Ezekiel 47:1-9,12 ● John 5:1-16
Jesus said, “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.” The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bedroll and walked off.
That day happened to be the Sabbath. The Jews stopped the healed man and said, “It’s the Sabbath. You can’t carry your bedroll around. It’s against the rules. Who gave you the order to take it up and start walking?” But the healed man didn’t know, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd.
A little later Jesus found him in the Temple and said, “You look wonderful! You’re well! Don’t return to a sinning life or something worse might happen.”
The man went back and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. That is why the Jews were out to get Jesus—because he did this kind of thing on the Sabbath.
Sometimes it seems Jesus just can’t win. He cures a guy who then gets him in trouble. Then again, there’s almost the sense in this passage that Jesus was trying to provoke a reaction—he didn’t have to instruct him to pick up the bedroll. He could have let him walk away, leaving behind the wretched thing he’d been lying on for so long. Jesus was like that, though, sometimes flaunting the fact that God’s rules take precedence over human rules. The spirit of the law trumps the letter of the law.
Examen your spiritual life searching for times you accuse others of breaking the letter of the law. Is there a call in there for you to practice more compassion and mercy?
Reprinted with permission. For more information about this booklet and Bible translation, please see TheMessageCatholic.com.