And I Am Working: The Necessity of Faith in the Divine Christ

Brian Mahon - 2/27/2022


Call to worship: Isaiah 35

Text: John 5:1-18


Upon His return to Jerusalem, Jesus sees a man in need of Almighty mercy. He's been an invalid for 38 years. His hope has lain in the pool nearby, but he's not able to enter it, and he has no one to help him. After inquiring whether he wants to be healed, Jesus heals him with a Word. As this was done on the Sabbath, the guardians of the Law take issue with the man's 'labor', who then seeks to excuse himself by placing the blame on his Healer. Later, Jesus comes to the man and charges him, by mercy received, to sin no more, lest something worse (than 38-years of paralysis) befall him. The man then reports to his accusers that his Healer was Jesus. On account of this, the Jewish leaders' persecution intensifies; and all the more as Jesus gives the reason for His activity on the day of rest: He's equal with God. He does only what God does, and cannot do otherwise! The text confronts us with the depth of Man's real problem, the lengths of God's mercy, the main purpose of Christ's mission, and the necessity of believing upon Him as the divine Christ.

Sermon Outline:

  1. See God doing work. (5:1-9a)
    • Jesus hunting. (5:1-6)
    • Jesus healing. (5:7-9a)
  2. See God deepening His work. (5:9b-15)
    • The blindness of these guides. (5:9b-10, 12)
    • The blame-shifting of this man. (5:11)
    • The burden and beauty of Jesus. (5:13-15)
  3. See God defending His working. (5:16-18)
    • Their accusation. (5:16)
    • Jesus' answer. (5:17)
    • What it all means. (5:18)


Discussion Questions:

  1. Read John 5:1-18. As a companion passage, read Isaiah 35.
  2. In 5:1-6, where does God incarnate set His eyes? What do you make of His question in 5:6? Why might the man not want to be healed? What might Jesus be after in it?
  3. In 5:7-9a, how does the man respond? How would you describe his situation? Any thoughts on the 'powers' of this pool? What do we learn about Jesus by His follow-up and the immediacy of the man's return to health?
  4. In 5:9b-15, what problem is presented? Has the man broken the Sabbath? How does the man handle the inquisition of the religious leaders? What does it say about him that he doesn't even know Jesus' name? In a very unique situation, has the healed man even expressed any faith at all? Why might Jesus withdraw from a crowd? Why does Jesus return to the man? Reflect on the multi-faceted relationship between sin and sickness. Could he have been ill because of some sin? What do you think could be 'worse' than 38 years of paralysis? What does Jesus charge? How is that a better identifier of Who Jesus is than a mere healing (see the man discovers His name at this point)? If, in this instance, the man's disability resulted from his own sin, and it was at least 38 years prior, and Jesus was not yet that old, what does Jesus' knowledge of the man's sin say about Jesus?
  5. In 5:16-18, after the man 'outs' Jesus as 'the man', we're let in on the intensifying persecution Jesus was already experiencing at the hands of 'the Jews'. What reason is given for it? How does Jesus respond to it? What are some of the implications of His response? What is the main one? Why is it critical to our faith that Jesus is the divine Christ? What does the present passage yield to that question? If Jesus is not part of the Godhead, can anyone enter the Rest of God? Yes or no? Why or why not?
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