The Evangelical Universalist Forum

The Love of God - Jesus heals a man with no faith and poor

Why would Jesus heal a man of no faith and poor character (in John 5)? It may trouble our sense of fairness - shouldn’t it only be the people of great faith and good character who are blessed with God’s healing? But then if we’re honest universal salvation may trouble us similarly. Yet we can be thankful that we have a God who loves like this.

I think you’re being too critical of the man.

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How so? I think the man snitching on Jesus to the Jews after being healed was pretty awful.

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@mcarans I don’t think of it as “snitching”. If I had a physical disability and someone worked a miracle to heal me, I would want to give the healer credit, without thinking twice.

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This is the difference between an airline pilot and a flying instructor. The first wants to deliver you as safely and comfortably as possible to the destination you have chosen. The second wants you to learn even at the expense of discomfort, fear and on occasion blind panic.

God is more like the instructor.

Many years ago I was in a Cessna 172 on a cross-country exercise. I didn’t know it but this aeroplane had a rather bad-tempered gyrocompass. We flew from Blackbushe to Shoreham, and then I made the turn towards our next waypoint. The gyro hit the stops in the turn and precessed off by about 20 degrees. After a while DR stopped matching the ground features. I turned to the instructor and said, “I think we are out of position.” He folded his arms and said “I wondered how long it would take you to notice. You’re supposed to be learning, do something about it.”

Quick check round the instruments. Gyro and magnetic compasses are way off. Reset gyro. Visually match ground features until I have a good position, recalculate and set up a new heading.

The point here is not only does God want to heal, he wants us to learn something as well. If we are to judge angels we must learn how to behave to our fellow humans, and that means not judging them on very limited information.

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Do you think he was so naive about the Jewish leaders’ intentions towards Jesus?

In general I agree with you. For this story though, the character of the man makes a difference to the interpretation of the passage. If he is of good character then we conclude that only good people get healed but if he is if bad character then God’s grace towards all people is demonstrated.

Yes, I do

Remember that the man had just been questioned for breaking the Sabbath for carrying his mat. So he knew a Jewish law had been broken and that it was a very serious offence. Then he went and told the Jewish leaders that Jesus had healed him and also told him to carry his mat on the Sabbath. He must have known this would get Jesus in trouble.

Well it doesn’t take too much imagination to propose… the guy is ecstatic, running around with his mat rolled up under his arm to which such commotion attracts the attention of the Pharisees, and ever the self-righteous killjoys demand to know why he is breaking the Sabbath, to which he replies… “are kidding, this guy Jesus just healed me!!

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I would agree that he could be naive if he had had only one meeting with the Jewish leaders. What makes me think he wasn’t was the way he went to them.

First the Jewish leaders approach him and tell him he is breaking the Sabbath by carrying his mat. So he says a man (whose name he doesn’t know at this point) told him to do it.

However after Jesus later comes to him and tells him his name, he approaches the Jewish leaders to give them Jesus’s name having had time to process his healing and earlier confrontation with the Jewish leaders.

IMO it just doesn’t make logical sense for a long term paralytic instantly healed to dis on Jesus in terms of reflecting some sort of recalcitrant attitude. He may have been fearful, having been bailed up by the religious crew, i.e., they may have had the power to obstruct his now participation at the temple… where Jesus found him; he simply lets them know it was actually Jesus who healed him seeing as they had previously asked. Who really knows?

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