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"Just Asking for a Fight"
By Rev. Wayne Palmer

Read John 5:1-24.
"This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him,
because not only was He breaking the Sabbath, but He was
even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with
God" (John 5:18). 

Lenten Devotion- Jesus left Jerusalem when things got pretty
tense, but now with a Jewish festival at hand, He heads right
back down toward the temple again. And He turns the heat
back up by healing an invalid on the Sabbath.

Jesus' enemies protest to this breaking of their Sabbath rules.
His perfectly natural answer totally enrages them. He says,
"My Father is working until now, and I am working." Instead
of seeing the Light, they stand in the darkness protesting that
Jesus is making Himself equal to God. But protest as loud as
they will, Jesus knows who He is and refuses to back down.

The darkness of their thinking is amazing. They would have
kept a man trapped in his paralyzed body to keep their
Sabbath rules. Thankfully, Jesus saw it differently. And He
sees it differently for you and me too. He sees us trapped and
helpless in our sins. And just as Jesus stood up for a paralyzed
man and set him free on the Sabbath, so will He stand up to
any and all opposition to set us free -- even though it cost Him
His life on the cross.

In the coming days we will see Jesus turn up the noise even
louder and see His enemies respond with more hatred. But we
will also see Him sacrifice Himself for them. Hanging from the
cross He will answer their taunts with a plea: "Father, forgive
them, for they do not know what they are doing. ..."
(Luke 23:34a).


Lord Jesus, You suffered and died to set me free. Fill me and
all Your children with joy and courage to share Your great story
of sacrifice and dedication to everyone. Amen.

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