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Q3. Spiritual Blindness

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 1. Why are the "sabbath police" (the Pharisees) so upset at the man who is healed?

The "sabbath police," or the Pharisees, were so upset at this man who had been healed because he was breaking the rules they strictly followed and strictly forced others to follow. The Pharisees took many of God's true commandments, rules, and laws, and modified them, creating a bunch of fake laws, that they held to still be God's laws. As a result of this, the Pharisees condemned and got mad at those people who didn't perfectly follow their rules because they were breaking "God's Laws," which were really more the Pharisees' than God's, and disobeying and dishonouring God.

2. How can a person be so intent on rules that they miss what God is doing?

I believe the real origin of "works righteousness" starts off with the way a person is raised. If a person is raised in an environment where every good and bad thing has a reward or a consequence, than they're very likely to grow up keeping those same beliefs about God. They begin to fear God when they do something wrong and sin, thinking that God is going to severely punish them, which He usually doesn't do (although in some cases like Sodom and Gomorrah, or Jonah and the whale, He did), and that causes them to then focus on following all the rules, to avoid the assumed "certain punishment" of God. The problem with that, though, is that that person then stops focusing on God entirely, and instead only focuses on the rules, thinking that the rules can get them saved, not realizing that it's only God who saves!!!

3. Have you ever caught yourself doing that? 

Yes, very, very many times... Like I said in the previous answer, this "works righteousness" usually stems from the way a child is raised, and as a child, I was raised with having very high expectations of doing really good and never failing anyone or anything. As you can imagine, the way i was raised up damaged and still damages my spiritual life to this day. I often think that if I don't do something then God will get mad at me, or if I don't do something right He'll be disappointed in me. Lately though, I've been struggling with resting. I somehow got it into my mind that if I'm resting and doing something other than reading my Bible, praying, etc. (like watching something or spending time with family), then I'm not loving God enough and I'm not putting Him first in my life. Because of this, I made a sort of rule that I have to read this much of my Bible and spend this much time with God before I'm allowed to rest, and it has not helped me rest at all. Instead, it's kept me from getting barely any rest at all. It's actually made me feel guilty when I do rest, making me think that I'm not putting God first in my life because I'm doing something else. 

4. Has someone in your church been so intent on "how we do things here" that they couldn't see God at work?

I haven't really seen this "how we do things here" attitude in somebody particular in my church, but I have seen this "how we do things here" attitude in my church as a whole. I go to a small orthodox church, and because of that, there are many different traditions and rules we follow. Are they bad or unBiblical traditions, no, not necessarily, but the problem is my church mainly focuses on following those exact rules and traditions, instead of God. We read and do close to the exact same thing every Sunday, we have a whole bunch of rules of what is allowed and what isn't allowed, and we even have specific sayings that require a specific answer (like "glory to Jesus Christ" requires the answer of "glory forever"). My church is a good church, but I do often fear that it focuses more on the rules and traditions and misses out on God and His working in something...

5. What is the sin of the Pharisees here?

The Pharisees' sin here is that they didn't care about this man, but only about the Law and the rules. They didn't see that it was more important to save life on the Sabbath than to follow the rules (Mark 3:4; Luke 6:9) and so, they were willing to do harm on the Sabbath, just to follow the rules. We must remember that "the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27). ("So the Son of Man [Jesus Christ] is Lord even of the Sabbath" Mark 2:28).



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  • 3 months later...

Q3.  (John 5:9-13)

Why are the "sabbath police" (the Pharisees) so upset at the man who is healed?

It was the Sabbath. He was carrying his "bed". According to man-made rules or traditions this was classified as work. 

How can a person be so intent on rules that they miss what God is doing?

Keeping rules to let things work out rigidly "right" and according to a pattern or mold, is what is felt comfortable with. Deeds to them are important. Grace does not come into the equation. They then miss out when God performs the extraordinary. 

Have you ever caught yourself doing that?

Has someone in your church been so intent on "how we do things here" that they couldn't see God at work?

What is the sin of the Pharisees here?

The Pharisees look on the man-made rules which were broken, and do not even notice the healing which took place. 

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