second touch | John 5.14-15
Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. John 5.14-15 | ESV
Then, suddenly, Jesus finds him again in the temple courtyards and he spoke a second pronouncement over the healed man: “Well, look at that. You’ve been made whole and you’re walking free and easy – so let’s keep it this way! You know it was your wild, rebellious ways that landed you by that pool all those years ago. No repeats, now. Be done with it. Keep on walking, far away from that lame lifestyle, or you may just find yourself in an even tighter spot!” Now the man had him pegged. It was Jesus. And he may not have thanked him, but he didn’t waste any time making tracks to the religious large and in charge and tattling that Jesus was the one who made him healthy and whole. MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
Okay, now I’m really starting to get annoyed with this guy.
Probably because I see too much of myself in him (don’t you hate it when that happens!).
I’m trying to decide which word better suits him or at least his conduct (me, my conduct).
Let’s get this straight.
A man heals him, tells him, after thirty-eight years of being immobile and stuck on that mat, to get up, pick up that mat, and get moving. And he does. When he’s confronted with Sabbath-breaking over the whole mat-carrying business, he immediately points at his benefactor – only he can’t identify him, because, that’s right, he didn’t take the time to ask for his name or thank him (okay, maybe I’m not being fair, but let’s run with this scenario). Then his Benefactor encounters him a second time, fortunately wearing his name badge, and what does he do? The text is silent on anything he might have said or done during this second encounter. In fact, he seems incredibly passive through this entire tale.
Methinks more than his legs were paralyzed.
What we do know is that he runs with those newly functioning legs and tattles on the Benefactor who restored his use of them.
And now the manhunt for Jesus is on. Why such ingratitude? How can you tattle on your own Benefactor? How low can you go anyway?
Maybe he didn’t care for the message in Jesus’ second touch.
The first touch was primarily on the level of his body; the second was right at his heart. “You’re body is healthy and functioning. But how’s your heart? Time to truly move on, my friend, because if you don’t, you’ll find yourself in an even worse fix.”
Oh the cost of being healthy! Yeah, perhaps the message of that second touch just didn’t sit well with him. But I honestly find myself wondering at this point if he even heard what Jesus had said.
How desperately we need the second touch.
Most of us live at the level of the first touch – our bodily needs, physical necessities, pressing outer circumstances and obstacles. If I can just get someone to care enough to help me work through this, I could really get somewhere! How we resist the intrusion, the downright rude interruption of the second touch. “You want to really move on and keep moving on? Better tend to your heart, friend.”
Yep. We might tattle on him too.
Where in your life are you sensing the need for a “second touch”? How open and ready are you to receive it?
Abba, as I contemplate a first and second touch from you, let my overwhelming response be with Peter, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” Thank you for encountering me once, twice, or as often as needed to awaken and stir me to life deep in the heart of me. Do it again now. Through Christ.