Day 8

Healing on the Sabbath

from the John reading plan

John 5:1-30, Exodus 20:8-11, Luke 6:1-11

BY Kim Cash Tate

I’ll never forget the day I sat down to study my Bible and discovered my toddler had beaten me to the pages. Scribble marks adorned two chapters in Luke—big loopy scribbles in permanent blue ink. “Oh, no!” reverberated within. This was my favorite Bible, the one I spent time with daily over a hot cup of coffee. I was learning to do inductive study with this Bible and marking keywords with care. I’d cringe if I had to erase a bit of colored pencil, knowing it wouldn’t be clean. But this was more than a smudged word. Two entire pages had been ruined.

I sat my little girl on my lap to explain gently that she couldn’t color in mommy’s Bible. She’d meant no harm, of course, but this was a teachable moment. She couldn’t go around taking pen to paper in books around the house.

But in that moment, the Lord graciously spoke to my heart. My daughter hadn’t taken a pen to any other books, only this book. She was modeling what she’d seen.   

“Sweetie, were you ‘studying’ like Mommy?”

She smiled, nodding her head big.

It became my teachable moment. Instead of focusing on “the rules” or my angst over the pages, I could see the bigger picture. God had been moving in my little girl’s heart, drawing her to His Word. She wanted to interact with it in the only way she knew how. Lifting my focus helped me to see God at work, which changed everything.

It’s often easy to miss God’s hand at work, just as many did when Jesus walked the earth. I’m astounded when I read of the man Jesus healed by the pool of Bethesda because of the scene afterward. People had seen this man lying around for thirty-eight years, and suddenly he was walking. Yet, no one asked, “Wow! What happened? How were you cured?” No one praised God that he’d been delivered from decades of infirmity. Instead, the healed man is chastised for carrying his pallet on the Sabbath. And the Jewish leaders want to know, not who cured him, but who had the audacity to tell him to pick up his pallet and walk with it (John 5:12).  

Jesus, the Son of God, was there among them. A miracle had been done in their midst. Yet, focusing on the rules of the Sabbath, they missed the Lord of the Sabbath.  

How often do we do the same? How often are we so focused on one side of a circumstance that we miss God’s purposes altogether?

Jesus is the author of life. And He brings not only life but also light, grace, and glory into that which seems dead, dark, and overwhelming (Acts 3:15, 2Corinthians 4:6). We’re told to walk by faith and not by sight (2Corinthians 5:7) because when our eyes are faith-filled, we see the divine. We see God. 

Jesus is always working in every facet of our lives and the lives of those around us. Let’s pray to keep our eyes fixed on Him so that we can behold every moment.

Post Comments (122)

122 thoughts on "Healing on the Sabbath"

  1. Melissa Mcronney says:


  2. Malisa Cruz says:

    Lord, help me not miss you in the big and in the small!

  3. Diane Grant says:

    I never focused on the fact that the only focus after this man’s healing was only met with the just the law.

  4. Rachel Lawson says:

    This passage really spoke to me for the same reason… I am a rule follower and it can be so easy to get caught up in the do’s and don’ts that you miss some good stuff.

  5. Nichole Sullivan says:

    This is enlightening! Thank you for sharing.

  6. Nichole Sullivan says:

    Sarah, I have felt the same way reading this passage. I wonder if Jesus is telling him to sin no more, so he could live thriving vs experience the death that sin brings (not necessarily a physical death) or implying that his original infirmity was the result of sin. Also, Jesus knows this man’s whole story. We only know he’d been an invalid for 38 years. What caused it is not something we are privileged to know. Hopefully, the Lord will shine light on this for you (and all of us) to help us see this beyond the simplified English translation of the original text.

  7. Marilyn Jones says:

    I was upset this morning when my husband asked me to take myself into work today. If he hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have read this chapter today. God works in unusual ways.

  8. Portia says:

    I love the intimate words that John uses to describe Jesus’ interaction with this man (Jesus saw him in v.6 & Jesus found him in v.14).

    I love how the writer mentioned how they’d seen this man as an invalid for 38 years, yet no one asked him what happened?! Who cured you?! Aside from that, these same people weren’t giving him any of this attention when 7). This coupled with him telling Jesus that he has no one in v.7 makes Jesus seeing & finding him that much more amazing! Jesus is also the only one that encourages him in his healing in v.14 by telling him ‘See, you are well!’

    Lastly, why does Jesus ask him if he wants to be healed in v. 6? Is he talking about spiritual healing? Does he know his heart, that after waiting for 38 years, he may have been physically at the pool, but has given up hope? Like he’s at the right place, at the right time, yet with no expectation & a despondent heart?! OR does Jesus know that after being this way for so long, this man believed the lie that this was all God has for him, that this is just who he was, what his life was meant to be like, etc.?

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