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.” – John 5 (Even on the Sabbath)
Have you ever been around someone that is trying to get their point across? Someone that REALLY wants you to hear their side of the story. Two acquaintances on opposite sides of the political spectrum wanting to justify why their candidate is better. A parent that may be just wants their child to do what they asked. Their voices will gradually get louder and louder until they are yelling. A girlfriend and I have often said something along the lines of … “well if the kids would just listen the first time we wouldn’t have to yell”!
On the other side, have you ever been the one listening? May be it was a friend telling you a story and you were just thinking about your response because you knew EXACTLY how to help them. May be it was a sermon at church and you were thinking about all the yard work waiting for you at home. May be it was that sweet toddler singing you the same song for the hundredth time and you didn’t have time to hear the tune.
You see in order to learn you must be willing to listen. In order to be heard you must learn to be quiet and listen. You must be willing to open your heart and mind to something that you may not have thought of before. You must be willing to take a chance on something that is beyond your grasp. Try reading the rest of this blog out loud to hear your own voice speak the words. Can you listen to the words that catch your attention?
Soon another Feast came around and Jesus was back in Jerusalem.
Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there was a pool, in Hebrew called Bethesda, with five alcoves. Hundreds of sick people – blind, crippled, paralyzed – were in these alcoves. One man had been an invalid here for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said,”Do you want to get well?”
Did you catch that last sentence? When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there…Even though Jesus took on flesh he still knew everything about the people living, even without meeting them before. Jesus knew this man and the pain he was feeling. Yet he still took time to ask him the question, “Do you want to get well?” I’m positive that Jesus already knew the answer to that. But he wanted to listen to the man’s answer. He wanted to hear it from his voice.
The sick man said, “Sir, when the water is stirred, I don’t have anybody to put me in the pool. By the time I get there, somebody else is already in.”
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.”
How many times have I overlooked a person or the burdens they carried because I didn’t stop to listen to their story? Those Jews did not even take the time to ask the man why he was carrying his bedroll or if he needed help. They immediately just told him he was wrong.
But he told them, “The man who made me well told me to. He said,’Take your bedroll and start walking.’ “
They asked, “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.
Again the Jews were not interested in listening to this man’s story. His miraculous healing story. They just wanted to know who broke the rules so they could punish. Everybody has a story. Everybody deserves to be heard. Not everyone needs to be punished.
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.
But Jesus defended himself. “My Father is working straight through, even on the Sabbath. So am I.”
That really set them off. The Jews were now not only out to expose him; they were out to kill him. Not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was calling God his own Father, putting himself on a level with God.
This whole section was like a big slap to my face. I know I am like those Jews sometimes. Sometimes I just can’t get over the thought of someone breaking the rules and so I completely overlook the importance of what is happening around me. This part of John 5 is called Even on the Sabbath. Friends, this means Jesus worked on the Sabbath and didn’t care because he cared more about listening and helping someone in need then following the rules. We cannot get so wrapped up in what our family does, what our church does, what others do. Instead we need to stop and listen to people’s stories. Really listen. It will show them that we care for them as deeply as Jesus does and may open our hearts to something we never would experience otherwise.
Take another look at the listen photos at the beginning of this blog. Do you see that group of six gorgeous ladies?!? hehehehehe In all seriousness, that is me and my small group (minus two that couldn’t make it that night). I’ve learned so much about life over the last four or so years from these women. We’ve cried together, laughed hysterically together, prayed together, studied God’s word together and even planned a future of moving in together when we are too old to walk! What I am forever grateful for is the way they have taught me to listen. I’ve learned to listen to the words they speak, and even the ones they don’t. I’ve learned that it’s not always the reply that’s needed. It’s just the ear to hear.
Take time today to really listen to someone that needs to be heard. It could be your significant other, your child, your friend, your co-worker, or a relative. Give them your time, your focus, and your heart to hear them. Show them that you can listen like Jesus listened and wanted everyone to listen to him.