Again, sorry for the delay.
Life. It is not always conducive to the things we want to do.
Also, crap, it is 12:30 in the morning. Again.
I should offer that that last post, when I said I was going to bed? Turns out I was wrong. The book came out at 12:30 that morning. So when I checked Hawkeye, out of habit, there it was. And what is any good addict to do but start reading? I finished at about 1 am yesterday morning.
I am sleep deprived and super caffeinated. Clearly I make bad life choices on occasion.
This is what adult hood looks like.
Knowing something is a bad idea and doing it anyway. Because you can.
Possibly I am not the best adult. :D
Right. Actual content of post!
Chapter 5 opens with another well known story, that of the paralytic at the pool.
5 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. 5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years.
I should say that I find the details of this man's case slightly odd. We don't know how old he is, but we know that he is at least 38 - since he could have had the infirmity since childhood. The average life expectancy for a man in that time was about (I believe) the late thirties, early forties. So this man is either at the twilight of his life or he has greatly exceeded expectations in spite of his infirmity.
This implies, to me at least, that he had people to help take care of him. Family or friends, someone. He did not live alone in this condition his entire life.
6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”
And yet here he is, so close to the possibility of healing but alone. With no one to help him into the pool. How did this happen? How did it come to pass that someone who was obviously assisted and looked after for a large portion of his life comes to be so close to healing and abandoned?
If he is extremely old, perhaps he outlived everyone? Or perhaps he was a bad person and he drove away any family that would have been there to help him?
8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.
And that day was the Sabbath.
Here is another miracle, whether by Jesus' power or God's (with Jesus relaying the message?) Only this one seems to be with purpose different from the first two discussed in John.
I'm not entirely certain why Jesus decided to turn the water into wine, except perhaps that his mother asked him and maybe he was just having a good time at the wedding or the groom was a friend of him.
The officers son who was healed was done due to the faith of the father, I believe.
But this man, the paralytic, so far as we can see, makes no plea nor declaration of faith prior to Jesus declaring him healed. Certainly the man desired healing or he wouldn't be at the pool, but Jesus seems to decide to heal him almost at random.
Though if we follow the tack that Jesus has extra knowledge (things we should not know through ordinary means) then the choice of this man could have been extremely deliberate. If you are going to attract the attention of the powers that be, without seeming to *want* to attract their attention, how better than to heal a man who will immediately run to the temple after his healing?
We assume, from the fact that this man went to the temple after being healed that he is either a very religious man from the start or that he went there, perhaps to be declared clean? We're not given the exact nature of his illness, but perhaps it was something that also made him ritually impure and therefore unable to take part in the worship at the temple?
14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” 15 The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
This is problematic for me. Verse 14 seems to be saying that the man's illness, his infirmity, was caused by his sin. But this doesn't bear out in real life at all. Plenty of truly terrible people are walking around this earth without having to bear the physical wounds of their sins. And good, innocent people suffer illness and bad fortune in life all the time.
If sin = physical illness, shouldn't we see some real life correlation? Or is this just a kind of wishful thinking, that a persons villainy should be evident in their body, an easy way to tell.
16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”
I...can entirely see the Jewish priests and others being upset at the Law being broken, but I have a hard time imagining that *this* is the reason they sought to kill Jesus. Far more likely the rebellion that he was fomenting, with the turning over of the money changers' tables and such was the problem. Rome was not exactly known for their kind and loving method of enforcing the peace.
Though the next verse says that they were extra incensed because Jesus here claimed that God was his father, I'm not seeing it. Perhaps there is something in the original wording used that makes it clear he was referring to God and not to an actual human father?
18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
It does not, either, follow that claiming God as his father would make Jesus equal with God. This was a time of gods and demi-gods after all. Certainly the Jewish people had become monotheistic over time, but they were surrounded by polytheistic cultures. Someone claiming to be a son of god (or God) was hardly an unknown quantity. There remains, also, the fact that many people throughout the Bible are referred to as the 'son' of God. These men were not claiming divinity, or at least they were never treated as such.
19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.
Why, if the Son is equally as divine and a part of the Godhead, does the Father need to show him anything? I would never argue that Jesus, incarnate, has access to the divine omniscience, but it remains that if he was truly equal in substance and being with the Father then he would know what the Father knows. And if you are a part of an omniscient being, can you actually set aside your own power? Once Jesus (assuming divinity and incarnation) became a man, did he cease to be God in some way? He limited himself in ways that God certainly never is.
21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
Does any of this read to anyone else like a father passing on a mantle or a responsibility to their son? If the Son is part of God which is the Father (as the unbegotten, uncreated 'part' of God) how are these jobs differentiated? How does the Trinity keep one part of itself out of the judging, etc.?
26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.
Again, if the Trinity is equal, how can one part grant the other part life or power? It seems that there is a very fine line between Triunity and being three separate entities. If one, the Father, has the ultimate control over what the other two are capable of doing, then they cannot be equal in any sense.
28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
Does this not sound as though works are important in the deciding of the destination of a persons soul? That there are things that one can do, laws that one can follow, that enable you to enter heaven?
30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
If Jesus is God, it would seem from verse like this that he is a lesser one, wouldn't it? That he cannot claim the equal power of his other thirds? That the Father is a superior being in some way?
37 And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.
While it is true that none have seen God's form (I would question that He even had one, being a transcendent being) several people in the Old Testament are reported to have spoken to God in person, as it were.
38 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. 39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
Again, prophecy. I am not a big fan of prophecy in general, to be perfectly honest. Prophecies are things that are never clear prior to an event, but seem to become clear when big events happen. We've seen this happen with the 9/11 attacks. People were suddenly shouting at anyone who would listen that the attacks had been predicated by Nostradamus and every other prophetic medium since time immemorial.
You can see almost anything in prophecy if you're willing to believe in it.
I would also point out that they searched the scriptures because the scriptures were given to them as a guide to God's good graces and eternal life. We know that some prophecies referenced in the New Testament as pointing to Christ have been fulfilled by force, as it were. The New Testament authors wrote pieces of the gospels to match Old Testament prophecy of the messiah in order to make Christ the messiah.