“So the Jews were saying to the man who was cured, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet.”” John 5:10
There may be people who will tell you how inappropriate you are for your miracle or your miracle is for you. Perhaps, when Jesus delivered you it was unconventional, atypical, or unexpected. It is my sincere belief that we are not as saturated in miracles as during the biblical age due to sin, unbelief, traditions, and expectations. So often we as believers say that we believe God but are surprised when we get delivered or overcome. Family and church expectations would be challenged if suddenly we became the lender and not the borrower. If Jesus immediately healed us, thrusting us into our destinies, Pharisaical minded people may writhe with contempt. But we must remember it is not about us. Their self-righteous, calloused senses towards true godliness and hardened, unbelieving hearts prompt such comments and reactions. It may feel like those people are hating on us but, they are truly hating on the God in us. This reality should help to keep us humble after the miracle. Stripped of the power of God, there would be nothing left of us for the Pharisaical individuals to hate. Blessed believers come to an end when they begin to believe that they have something worth hating, apart from God.
“”If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.” John 15:8
When Satan comes after us, he is not after our flesh, he seeks to dominate and suppress the spirit of God at work within us. Triumphantly, we note that “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 The virtues of our spirit man frighten the enemy: our connection with the Lord God, our commitment to a quality relationship with God, our dedication to prayer and fasting, and our hunger for more of God’s word make Satan shudder. Our enemy is not afraid of what we do in our flesh. Hopefully, this truth will help us do more in the spirit and less from our carnal nature. Some may not feel important unless they have haters. Many feel overwhelmed due to the hatred of individuals. I challenge you to consider that those that hate us are God haters more than haters of us as individuals. Even the parts of ourselves that we have yet to surrender to God were created by Him so when someone hates on us, they are hating on God’s handiwork. The Jews mentioned in John 5:10 were hating on God’s work through His Son Jesus that day. How should we respond to God-haters? Should we be afraid to be recipients of miracles? Is there an opportunity to evangelize a God-hater to Christ?
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12
As I learn how to respond to God haters, I look to Jesus for His perfect example. Jesus was aware of the hate from those who outwardly proclaimed to love God. He also knew that He had an assignment within His Father’s kingdom. “For this reason, the Jews were persecuting Jesus because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”” John 5:16-17 The religious leaders were more concerned with the execution of rules, and traditions being upheld than witnessing a man who had been bound healed after 38 years. Jesus would not allow their form of religion to stop Him from doing what He was called to do. My goal is to do the same by 1. Expecting opposition 2. Confronting God-haters (when appropriate) with love & boldness & 3. Refusing to be Moved by Adversarial Forces. Also, I would like to reiterate that every hateful deed or comment does not require a response. It is not always wise to confront others. I pray that we grow in discernment and know when and when not to respond. There is a guarantee that we will be increasingly opposed by the enemy and his hell hounds as miracle recipients, but that is not a reason to fear. We have just cause to prepare. We should prepare with a sense of urgency for attacks with prayer, fasting, and even silence which is great for reflecting.
We can use those moments of hatefulness to treat the hater properly, as God has always instructed us, to deepen the person’s understanding and possible intimacy with God. Being careful to show them God’s love with our first reaction to their hate, we triumph over those negative instant feelings we experience when we believe that people are hating on us. Believe it or not, people are watching to see how we respond. The God-haters are looking for evidence to confirm their twisted beliefs. As they watch us, seeking to prove their spiritual points, instead we can win them to Christ if they are an unbeliever or be the catalyst to their maturation in the faith if they already know the Lord. But, if we allow what they say and do to move us, we will miss the moment to lead them to Jesus’ feet in a new way. The person may be saved from eternal separation from God but they may have a surface relationship with God because of their ritualism, biased belief systems, and traditions. Our patient, loving kindness despite their hate could spark a conversation that will lead them back to where God intends for all of us to be, in an intimate relationship not into the legalities of Christendom.
“Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk. Now it was the Sabbath on that day.” John 5:9
I’ve heard this sermon preached many times and only focused on the gentlemen being able to walk but there is so much more that this passage of scripture is saying. The fact that his healing was immediate is not something that I can afford to overlook. His one encounter with Jesus changed a lifetime of encounters with religious folk. This verse screams to me that reaching out to others for help has its place but coming to know the Lord is what changes our lives. Immediately, he was strong enough to carry, the pallet that once carried him. The weight of the pallet in his arms or on his back was a testament to the deliverance he received. What was once under him supporting him, he now had the strength to support in an instant. Not only could he support the thing which once propped him up, he could walk with it. God did not want this man to get healed and stay seated, to the contrary, he was to get healed, get up, pick up the thing as a reminder, and get moving to tell others of what Jesus can & will do. The fact that all of this occurred on a Sabbath day means that although religious folk may say that you aren’t supposed to be blessed for whatever reason: it’s not your turn, you made too many mistakes, it’s the wrong day of the week, God decides how and when the power of God will be made manifest in our lives.
Our job is to remain in position and yield to Jesus. When he asks us if we want to be made well we are to cry out “Yes, Lord!” and mean it. Additionally, we cannot allow religious people to discourage us with their judgmental glances, or lofty questions. We must remember to be open minded. If the man trusted the pool for his deliverance more than God he would not have been healed that day, but he believed in God, so he also believed in Jesus (John 14:1). We can get so caught up in how God is “supposed” to bless us that we may miss the miracle expecting things to happen a certain way. Or things could be happening in an expected fashion and we could make the mistake of assuming we are far from a miracle occurring. We must always be aware of the truth that we serve the God of the impossible who knows our needs. I am thanking God that everyone who reads this has an immediate ‘pallet pick up’ moment. The pallet could be illness, lack, depression, fear, rejection, self-hatred, bitterness, selfishness, greed, people pleasing, addiction, idolatry, gossiping, laziness, weariness, or anger which all once carried us further away from God’s will for our lives but today, in Jesus name we can pick those things up and carry them. When the religious folk comment we can boldly respond in love, and turn our miracle into ministry.