After thirty-eight years of illness, the man by the pool of Bethesda had encountered Jesus. As a result, he, who had had no friend to carry him into the pool when the angel troubled the waters, was now walking through the city with his bedroll on his shoulder. It was the Sabbath Day.
Some of the Jewish leaders, seeing him carry his bedroll, objected. “You can’t work on the Sabbath!” they told him. “The Law does not allow you to carry your bed.”
“The man who healed me,” he replied, “told me to pick up my bed and walk.”
“Who told you to do that?” they asked him. But he could not tell them, because Jesus had disappeared into the crowd.
Later, Jesus found this man in the temple. “You have been healed now,” He told him. “Do not continue to sin, or something worse will happen to you.” And the man who had been healed told the Jewish leaders who had questioned him that Jesus was the one who had healed him and told him to carry his bed. The Jewish leaders began to harass Jesus for healing on the Sabbath.
Jesus had healed this man, regardless of his physical and spiritual condition– in other words, completely by Grace. And that is how each of us receives healing and forgiveness, by Grace alone.
Having received this Grace, do we treasure it? Do we show our gratitude in love and obedience and loyalty to the Grace-giver? It is possible, as Jesus pointed out, to abuse the Grace, and the consequences are terrible.
As I chopped firewood the other night, I pondered the question “Where does Grace end and works begin?” This was the answer I came to; “Grace never ends. And works begin once we truly understand this.”