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The Scriptorium

Set Aside

Those whom God heals are not bound by men's ways.

The Gospel of John: John 5.1-15

Read and meditate on John 5.9b, 10.

We note that this man, having been healed, was given certain instructions, which he followed. He could not explain what had happened to him, or Who had healed him, but he understood what it meant, and knew what he must do – even if that meant setting aside certain well known traditions of men.

He took his bed and walked. (Now I must tell
you, this was on the Sabbath.) 10Then the Jews
said to him, “It’s the Sabbath Day, and you
may not do any work on it, as you
are doing, carrying your bed.”

- John 5.9b, 10

1.  Jesus told this man to do three things. What were they, and why were they important to the story of his healing? Complete this prayer: Lord, You expect all who have received the grace of Your Word to obey the commandments of Your Word. Today, this means for me that…

2.  Naturally, the tradition police were afoot in Jerusalem, making sure everyone toed the line. This man must have stood out like a sore thumb, carrying his bedding as he made his way through the crowds. Notice the difference between how Jesus approached this man and how they did. What kind of attitudes are represented in those differences? Lord, am I ever guilty of the attitude of these religious leaders? Fill me with the heart of Jesus, so that…

3.  Do you suppose this lame man didn’t understand the rules? Why did he not say to Jesus, “O, sorry, Sir, but it’s the Sabbath, as You know, and, well – maybe I’ll just lie here a while”? Do you think he might have considered Jesus’ commandments at all risky? Explain. You have healed me, Lord. Let me not be constrained by any merely human rules from…

4.  There is no explicit rule, precept, or statute in all the Law of God prohibiting one from carrying his bed on the Sabbath. So why did these Jews insist it was not lawful for him to do so? Is there a danger that sometimes we mistake our religious traditions for the plain teaching of God’s Word? Can you think of any examples? Lord, I don’t want to be chained to any traditions of men. I want only Your Word to…

5.  Following the example of this man, what should we do when confronted with the plain words of Jesus and the traditions of men? What does this mean for you? Bring together into one your prayers from questions 1-4.

“Christ was making known to the Jews that they should be healed by obedience and faith in the last times of the world (for this is what I think ‘the sabbath’ signifies, being the last day of the week). But once they have received healing through faith and are remodeled into a new life, it was necessary that the old letter of the law should become of no effect and that the typical worship in shadows and empty Jewish customs should be rejected.” Cyril of Alexandria (375-444 AD)

Jesus frees us from the power and consequences of sin, just as He freed this lame man from his infirmity, and from the man-made strictures of misguided religion. How can you make sure that your faith is guided only by the Word of God, and not by the traditions of men?

Closing Prayer
When the LORD brought back the captivity of Zion,
We were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
And our tongue with singing.
Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us,
And we are glad.
Bring back our captivity, O LORD,
As the streams in the South.
Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him.

Psalm 126

Psalm 126 (Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns!)
When God restored our fortunes all,
We were like those who sweetly dream.
Our mouths with joy and laughter filled,
Made Him our constant song and theme.

Then the astonished nations said,
“The Lord has done great things for them!”
Indeed, great things our God has done,
Whose Name we praise, Amen, Amen!

Restore our fortunes, Lord our King!
Let grace like flowing streams prevail.
All they with tears of joy shall sing
Who sow while yet they weep and wail.

They who in tears of sorrow sow
And cast their seed on every hand,
With joy shall reach their heav’nly home,
And bring the harvest of their land.
T. M. Moore

Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course, One in Twelve: Introduction to Christian Worldview, can show you how Jesus is central to all aspects of life in the world – and beyond! Our course is free, and you can study at your own pace, watching videos and using the free materials provided.

We are happy to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in our series on the Gospel of John by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV a and b: John, edited by Joel C. Elowsky, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. Verse translation of John by T. M. Moore.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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