This is Day Eight of Christ Church Manchester’s lent devotionals, where we are breaking down the book of John. Written by Andrew Dowdeswell.

 

John 5: 1 – 29:

 

Obedience or objection? That is, in a rather blunt and challenging way, my question to everyone, especially myself. Are you willing to lay down your own plans and priorities, listen to the almighty word of the Lord and then act on it? Or do you revolt and reject His words in favour of what you see fit, of what you want to do?

It is certainly a challenging question, a leading question that lends itself to criticism and judgement, if handled poorly. But it is nonetheless one that we must answer for ourselves. Why? Well, because it is what God asks of us.

For those of you who made it to the Christ Church Manchester Day where Mike Pilavachi came and spoke to us, you will have heard him touch upon what he believes is God’s love language. Mike stated that God’s love language, how we show our love for God, is through our obedience. Are we attentive to His words? Are we willing to act on what we hear? Are we humble enough to ask for, as Rachael Hattam said earlier in our Lent series, more of Him and less of ourselves?

In this passage, we see Jesus come to a pool that many believe has healing powers. He meets an “invalid” who cannot climb into the pool and is, therefore, unable to be healed. In a command: “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk”, Jesus healed him of all his disabilities.

However, later in the story we see Jesus meet with the man once more. This time, though, with the man bounding around with new legs, Jesus takes a slightly harsher tone:

“See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”

Like this man, we have also received great gifts from God. In James 1, it states that every “good and perfect” gift is a gift from God. In Romans 3, Paul shows us how we have received righteousness from God as a gift through Christ Jesus. In Luke 11, we see Jesus reveal the gift of the Holy Spirit to His disciples.

While we may not have been saved from a crippling disability, that does not mean that we have not received good things from on high. As such, when Jesus tells this man to “sin no more”, we are also told the same. Not in a demanding, critical, judgemental way. But in a ‘this is best for you’; ‘just trust me’ kind of way.

Like it or not, we are called to be obedient to God. That is no easy task but it is important. So, I ask all of us, myself included, once again: obedience or objection?

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Written by:Andy Dowdeswell