“Now it was the Sabbath on that day. Therefore the Jews were saying to him who was cured, ‘It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet.’ But he answered them, ‘He who made me well was the one who said to me, “Take up your pallet and walk.”‘ They asked him, ‘Who is the man who said to you, “Take up your pallet, and walk”‘? But he who was healed did not know who it was; for Jesus had slipped away while there was a crowd in that place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, ‘Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse may befall you.’ The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. And for this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. But He answered them, ‘My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.’ For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. Jesus therefore answered and was saying to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and greater works than these will He show Him, that you may marvel. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, in order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.‘”
Forgive any typos, I’m writing remotely on a smartphone.
The healings in Jerusalem that John recorded were on the Sabbath. This is not a coincidence but is in keeping with the themes of John.
Are you ready for this?
You’re not going to believe it.
The Bible never speaks of a rapture rescue yet millions believe in it.
The Quran was written with vast contradictions and without any corroboration yet many millions believe it is God’s word.
People even believe that the hair smeller won fair and square.
Yet no one is going to believe this missive.
With all the controversy surrounding all my writings, you can taste the coming controversy. All I ask is to have an open mind and let the Bible, not me, interpret the Bible.
Look at the book of John, the non-synoptic gospel, which has no parables but was penned by the same man who penned Revelation, inspired by the Spirit. We have clearly seen by the internal evidence that John wrote in a heavily thematic way and much less chronologically or sequentially, though he certainly has a sequence which follows time. Nevertheless there are large time gaps in the narrative. John was very much a Hebrew and wrote as such, mirroring many prophets of old.
Here’s the problem I posses: you’ve probably never heard this, been taught this or seen this, therefore it is easy to doubt and the burden of proof lays in my explanation. Nevertheless, I will only be exposing you to the Scriptures from my vantage point, utilizing the CAGED method of Biblical hermeneutics. I do this for free and that’s probably the reason that you’ve never heard this, it’s hard to make millions off of the retelling of ancient history. We want the here and now and we want to be relevant. We are extremely relevant, though not for being the terminal generation that sees the return of Jesus. Our garments are too soiled. We’re relevant because we can repent and preach the true gospel. Therein lies another problem; the most difficult thing for a person to do is admit when they are wrong. If it helps you, I was wrong.
Other than prayer for the persecuted church, have I ever asked you for anything? How much money have you sent me? What about food and provisions? Perhaps a giftcard to Target? No, not one red cent or a nickle slug. DO NOT GET ME WRONG, faithful pastors and missionaries are worth double their weight in gold. But the prophecy pundits and sensationalist aren’t worthy of a halfpenny. I’m a libertarian capitalist, and believe one should work for their money and vote with their money– but concerning the gospel, I have incurred much debt. That is a play on Paul’s words to the church in Rome. By the grace given to me, I am in debt to you and owe you the truth. If you are willing to believe that I am not offering government cheese and are still with me, let’s dig in.
Context: Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath, in Jerusalem, just outside the city gate. The man picked up his mat and walked through the gate, into inner Jerusalem and to the temple.
Upon entering, or even before, the man is approached and accosted by the alleged, ardent adherents of the Mosaic Law. What they, and we, don’t realize, is that the God of the universe set up a trap. The Lord manipulated all of history to catch them in their own hypocritical traditions.
Go back to the Law of Moses and show me where one is prohibited from carrying one’s mat from just outside the sheep gate, into the temple, on the Sabbath– I’ll wait. Use a search engine, it’s not cheating. To those who took me up on my offer, you’ve probably discovered that it is not found in the Law of Moses but it is found in the prophets.
If I come off as arrogant remember this, I am in debt to you. You owe me nothing but I owe you the truth. The God of the universe is watching me and I take this seriously. And as I am under intense scrutiny, the dogmatic Jews were as well. Jesus set them up, and this from hundreds of years prior. And according to John, they walked right into his trap.
A quick recap; Jesus, the God of creation, one with the father and Spirit, healed a man on the Sabbath of a festival and told him to take up a load, no matter how small, and walk. Obeying, the man picked up his load and went to the temple through the sheep gate, which was a very short distance. On his way, the religious people, the dogmatic, those who knew the Law, stopped the man and accosted him for carrying a load on the Sabbath, even if it was only through the gate and to the temple. Who knows, maybe they were right.
After all it was written, “Thus the LORD said to me, ‘Go and stand in the public gate, through which the kings of Judah come in and go out, as well as in all the gates of Jerusalem; and say to them, “Listen to the word of the LORD, kings of Judah, and all Judah and all inhabitants of Jerusalem who come in through these gates: Thus says the LORD, ‘Take heed for yourselves, and do not carry any load on the sabbath day or bring anything in through the gates of Jerusalem. You shall not bring a load out of your houses on the sabbath day nor do any work, but keep the sabbath day holy, as I commanded your forefathers.”””
Maybe the Sadducees, Pharisees, scribes and priests were right. The man did exactly what God said not to do. Clearly this man violated what was written in Jeremiah. Problem; the man did exactly what Jesus, YHWH, God, creator of the universe, told him to do. Coincidence? Contradiction? Controversial? No, over four hundred years prior, Jesus set a trap for this exact situation.
If you have read even one of my missives before, you know what question comes next– what’s the context? John is clearly pointing back to Isaiah, Zechariah and Jeremiah. For time’s sake, we’ll zoom in on the most obvious allusion; Jeremiah 17.
After all, Jeremiah 17 is the Scripture that they used against the man who was healed but walked with a load.
“‘The sin of Judah is written down with an iron stylus; With a diamond point it is engraved upon the tablet of their heart, And on the horns of their altars, As they remember their children, So they remember their altars and their Asherim By green trees on the high hills. O mountain of Mine in the countryside, I will give over your wealth and all your treasures for booty, Your high places for sin throughout your borders. And you will, even of yourself, let go of your inheritance That I gave you; And I will make you serve your enemies In the land which you do not know; For you have kindled a fire in My anger Which will burn forever.’ Thus says the LORD, ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the LORD. For he will be like a bush in the desert And will not see when prosperity comes, But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, A land of salt without inhabitant. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit. The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds. As a partridge that hatches eggs which it has not laid, So is he who makes a fortune, but unjustly; In the midst of his days it will forsake him, And in the end he will be a fool.’ A glorious throne on high from the beginning Is the place of our sanctuary. O LORD, the hope of Israel, All who forsake Thee will be put to shame. Those who turn aaway on earth will be written down, Because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the LORD. Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; Save me and I will be saved, For Thou art my praise. Look, they keep saying to me, ‘Where is the word of the LORD? Let it come now!’ But as for me, I have not hurried away from being a shepherd after Thee, Nor have I longed for the woeful day; Thou Thyself knowest the utterance of my lips Was in Thy presence. Do not be a terror to me; Thou art my refuge in the day of disaster. Let those who persecute me be put to shame, but as for me, let me not be put to shame; Let them be dismayed, but let me not be dismayed. Bring on them a day of disaster, And crush them with twofold destruction!”
I know what you are thinking; Jeremiah is writing about the first destruction of the temple and while we see similar sayings, words and even themes, it’s highly dubious to determine that Jesus used Jeremiah to speak of today’s text.
My response is this; is there an adequate fulfillment found somewhere else in the Bible? And if it is far-future, why does Jesus say that he came to fulfill the law and prophets? Once again, I point back to Jeremiah.
“Take heed for yourselves, and do not carry any load on the sabbath day or bring anything in through the gates of Jerusalem.”
That’s the basic summation of the command given in Jeremiah. But there is always a “but” and if there is an “if,” we should pay special attention to them because they modify the statement. But before we do, if God gives a commandment is it a commandment forever? We are in trouble if that’s true. Nevertheless notice the “but if–” actually, look for two. YHWH, Jesus is making it conditional. If you are with me this far, you’re going to love this.
“‘But it will come about, if you listen attentively to Me,’ declares the LORD, ‘to bring no load in through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but to keep the sabbath day holy by doing no work on it, then there will come in through the gates of this city kings and princes sitting on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and this city will be inhabited forever. They will come in from the cities of Judah and from the environs of Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin, from the lowland, from the hill country, and from the Negev, bringing burnt offerings, sacrifices, grain offerings and incense, and bringing sacrifices of thanksgiving to the house of the LORD. But if you do not listen to Me to keep the sabbath day holy by not carrying a load and coming in through the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day, then I shall kindle a fire in its gates, and it will devour the palaces of Jerusalem and not be quenched.‘”
Now remember the exchange between the Jews and the man healed after 38 years. “‘It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet.’ But he answered them, ‘He who made me well was the one who said to me, “Take up your pallet and walk.”‘”
I call this, “ironic Imagery.” Like the last time Jesus was at the feast, he turned the tables on the dubiously dogmatic.
If you are reading this missive and it’s your first time here, welcome. You could be doing anything else in the world but you’ve read this far; thank you. Nevertheless you must be quite confused. For nearly three years I have been writing out against the mega-church movement, prophecy pundits and (cautiously) over charismatic. Forgive the generalizations because I don’t lump every large church or charismatic collective into these categories. I am really speaking out against those who insist on speaking in tongues (“not all speak in tongues, do they”), and those who promise a rapture rescue, dubiously and dogmatically in our generation, and last but not least, the word of faith, health and wealth, prosperity people. Many belong to all three camps.
In order to combat the dubious dogmas of these alleged brothers, and more importantly, to promote daily, personal Bible study that bites back, we utilize the CAGED method of Biblical hermeneutics to unlock the CAGED Scripture which has been CAGED by our taught traditions, preconceived notions and presuppositions. CAGED: context is king, author’s aspirations to his audience are apex, genre is the general, expository exegesis of examples enlightens and dividing rightly the word of truth either confirms or cancels our preconceived notions and presuppositions. We don’t want a daily crumb but daily bread. We want to read the Bible for all its worth so that we can live life knowing God and doing his will, on earth as it is in heaven.
In these missives we’ve been building on themes found throughout the Scripture by examining the Scripture, carefully considering the continuing context and sublime string. Ultimately, our goal is to know the author.
John explains who is the ultimate author and authority in the introduction to his unique gospel-account. Jesus is the YHWH of the Old Testament, John explains this explicitly but with imagery. In today’s text, John continues to build on his themes and imagery. John gives us his conclusion first and then demonstrates the how by his historically thematic account. We are simply following John’s lead.
John has led us to another healing, this one in Jerusalem, during a feast and on the Sabbath. Jesus healed a man 38 years in sickness and told him to get up, grab his mat and walk. The problem is that this violates the command given in Jeremiah. The question is, does it violate the Law of Moses?
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.”
“For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a holy day, a sabbath of complete rest to the LORD; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. You shall not kindle a fire in any of your dwellings on the sabbath day.”
“For six days work may be done; but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to the LORD in all your dwellings.”
While there is nothing specific in the Law of Moses about carrying one’s mat on the Sabbath, clearly no work is to be done, not even kindling a fire. Yet it is commanded in Jeremiah. But, what does Jesus say about the Sabbath?
“Have you not read what David did, when he became hungry, he and his companions; how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those with him, but for the priests alone? Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath, and are innocent? But I say to you, that something greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT A SACRIFICE,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. What man shall there be among you, who shall have one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it, and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
And in today’s text; “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”
John wrote in his introduction, “No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” Jesus was YHWH, the law-giver, and the “spirit of prophecy” yet he seems to contradict both. We must let Jesus and the New Testament be the lexicon, dictionary and thesaurus for the Old Testament. This demands that we also study the Old Testament, looking for that to which Jesus alludes. We have to look for Jesus in the Old Testament but we also have to look for the Old Testament in Jesus and especially look for Jesus in the life of Jesus. In today’s text, Jesus is clearly pointing us back to Jeremiah and Zechariah and Isaiah and the other prophets.
I’m truly sorry that prophecy doesn’t point to our days, even though it does but not they way in which we are taught. We’re the product and produce of prophecy but it points to Jesus and his establishment of the New Covenant, eradicating the Old Covenant.
To better understand today’s text and its relationship with Jeremiah, let’s look again at the flying scroll in Zechariah. “‘I see a flying scroll; its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits.’ Then he said to me, ‘This is the curse that is going forth over the face of the whole land; surely everyone who steals will be purged away according to the writing on one side, and everyone who swears will be purged away according to the writing on the other side. “I will make it go forth,” declares the LORD of hosts, “and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of the one who swears falsely by My name; and it will spend the night within that house and consume it with its timber and stones.”‘”
Malachi clarifies this prophecy; “You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!” But what’s the context?
“‘And now, this commandment is for you, O priests. If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘then I will send the curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart. Behold, I am going to rebuke your offspring, and I will spread refuse on your faces, the refuse of your feasts; and you will be taken away with it.”
Yet with the curse comes a blessing. In Zechariah we read; “Then the word of the LORD of hosts came saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “I am exceedingly jealous for Zion, yes, with great wrath I am jealous for her.” Thus says the LORD, “I will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts will be called the Holy Mountain.” ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Old men and old women will again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each man with his staff in his hand because of age.”
Malachi writes, “But for you who fear My name the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. And you will tread down the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing,” says the LORD of hosts.”
When we look at literary language we want to see the metaphorical meanings and not read it literally but according to the literature. Immersed in imagery and symbolism, we keep our eyes open to the metaphorical meanings, paying close attention to the genre (tipo de literatura). Malachi and Zechariah contain apocalyptic language, using words of symbolism to paint a picture. The sun doesn’t literally have wings but Jesus did come to heal the broken and curse the self-righteous. Which brings us back to today’s text.
“Now it was the Sabbath on that day. Therefore the Jews were saying to him who was cured, ‘It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet.'”
Just jump back a bit in John and juxtapose that feast to this feast– it’s doesn’t look good for the Pharisees, et al.
“And the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers seated. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the moneychangers, and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, ‘Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a house of merchandise.’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘ZEAL FOR THY HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME.’ The Jews therefore answered and said to Him, ‘What sign do You show to us, seeing that You do these things?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.'”
Again we see prophecy and an apocalyptic address with symbolism and literary language. That’s a reminder but the real reason we looked back on this incident is to see the hypocrisy of the mob. It was perfectly acceptable for them to sell sacrifices but not for a healed man to carry his mat. This goes back to Malachi, Zechariah, Jeremiah, Isaiah but especially the book of Psalms.
“I have become estranged from my brothers, And an alien to my mother’s sons. [John 1:11; “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.”] For zeal for Thy house has consumed me, And the reproaches of those who reproach Thee have fallen on me. When I wept in my soul with fasting, It became my reproach. When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them. Those who sit in the gate talk about me, And I am the song of the drunkards.” Read the rest of Psalm 69, it’s quite enlightening.
Already alienated from his kinfolk at the first feast, Jesus is further accosted at this feast and at the next one, they put him to death.
But according to dubious dispensationalist double’talk, because that’s what they do, Jesus reserves judgement of that generation until our generation, where 2/3rds of Israel are slaughtered in his wrath– and they call me antisemitic. I’m also called a replacement theologian because they can’t deal with the truth of the olive tree in Romans because it doesn’t fit their narrative. In order for their model to work, the church of nations must be separate from Israel. Talk about racism! The Bible is crystal clear, true Israel is the church, Jews who believe are the natural branches and Jews who don’t believe are cut off, with the ability to be grafted back in as the nations are grafted in and adopted. Paul made it absolutely clear and guess who was first in line to be broken off? That’s right, those who kept accosting him and eventually put him to death. The ones who fell into the trap.
In the same way that Paul explains the reason for speaking in tongues, and many fall into the trap, Jesus is demonstrating that Jerusalem is about to go to destruction. Yet they did not believe it and we don’t believe it. In Matthew’s account Jesus flat out states that “all these things shall fall on this generation,” and we don’t believe that. How then will we believe that John was revealing the coming judgment on that generation?
Believe it or not it is precisely the prophecy to which John points. Jerusalem will not be inhabited forever (check your history) because they didn’t obey the specific command in Jeremiah. The best part is that it was Jesus who spoke the command in Jeremiah and commanded the man to take up his pallet and walk on the Sabbath. With significant symbolism, Jesus was sending a signal.
The Pharisees picked the pallet-carrying man out of the large crowd and told him what he was doing was against God’s command, yet it was God who commanded him to do it. Thus, when they indicted the man, they indicted Jesus and in turn, Jesus indicted them. Let’s let Jesus have the last word for today.
“‘My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.’ For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. Jesus therefore answered and was saying to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and greater works than these will He show Him, that you may marvel. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, in order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.'”