There are parts of learning that I really like. Sometimes the process of learning is very difficult, but for the most part, I enjoy it. I enjoy knowing intricacies and details. I think part of why is because learning more helps me feel better prepared to make decisions. I also just really enjoy making a new discovery. This is one of the things I really appreciate about scripture. No matter how often I have read a passage, God will almost always teach me something new or show me a new detail.
Today I was reading in John 5 and part of the story recorded in this chapter stood out to me in a new way. The main story in the chapter is about Jesus healing a man who is described as an invalid for 38 years. Jesus heals him and then disappears in the crowd. Later, Jesus finds him in the temple and makes a very powerful statement. This is what stood out to me today. Jesus says, “Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.”
What struck me about this statement was the truth of how powerful the effects sin are. It is nothing really new to me- it did not take me very long in life to realize the damage that sin causes- but there was a new comparison for me in this story that made the truth come alive. The impression left on me is that Jesus was saying to the man, “You thought being a lame, invalid for 38 years was bad… Sin is much more devastating.”
I know that “the wages of sin is death.” I know it destroys relationships and causes pain. But something about comparing the outcomes of sin to being worse than living an invalid… that connected to me. It would be really bad to be in that guy’s situation- an invalid with no help, no hope, continually being overlooked, and no one who cares. It’s a bad place to live. But Jesus says living in sin is worse…. There is a deeper issue than just being sick and invalid.
This has caused me to stop and think. During this season of Lent, part of the focus is to realize the gravity of our sin and what it cost Jesus to overcome it. This passage, in a new and fresh way, is helping me focus. I hope it maybe stands out to you as well.