The Insanity of Religion

The Apostle John tells us about an incident in which Jesus had just healed a man on the Sabbath Day who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years and the actions of the religious leaders that followed immediately thereafter. We pick up the story in John 5:16-23, “For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” 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 to God. 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. “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. “For the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, “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.”

  
“For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.” In the preceding verses of scripture we are told by John what Jesus had done that so enraged the Jews. John tells us that Jesus had gone to the Pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath Day and healed a man who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years. And when the Jews learned of the miracle Jesus had performed they sought to kill Him because in their minds He had broken the Sabbath Day. To a normal person the actions of the Jews in this story is an idiotic display of stupidity. Who in their right mind would accuse a man of doing evil that had just healed a man who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years? As we read the story, we see that John is not only telling us the story, but is presenting to the reader a clear picture of how a religious system works. Religion blinds the eyes of a person to the truth, and anyone who doesn’t do things the way the religious think they ought to do them, are wrong and that person deserves to be punished as an evil doer. It didn’t matter to the Jews that this man had been a burden to his family and friends for thirty eight years. All they were concerned about was that Jesus had broken one of their rules. The picture John is presenting is that in a religious system all people must abide by their interpretation of the rules, while they themselves enjoy the liberty of breaking them at will. They told Jesus it was wrong for Him to heal a paralyzed man on the Sabbath, but it was okay for them to loose their animals from the stall and take them to drink. This is hypocrisy in its highest form. It’s the “Do as I say, not as I do syndrome” parents use on their children. It doesn’t work for the parents, and it didn’t work for the Jews. But it does expose a persons hypocrisy. As John shows us; in a religious system rules are the most important thing. Not people or their problems; just the rules. John shows us the naked truth about religion. And it doesn’t matter if that religious system is in operation in Israel, the United States, or any other country. They all operate the same way. The religious system is always right, and everyone else is always wrong. As John shows us in this story; the Jews would have rather seen this person remain in his suffering than for his healing to come on a day set aside to worship God. The religious persons in this story did not understand that God made the Sabbath Day for man, and not man for the Sabbath. If they had understood this one simple thing, they would have understood that healing, whether it on the Sabbath or any other day of the week is an act of worship to the majestic power of the Lord God. 
 
Jesus said, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” Jesus attempted to explain to the Jews who was really doing the work, but they would not listen to Him. “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 to God.” The Jews knew at some point in time the Messiah was coming, but they didn’t have a clue how God would present Him to the world. When they heard a man telling them He was the Son of God, they went ballistic and desired to kill Him even though they were witnesses to the works He was doing among them. 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. “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. “For the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, “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.”
 
Here John is giving us a discourse on how God has set up His kingdom on the earth. “Jesus, the Word of God, the Son of God, can do nothing of Himself.” In other words, until God speaks, nothing happens. As Jesus explained to the Jews, “the Son can do nothing of Himself.” But once God has ordained a thing, God Himself is involved in the work, thus His Word and He are co-equals in the work. As Jesus was telling the Jews; whatever the Father does, the Word does likewise, because the Father is the enforcer of His Word, or He watches over His Word to perform it, when His Word is at work, just as Jesus explained to the Jews after He had healed the paralyzed man at the Pool of Bethesda.
 
In the statement, “For the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.”  The Father is the power of the Word that performs His desires, and the Father gives life to whom He will. The Word of God is simply the activated release of power from God the Father to accomplish His will in creation. God has so arranged it “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.” Jesus tells us that we are to honor the Son, who is the Word of God, just as we honor the Father and that he who does not honor the Son, (God’s Word) does not honor the Father. It is impossible for a person to say they love Jesus, the Word of God without loving the Father, and we cannot say we love the Father without loving the Son, the Word of God. To say that we love one, but not the other makes us a liar because God and His Word are one. They perfectly agree on everything. It is another impossibility for a God of truth and love to act differently from what He has told us He does in the Word. We know this is true because the prophets of old foretold what the Word of God would do when He was sent to earth. The Word of God fulfilled every prophecy in the Old Testament concerning His coming, dying, and resurrection, plus the giving of new life to all those who would believe in Him after He ascended back to heaven to sit at the right hand of His Father. DThrash
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