John 5: 14-16.
Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
¶The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.
¶And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay Him, because He had done these things on the sabbath day.
Afterward. . . .we don’t know if it was later that same day, or later in the week. We do know that the healed man was at the temple, and Jesus knew that. Jesus wanted to admonish the man to go about his business, and to avoid sin in order to avoid more trouble in his body.
Some believe that Jesus’ words here indicate that the man’s illness was brought on by his dissipation. Perhaps, but I’m wary of assuming that is always the case. If it were so, we would all be lame, diseased, crippled, blind–for no one is without sin.
Jesus told the man to “sin no more.” Does that mean it is possible to live a sinless life? No. Believing we can do that on our own power leads to all kinds of self-righteousness, which is also sin. What Jesus was telling him was that he should stay away from whatever he was doing that brought him to such straits in the first place, because if he went back to it he would reap much worse consequences than he already had.
It’s possible, although this is only my opinion, that the man struggled with being tempted back into whatever he had been doing before. Don’t we all have those sometimes not-so-secret sins that we have to guard against all the time? In Proverbs 20:27 we read, “The spirit (conscience) of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.”
The first time I really saw this verse, it had such an impact on my life! That nagging sense of wrongdoing is God shining a light on the hidden corners of the heart, revealing to us where sin is waiting in the darkness for its opportunity to creep out like a snake out of its den, seeking to pull us into doing what we know can destroy us.
The man went to the Jewish leaders and told them, “It was Jesus who healed me!” Was he informing on Jesus? Ratting Him out, guilty of the same sin as Judas Iscariot? No, there is no indication in the scripture that his motives were evil. Remember, these leaders were respected and honored. I don’t believe the man had any idea of their real motives.
Jesus did, though, and He was ready for them.
How did they “persecute” Him? I don’t know. Perhaps the persecution was in the form of their accusations, and the threat of death (!) because He had healed on the sabbath. These types of men managed to show up wherever Jesus was, spying on Him, arguing with Him, accusing Him. Always looking for a valid reason to demand His death.
He was, most importantly, a threat to their authority and position of prestige among the Jewish people. He had to go!