing that Jesus picks one out of the multitude? There is no firm number given to us: the NIV refers to it as a “great number of people”, the KJV refers to it as a “great multitude”. The Greek word is: “plathos”, a word meaning a multitude or a great number. Why one? With one word my Lord could have healed everyone, of that I am certain. I know for a certainty that He loves the world. Why then, did He not? When I look for an explanation, I see none given, and it makes me reflect on the election of God and the sovereignty of His purposes. In John 3, Jesus compared the movement of the Spirit to the wind, which we do not know before it arises, and we know not where it goes.

In the end, I think it relates to the sort of world we see ourselves in. It is an evil world, beyond the ability of this soul to understand. Oh, make no mistake, I have read many books explaining the problem of the goodness of God, and the evil in the world. But with every book I have read, the basic questions are beyond my ken. As J. Vernon McGee quipped: I read a book on the problem of evil and after reading it, I still had the problem of evil. God, who tells us He is sovereign in everything has allowed men to multiply their wickedness beyond measure. He who foreknew us, knew also how close we would come to destroying each other, and neglect the care for His world. More than that, if I reflect on creation, I am forced to conclude that God created Lucifer, knowing full well that Lucifer would become Satan, an evil creature utterly beyond my comprehension.

Over and over, I have been taught that “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all”, and any serious contemplation of our world sees evil “waxing worse and worse”. Yesterday some crazy fellow was shot dead by police officers because he stood in the middle of the road randomly shooting at traffic going by. A lifetime of seeing hideous things going on around my life; a peace that passes understanding because of the presence of the Lord in MY life. These two items do cause inevitable contradictions in my life.

So, what do I know of theodicy- the study of justice and the plain evidence of evil? I do know a basic outline, beyond which is speculation. First of all, I know that God is sovereign and that “His ways are past our finding out”. One of the things that age has taught me, starkly contrasted with my youthful sure knowledge, is that I have no explanation to give to the families I know stuck in a tragedy, or a crisis. I have learned to listen, and to pray for such people, and I have also learned that trying to explain why is hurtful to them, and irrational on my part, for I simply do not know.

I do know that everything will turn out alright in the end—God has promised, and will not be found wanting in anything. I do know that redemption is at hand—for this reason Christ has come, that He might offer Himself to the world as a “propitiation for the sins of the whole world”.

But there are some general outlines of themes that I can glean from the Bible.

Number one: God has invested His worth in mankind, both in making us in His image, and in sending His Son that the world might be offered redemption.

Number two: In comparing our frail and sinful selves to God, it is difficult to know why He should choose to do so. I explain it only by saying it is “grace” or unmerited favor.

Number three: There appears to be a whole heavenly host of angels and creatures in heaven of which I know little about, but I feel that in the whole scheme of heaven we are the least of creatures. But it pleased God to lift men up in the eyes of his heavenly host, to the point that even the angels are said to be in wonder at men.

Number four:
There was a rebellion in heaven that resulted in a third of heaven splitting itself from God, and seeking its own way under a leader named originally Lucifer, but now named Satan. That rebellion led to man’s downfall, and the original sin, and that sin nature was passed on to all descendants of men, as Satan tempted man to disobedience.

Number five: The world we are now in is passing away and the evil therein, though long seeming to man, is but a short time in the eternal scheme, but the opportunity for grace is yet extended to the world. Christians preach His grace to sinners, in hopes that some will hear and believe. Of that other world Tozer says: “But we must avoid the common fault of pushing the "other world" into the future. It is not future, but present. It parallels our familiar physical world, and the doors between the two worlds are open.”\

Number six: What we see in this world is thus passing away, as evidently we are not only to be witnesses of the third of heaven in rebellion being disciplined, but also we will be made judges for God, and will be partakers of the eternal and good plan of God.

That the God who created everything and everyone should be mindful of me is overwhelming. That He should come Himself to experience sin, to take my punishment on the cross never ceases be a source of amazement to me. John brings that fact home to me: He, being equal with God, deigned to robe Himself in flesh, and for my sake, endured the weight of the sins of the world upon Himself. The weight of sin broke Him completely, but because He is God, He has forever conquered sin, arising from the dead, and now I am not any longer vanquished from His kingdom, but have been made a partaker of His kingdom both now and forevermore.
Tozer, A.W.; Tozer, Aidan; Tozer, Aidan Wilson; Foundation Press, Christian Miracle (2011-01-31). The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer (Special Kindle Enabled Edition with Interactive Table of Contents and Built in Text to Speech Features) (Illustrated) ... | The Writings of Aiden Wilson Tozer of) (Kindle Locations 625-626). Christian Miracle Foundation Press. Kindle Edition.
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

1. Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth and mercy mild;
God and sinners reconciled."
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph in skies;
With angelic host proclaim,
"Christ is born in Bethlehem!"
Hark the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King."

2. Christ by highest heav'n adored,
Christ the everlasting Lord:
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail the incarnate Deity!
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus our Immanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King."

3. Hail the heav'n born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris'n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King."

Lyrics: Charles Wesley

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