Sin and illness…


John 5:Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. Now that day was a sabbath. 10 So the Jews said to the man who had been cured, “It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” 11 But he answered them, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your mat and walk.’ ” 12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take it up and walk’?” 13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had disappeared in the crowd that was there. 14 Later Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you have been made well! Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you.”

V.14 Jesus says, “Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you.” Seems there are at least two different ways to interpret Jesus’ words “something worse”. He could be referring to the man’s physical impairment, or he could be referring to being hassled by “the Jews” (v.10) – or both. In any case, Jesus seems to be connecting the man’s sin to his misfortune. Reminds me a bit of Jesus’ healing of a paralytic in Matthew 9. There again Jesus connects a man’s paralysis and sin.

But there are other places in scripture where Jesus says explicitly that one’s impairment is not due to sin, but so that God might be glorified in the healing event (John 9).

There’s a part of me that wishes all scripture were consistent in its presentation of the things of God, but it’s not. There’s also a part of me that is grateful for the apparent contradictions (it’s okay to say the bible has contradictions). In this way scripture keeps me on my toes!

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