5:13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had disappeared in the crowd that was there.

14 Later Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you have been made well! Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16 Therefore the Jews started persecuting Jesus, because he was doing such things on the sabbath.

This story upsets many of our beliefs about how God should work. We want healing to come in response to faith. We want the gifts of God to be showered upon those who we believe deserve such blessing. But there is almost nothing in the words or attitudes of this man who has been healed that makes him in any way a likely candidate for healing.

He does not ask to be healed. He makes no expression of faith in Jesus’ ability to heal. And, even after he has been healed, John says that the man did not know who it was from whom he had received this extraordinary gift.

To make matters worse, when the healed man discovers the identity of his healer, he rushes immediately to inform the religious officials that the healing and the command to carry his mat on the sabbath came from Jesus. The man could hardly have been unaware that the attitude of the religious legalists to whom he reported Jesus would have been violently antagonistic. He would have known that their anger would be directed towards anyone who would command a person to violate the sabbath by carrying his mat on the sacred day when all work was strictly forbidden.

So, it comes as no surprise that Jesus says to this man who has been physically healed that he should

not sin any more.

No specific sin is identified. And there is no claim that Jesus suggested the man’s sin was the cause of his physical illness, although he does say that if the man continues to sin something “worse” might happen to him. What could be worse than thirty-eight years of debilitating illness?

For an answer to this question, we do not need to look much further than the reaction to Jesus of the religious leaders in the next two verses which we will look at tomorrow.