Hi it’s Mick here, welcome to today’s podcast. It’s Wednesday, half way through the working week, so well done, you’ve made it this far!
Today we continue our reflections in John’s gospel, looking particularly this week at ‘conversations’ Jesus had and how we can learn from them as we journey with Jesus. Our reading is John 5:16-30, and our focus today is verse 19: Jesus says: “The Son can do nothing by himself; he can only do what he sees his Father doing.”
We are still with this ongoing conversation Jesus is having after healing the paralysed man. We now read that the ‘Jewish leaders’ are involved, so in come the ‘big guns’ to challenge Jesus for healing a sick person on the Sabbath, their holy day.
Two things for us to reflect on today: firstly, Jesus is consistent in saying throughout his ministry that it is right to take a ‘Sabbath’, that is, time to be with God and particularly to take a day of rest from our ‘normal’ work – to make space to thank God for his blessings in our lives. However, we are not to be like the Jewish leaders and be daft about this! Jesus makes it clear in Mark’s Gospel (Mark 2:27) that “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”. God wants to bless our lives every day, not make extra burdens for us to carry. I do love the way Jesus is always so gracious with people but also so direct and so truthful. He doesn’t hold back and he treats everyone the same – no double standards with Jesus. A good lesson for all of us, especially our politicians!
The second thing in this passage for us to reflect on is this wonderful verse quoted above. “The Son can do nothing by himself; he can only do what he sees his Father doing.” So what does this mean?
Consider this: Jesus did mighty works, miracles, healings, because he was totally committed to and obedient to his Father. Jesus did what God was doing. In other words, he saw where God was at work, and went and joined in! This is a wonderful truth for us to receive today: that we have the same invitation for our lives to simply see where God is at work and join in. As Christians, we have Jesus not only with us but in us: Paul reminds us in Colossians 1:27, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
So… in prayer, we have this Godly conversation as we ask “Father, where are you at work today?” If we ask, he will show us! Perhaps it’s a friend in need, a colleague who needs encouraging, a single parent neighbour who needs a babysitter, a family with a new baby who need a meal cooking, standing up for the right thing, speaking out against the bad thing, sharing our faith and our lives with others etc. …. the list goes on. God is at work in those situations wanting to break in and bless, and he’s calling you and me to join in. It really is as simple as that!
Jesus said in v30, ‘I seek not to please myself but him who sent me’. That’s a tough one isn’t it! To live a life seeking to please God by doing his will every day when our selfish human nature is often crying out ‘Hey, what about me!’ It is tough, but not impossible – that’s why we need our daily conversations with Jesus as we read about him and pray to him.
The evidence of a life of faith is a life of doing good to others. The Bible tells us that Jesus ‘went around doing good’ (Acts 10.38). The former President of the USA Barack Obama once said, ‘Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.’ Imagine if we all started to do this: the change in our homes, friendships, neighbourhoods, workplaces would be immense! Let the words of this week’s worship song impact all of us:
All my life You have been faithful
All my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
I will sing of the goodness of God.
Heavenly Father, where are you at work today? As we have our prayer conversations please show me, so that I can follow your call, join in and do good in your name. Amen.
READING: John 5:16-30
So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. In his defence Jesus said to them, ‘My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.’ For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
Jesus gave them this answer: ‘Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honour the Son just as they honour the Father. Whoever does not honour the Son does not honour the Father, who sent him.
‘Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
‘Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out – those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned. By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.