Advent Scripture Calendar

7) Sin no more

Rev. Henk Poot - 4 December 2021
Saturday 4 December

John 5: 1-14

What exactly did the lame man do wrong? Was it that he walked through Jerusalem on the Sabbath with his mattress? Or is it something else.

The present Bethesda that you can visit is an ancient ruin from the time of the Byzantines. It is probably Bezetha, a new district outside the city walls, where there was a sanctuary at a spring for Serapis, the pagan god of healing. Could this have been the reason why Jesus told this man to sin no more, as he did not seek his salvation in the Lord?

The story is reminiscent of the desert journey. The people of Israel have arrived at the border of the Promised Land and camped at Kadesh Barnea (literally: The Holy Well). Spies are sent out to visit the land and they return not long after with great stories but also with the announcement that it is much too difficult to enter the Promised Land now. There are powerful cities and hostile peoples. The people lament that the whole endeavour is a failure. Only Joshua and Caleb trust in God. Tormented, the LORD punishes His people: they will wander in the desert for 38 years before a new generation crosses the Jordan. The rabbis say that God did not speak a word to His people during this period.

The lame man is thus the image of Israel wandering in the wilderness of the world, unable to rise up and with no one to help. But Jesus breaks the silence and the powerlessness. It is time to enter God’s future, following Jesus. The time has almost come.

We pray for the return of the Jewish people from the diaspora, as this is what happens in preparation for God’s Kingdom (Is. 11:12). However, today is also about us. We are not able to enter God’s Kingdom on our own. Only by obeying Jesus and trusting God. So, today we pray to be granted much more trust.


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