What’s Really Important To Religious Leaders

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.” (John 5:8-10)

In this passage Jesus does a wonderful thing by completely curing a man who had been lame for 38 years! instead of recognizing the theological implications of this miracle, the religious leaders immediately criticize the man for picking up his bed and going home! I guess they expected him to sit around the pool for another day pretending that he was still lame!

The simple fact of the matter is that there is no clear commandment in the Old Testament that says that this man cannot pick up his bed and go home. When these leaders said that “the law” forbid the man to pick up his bed, what they meant was that their interpretation of the law forbid the man to pick up his bed. They expected him and all other Jews to follow a set of rules that were not in the Torah, but rather, they themselves had invented (modern Rabbinic Judaism does the same thing). This gave them power over other Jews and importance. They enjoyed being judges of everyone else, which is why they got so mad over such a little thing.

Many religious leaders today will do the same thing. For instance, Catholic priests get angry if you get baptized without them and their particular rights, even though the Bible never says that you need one of them to baptize you. They do not get mad because you didn’t follow God or the Bible, rather they get mad because you did not bow to the authority that they have taken upon themselves

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