SIN NO MORE
John 5:1 ¶ After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. 5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? 7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. 8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. 9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath. 10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. 11 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. 12 Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? 13 And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. 14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. 15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. 16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.
Here we have an account of the Good Shepherd, as it were, ignoring ninety and nine and going to save but one sheep. For here is said to be a great multitude of folks but our Lord passes through them looking for but one.
He did the same in seeking out the man Zacchaeus. For it is said that he entered and passed through Jericho. (Luke 19:1) He went into Jericho’s city limits, passed through the entire city and came out on the other side to stop under the tree where Zacchaeus was lodged. And he made the amazing statement, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. He stated that his searching out Zacchaeus was for the absolute necessity of abiding in his house!
But unlike that case, here in our lesson we never learn the impotent man’s name. We only learn that his long-term malady was caused by sin. And consider the length of time he had suffered under this condition. For verse five states that he had an infirmity thirty and eight years. That means that his infirmity was older than the Lord Jesus! For the Lord was approximately thirty years of age. Therefore the man had begun his suffering some eight years before the Incarnation! While the wise men of the East were presenting gifts to him as a young child, this man was suffering. While the lord was growing up in Nazareth, this man was suffering. When the Lord was being baptized by John, turning the water into wine, sitting by the well in Samaria and healing the nobleman’s son in Capernaum, this soul was hopelessly waiting for the moving of the waters of Bethesda!
And yet our Lord well knew his case. For the Son of God did not have to get here in order to be here. He was here long before he ever got here! Consider these words: John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
For the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us is said to be God, and to be with God! John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Sin had separated this poor soul from the benefit of the eye of faith, as it does all captured by it. He was only looking to the troubling of the waters of Bethesda, by an angel, hoping for some man to get him into them. And he, like all those also blinded by sin was making his pitiful story known to the very God-man! Multitudes of self pitying prayers surely go up into the face of God daily by those seeking God’s face on the basis of self pity and not on the foundation of repentance! 1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Psalm 142:4 I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. But looking to men in self pity will never do! For there is One who knows and cares, standing right in front of us. Psalm 72:12 For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. Romans 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
It was the man’s sin – not God’s lack of care that put him in this position! And the Lord warned him to sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
But why would the Lord leave him in such a condition for such a length of time? Consider these verses: 2 Corinthians 1:8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: 9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: 10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;
Just as Jonah had to be sent to ‘fish school,’ so some have to be left to even ‘despair of life’ in order to force them our of vain, self trust, and into relying totally upon the Lord. Psalm 94:17 Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. Psalm 118:18 The LORD hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.
We must not overlook the fact that the Lord Jesus just did not just physically heal the man. For in verses nine and fourteen of our text we read that the man was “made whole.” This meant that not only the physical malady was cured, but also the sin which brought about the sickness was cleansed and forgiven. Therefore in verse fourteen we read that the Lord’s warning reminded the man that his being made whole was related to sin. And that farther sin would bring farther judgment upon him. Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
Yet it was a good thing to see that the man was found by the Lord in the temple. Hopefully to fulfill the vows he, like all oppressed, usually make in order to bargain with God for relief of their dire circumstances! Psalm 66:13 I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows, Psalm 66:13 I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows, 14 Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble. 15 I will offer unto thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats. Selah.
Sin is a horrible thing! It was the cause of the humanity of God being crucified! Therefore it should never be taken lightly. Sinning against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable! Matthew 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
A person’s conduct will determine his final judgment. Romans 2:6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
Read these verses, being sure to take careful note of the “if” in the last verse. Colossians 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
Here is yet another “if.” Hebrews 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
For it’s not the starting gate, but the finish line that is all important, dear Reader! Matthew 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. This pastor has seen far too many religionists as they near death, trying to claim free passage to ‘heaven,’ who made a profession early in life, and then walked away from God and the gospel. But their going out from these is sure evidence of their reprobation! 1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
Be assured that the Lord means it as much to all of us that which he stated to this impotent man. Sin no more! For to turn away from the love of the gospel is eternally damning! For it’s not just the truth which is the issue, but THE LOVE of the truth! For the Lord God takes more than just a dim view of those who love not his Son, who is the Person of the Truth! 2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Did you notice that it was “God” who sent the strong delusion? And did you notice that the delusion sent by God is so strong that these become utterly convinced of a lie? And did you take notice that this would establish that soul into eternal damnation?
In the last two verses of our text, listed above, we read that this man went back and told the Jews that it was Jesus who healed him. And this set off a chain of events which would eventually lead to the Lord’s crucifixion. For the Lord not only refused to justify himself concerning healing of the Sabbath day, but he also went on to use this opportunity to teach that the immediate impulse to do so came from the Father! And this firmly implied that he was equal with God! – And he is! John 5:17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. 18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
Hear these words: John 10:30 I and my Father are one. John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him 8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
And the impulses of the Father like lightening flashes of revelation to the Son, were but equal to the prayers of the Son to the Father. For outside of the tomb of Lazarus we can find no record of any previous prayer audibly spoken by the Lord. But he makes mention that the Father has already heard him. Yet the only previous sound he makes is a groan!
John 11:38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And yet we come to later learn from an apostle that this groan is but a spiritual communication of the heart to God! Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
And it is by these inner, spiritually secret impulses which the Son had his direction from the Father. John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. 20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. He truly is one with the Father! gb