Monday, October 30, 2023

Who Deserves Mercy?

"If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." – John 8:7

It’s one of the most beloved accounts in any of the Gospels.

In John 8, Jesus was teaching in the temple courts when he was rudely interrupted by the teachers of the law and some Pharisees. They brought Him a woman and said: “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now, what do you say?” (vs. 4-5). And then John adds a quick little FYI in verse 6: “They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.”

You see, the religious leaders knew that if Jesus said they SHOULDN’T stone the woman, they could arrest Him for rebelling against the Law of Moses. On the other hand, if Jesus said the woman SHOULD be stoned, He could be arrested by the government, because it was against Roman law for the Jews to carry out capital punishment without Roman approval.  So, Jesus was stuck with a lose-lose question. Or so everyone thought.

But Jesus’ response in verse 7 is genius: “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

At that, the woman’s accusers slunk away, one by one, too convicted by their own sins to start hurling rocks. When Jesus was left alone with the woman, He asked, “Has no one condemned you?” And when she responded with a “no,” He said, “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin” (v. 11).

Jesus showed the woman mercy – undeserved forgiveness. And in this passage, Jesus gives us three important lessons about showing mercy:

1. Legalists prefer to CONDEMN. Jesus prefers to FORGIVE. Often, it’s easier to condemn than it is to forgive. But when we start preferring condemnation over forgiveness, we can be sure that we are following in the footsteps of the Pharisees. Forgiveness is the path of Christ.

2. Jesus’ mercy comes with an implied warning: “If you reject My mercy, one day you will suffer God’s wrath.” Some Christians think that Jesus was soft on this woman’s sin. But He really wasn’t. Notice that He didn’t just say, “Neither do I condemn you. Tell your lover I said ‘Hi!’” He said, “Go now and leave your life of sin.” Jesus called upon this woman to make a radical change in her life.

4. Where legalists see miserable sinners, Jesus sees potential saints. Throughout the New Testament, we see lives radically transformed by following Jesus Christ. God doesn’t offer us a time machine to go back and change what we’ve done. But Jesus Christ gives us the next best thing: a second chance. Jesus is the God of second chances. He gives you the opportunity to change your life – beginning today.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for worship on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. at 16209 Kamana Road in Apple Valley, or livestream us on Facebook or YouTube. For more information, visit

Sunday, October 29, 2023

So what does the Bible say about ghosts?

It’s almost Halloween … so what does the Bible say about ghosts?

Every October, millions of our Southern California family members, friends and neighbors have a renewed interest in ghosts, goblins and all things haunted. In fact, in recent years SoCal theme park owners have discovered that transforming their amusement parks into scare parks is a great way to see their profits soar.

When it comes to the paranormal, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. So, what does the Bible teach us about ghosts? Are they real?

Well, that depends on what you mean by “ghosts.” If by “ghosts” you’re referring to “spirit beings,” the Bible answers with an unequivocal “Yes!” The Bible is clear that Christians’ struggle “is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

But if by “ghosts” you’re referring to “the disembodied spirits of people who have died,” the Bible’s answer is a resounding “No!” Consider one of the key verses that proves this, Hebrews 9:27: “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” In other words, once a person dies, there is no in-between place where his/her spirit can communicate with or interact with the living before he/she faces God’s eternal judgment.

So, when the Bible speaks of invisible “spirits” who may, sometimes, interact with us in the physical world, who or what are they? Simply put, they are either angels or demons. Angels are good spirits who serve God and carry out His marching orders. And demons are evil spirits who align with Satan’s goals to steal, kill and destroy. And according to 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, sometimes demons “masquerade as angels of light.”

So, hypothetically, could a demon masquerade as the ghost of a dead family member, a long-lost saint or even as an alien from another planet?

Certainly! Hence, the Bible teaches us to be on guard against the enemy’s schemes (Ephesians 6:10-11). Faith in Jesus Christ provides a shield that protects us from needless fear about any so-called “spirits” who might try to sidetrack us from trusting, loving and obeying God.

Here is one final Bible verse to consider. After teaching us that God is love, the Apostle John tells us plainly, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for worship on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. at 16209 Kamana Road in Apple Valley, or livestream us on Facebook or YouTube. For more information, visit

Saturday, October 14, 2023

How Can I Do God’s Will?

 “Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” – John 7:17

Over the past few years, several studies have confirmed what many of us have suspected: Christianity is not growing in the United States. It’s actually on the decline. As the years go by, fewer families go to church. Fewer adults and teenagers claim to be Christians. And the percentage of Americans who don’t believe in the existence of God is growing at an alarming rate.

In 2021, Arizona Christian University’s Cultural Research Center published the results from their latest survey about Americans’ belief in God. It showed a sharp decline in belief with each new generation. 83% of Americans born before 1945 say they believe in God. 79% of Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) say they believe in God. 70% of Gen Xers (born 1965-1983) and 57% of Millennials (born 1984-2002) identify as Christians. Meanwhile, 43% of Millennials say they “don’t know, care, or believe that God exists.”

We would like to think that with each passing year, the number of people who are getting saved is outpacing the number of people who are choosing not to get saved. But it’s simply not true. And sadly, what is true in 2023 was also true in Jesus’ day.

In John 6:66 (notice the verse number), we read: “From this time many of [Jesus’] disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.” That verse marks a heartbreaking turning point in Jesus’ ministry. For over two years, Jesus had shared the good news of salvation, explained the Scriptures and healed the sick. He offered the people of Israel faith, hope and unconditional love. But many of them responded by grumbling and walking away—unappreciative, unchanged and filled with unbelief. As Jesus entered his final year of ministry, the crowds that gathered by the thousands to hear Him preach became few and far between.

By the beginning of John 7, Jesus had begun to avoid Judea because He knew the religious leaders there “were waiting to take his life” (v. 1). But after His brothers left for the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus went there on His own in secret (v. 10). He knew the religious leaders would be looking for Him—and evidently, the crowds were on the lookout for Him too. There was a lot of secret chatter among them. Some whispered, “He is a good man,” while others whispered, “No, He deceives the people” (vs. 12 & 13). But regardless of their opinions, they tried to keep a lid on it, because the religious leaders were acting weird when the subject of Jesus came up. The people didn’t know the extent of the leaders’ hatred for Jesus, but they knew they didn’t want to get caught in the crossfire.

On the fourth day of the feast, Jesus began teaching in the temple courts. Even his foes were blown away. The religious leaders exclaimed, “How did this man get such learning without having studied?” (v. 15). They were astounded that Jesus was teaching circles around many of their highly-educated rabbis. Jesus explained that His teaching came from “Him who sent Me” (v. 16). Then He added, “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether My teaching comes from God or whether I speak on My own” (v. 17). In other words: We learn by doing. So, if you don’t understand everything you need to know to live a life that pleases God, put the little bit you DO know into practice. As you walk in obedience to the parts of God’s will that you already know, He will unlock your understanding to the truths that you don’t know … yet.

Here are two Life Lessons we can draw from the previous passage:

Life Lesson #1: People will always hold many different opinions about Jesus. But believe and live your life by this truth: Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God. Believing that Jesus was JUST a good man, a good teacher or a prophet are not logical options, because He claimed to be the Son of God. So, there are only three logical options: He is a liar, a lunatic or He is Lord. So, choose one.

Life Lesson #2: If you want to UNDERSTAND God’s will, begin by DOING God’s will. You will learn God’s Word by living God’s Word. It’s often been said: “It’s easier to steer a moving car.” So, get moving, and God’s will for your life will become much, much clearer.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for worship on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. at 16209 Kamana Road in Apple Valley, or livestream us on Facebook or YouTube. For more information, visit

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Eat Your Soul Food First!

 “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you." – John 6:27

There’s an activity that most people will participate in at least 20 times this week. Chances are, you did it this morning, and you’ll probably do it a few more times today. You can perform this activity alone, but if you’re like most people, you prefer to share it with others. This activity is a part of every party, most dates and even major holidays. Of course, I’m talking about … eating. Food is an important part of our lives, isn’t it?

So, chew on this for a moment: No matter how poor you think you are, you enjoy a luxury that several billion people on earth don’t have. You don’t have to worry about where your next meal is coming from. But in First Century Israel, many people did. So, in the early verses of John chapter 6, when Jesus performed a miracle and fed 5,000 men an all-you-can-eat fish and biscuit dinner, it was a HUGE deal. That may have been the first time in a long time that some of those people went to bed with full bellies. That’s why, in the middle of the chapter, it’s not surprising that many people in the crowd who were fed by Jesus yesterday, want him to feed them again today.

When the crowd tracked Jesus down in Capernaum, He called them on it: “You are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill” (v. 26). As William Barclay puts it, “It is as if Jesus said: ‘You cannot think about your souls for thinking of your stomachs.’” Sadly, what was true of so many people in Jesus’ day is equally true of many people in our day. Jesus told them, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (v. 27). He’s telling the crowd to stop chasing after STOMACH food that is only edible for a short time. Instead, Jesus tells them to chase after SOUL food—food that never spoils, and which nourishes for all eternity.

Verse 27 actually sounds like a paradox. Jesus is telling them to WORK for “food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will GIVE you.” When we work for something, it’s not a gift. Right? But the people are fixated on the “work” and are overlooking the “gift” as they ask Jesus: “What must we do to do the works God requires?” (v. 28). The crowd wanted to know what every one us has wanted to know at some point: “What do I need to DO to get on God’s good side? What do I need to DO to make it to heaven some day?” When we ask these questions, we’re asking for some sort of to-do list. “Read your Bible and pray every day. Go to church every Sunday. Help 100 old ladies across the street.” That type of list makes sense to us.

But in verse 29, Jesus responds with some of the simplest yet most profound theology in the entire book of John: “The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.”

Here are three Life Lessons we can take away from these passages:

Life Lesson #1: Your old nature craves PHYSICAL food to the exclusion of SPIRITUAL food. So, keep your priorities straight. Feed your spirit before you feed your face. Jesus urged the crowd in Capernaum to stop working for food that perishes, but instead to work for food that endures. In John 6, the people who came to Jesus were physically hungry. But this second time, Jesus refused to give in to their physical cravings. Instead, He fed their spirit. That’s a good model to follow. Before you feed your face, make sure you feed your spirit. The health of your eternal spirit is infinitely more important than the health of your temporary body.  

Life Lesson #2: Grace and truth both come through Jesus Christ, and you need them both. Why did Jesus feed the 5,000 on the other side of the Sea of Galilee? Well, He did it because He had compassion on the crowds. He also did it to teach his 12 disciples some important lessons. But He also did it to show the crowd God’s grace so that they would be more open to receiving God’s truth. His grace included physical bread. But the truth was: What they most needed was the eternal Bread of Life, Jesus Christ. Over the years, you’ve accepted many gracious gifts from Jesus—your health, your family, your job. However, have you rejected the truth of Jesus … that unless you place your faith in Jesus Christ, none of your good works will matter on Judgment Day? You can’t go to church enough times, or give away enough money, or walk enough old ladies across the street to escape God’s judgment.

Life Lesson #3: If you want to be right with God and make it to heaven one day, there’s only one good work that God finds acceptable: Believe in Jesus and keep believing in Jesus. In Hebrews 11:6, we read that “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Pleasing God begins with believing in Jesus as your Savior and Lord. And once you are saved, you can only continue pleasing God by continuing to believe in Jesus.

Far too many Christians believe in Jesus for salvation and then spend the rest of their lives believing in themselves. That’s stupid! If you trust that Jesus can snatch your rotten soul out of Satan’s grubby hand, why on earth don’t you trust that Jesus can help you with every other problem you’ve got? Walk by faith. Talk by faith. Pray, read your Bible and make your decisions by faith. Your belief in Jesus Christ should permeate EVERYTHING in your life.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for worship on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. at 16209 Kamana Road in Apple Valley, or livestream us on Facebook or YouTube. For more information, visit

Friday, October 6, 2023

Jesus Can Do a Lot With Your “Little”

 “Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.” – John 6:11

Over the years, I’ve seen my share of dumb movies. And I’ve got to admit … I do have a few favorites. One of my favorite dumb movies of all time is the Steve Martin and Chevy Chase comedy, “The Three Amigos.”

The year is 1916. Three bumbling silent movie stars, the Three Amigos, are called upon to rescue the people of a small Mexican town from the infamous El Guapo. This villain and his ruthless banditos have been terrorizing the people of Santo Poco. Late in the movie, El Guapo and his men mount their horses and ride toward Santo Poco to unleash their fury on the town one last time. And the Three Amigos rally the townspeople to do something they’d never done before: stand up and fight.

In a rousing speech, one of the Amigos asks the townspeople: “What is it that this town really does well?” Most of the people stand with baffled looks on their faces. But after a few seconds, one of the senoras speaks up: “We can sew.” Well, it wasn’t much to work with, but it was better than nothing. So, the people of Santo Poco begin sewing like the wind, making Three Amigos costumes for everyone in the village. And when El Guapo and his banditos roll into town, instead of fighting three amigos, it looks like they’re facing 100 amigos. El Guapo is defeated, the Three Amigos ride off into the sunset, and the people of Santo Poco live happily ever after.

Well, in John 6, Jesus demonstrates his amazing ability to multiply what we bring to Him. Jesus stands in front of a crowd of over 10,000 people who are facing their own El Guapo: Hunger. And Jesus saves the day by taking one boy’s measly lunch and multiplying it to meet the need.

Jesus had traveled to the town of Bethaisda to find a “great crowd” of people had followed Him (v. 2). We learn a few verses later that there were around 5,000 men; from Matthew’s gospel account, we know that there were also women and children. So, this crowd had to have totaled over 10,000 people. As mealtime approached, Jesus asked His disciples to help figure out how to feed so many people. At last Andrew brought a boy to Jesus and said, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” (v. 9).

But Jesus told his 12 apostles to get the crowd ready for lunch by asking them to sit down. Then Jesus took the loaves and gave thanks (v. 11). Once Jesus had broken the bread and fish into smaller pieces, He gave the pieces to the apostles, who in turn gave them to the people in the crowd. And the sight must have been amazing. One loaf became two, two became four, and four became eight, until over 10,000 people were completely full – with twelve baskets of leftovers.

Here are three Life Lessons we can draw from these passages:

1. A Lesson from the Disciples: When God places someone in your path who needs something that Christ wants to give them through you, don’t send them away empty-handed. I don’t believe God expects us to meet the needs of every person who crosses our path. But if you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, you’d better believe that on a regular basis, God is going to place people in your path—people who need something that God wants you to give them. It might just be a kind word to a lady in line at the Dollar Tree. Maybe it’s your coworker who needs someone to invite him to church, or the homeless guy on the sidewalk in front of McDonald’s who just needs a burger. How do you know if the person in your path has been placed there by God to receive something from you? You pray without ceasing. Every day, go to God and pray: “Use me today, God. I don’t want everyone who crosses my path today to leave empty-handed. So, show me who You want me to bless.”

2. A Lesson from the Boy: “Whenever there is a need, give all that you have to Jesus and let Him do the rest” (Warren Wiersbe).  What a loss it would have been to that crowd of 10,000—and to the hundreds of millions of people who have heard this story over the past 2,000 years—if Andrew hadn’t brought the boy to Jesus. The boy didn’t have much, but what he had, he brought to Jesus. You might not think you have much to give. That’s okay. Bring ALL that you have to Jesus, and let Him take care of the rest.

A Lesson from Jesus: Jesus says, in effect, “You do the addition. I’ll take care of the multiplication” (Chuck Swindoll). Each miraculous sign in the Book of John reveals something about Jesus: who He is and what He came to earth to do. This miraculous sign reveals that He is the Great Need-Meeter, the one the Jews had prayed to for centuries. He is the Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth. There’s not a problem that Jesus can’t solve. There’s not a need that Jesus can’t meet. There’s not a shortage that Jesus can’t turn into a surplus. But nine times out of 10, Jesus will NOT meet our needs out of thin air. You and I must put in ALL that we have on the table and trust Him to multiply it. And this applies to all areas of your faith. You must surrender your WHOLE life to Christ – your time, your talents, your treasures – if you truly want Him to work through you and accomplish things beyond all you could ask or think.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us tomorrow for Back to Church Sunday! Our worship services are at 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. at 16209 Kamana Road in Apple Valley, or livestream us on Facebook or YouTube. For more information, visit

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Did Jesus Really Claim to Be God?

 “The Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. – John 5:22-23

Not too many years ago, a well-respected leader stepped up to a microphone and spoke to a crowded room of supporters. His greatest desire was to convince them that his religion was superior to every other. To the surprise of many people in the crowd, the speaker had a lot of nice things to say about … Jesus. He praised Jesus as a genuine prophet, a wise teacher and a worthy example of human goodness. But then he said, “Jesus is ALL these things, but He never claimed to be anything more than a man. He never claimed to be God.”

So, let me ask you: Is he right? Truth be told, we don’t have a record of Jesus ever speaking the words: “I am God.” So, did Jesus ever really claim to be God?

The religious leaders of Jesus’ time certainly thought so. Within minutes of Jesus healing the crippled man at the Pool of Bethesda, these leaders started griping. At first they complained because the man who Jesus had healed was holding his bedroll—carrying a “burden” on the Sabbath (John 5:10). When the man said that Jesus had told him to carry it, they shifted their attack to Jesus. And their attack intensified when Jesus declared in verse 17: “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working.”

John explains why those words set the religious leaders’ teeth on edge: “For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill Him; not only was He breaking the Sabbath, but He was even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God” (v.18). Now, if Jesus was being falsely accused of being the Son of God, this would be the perfect opportunity to set the record straight. But Jesus doesn’t voice a rebuttal here in John 5. Instead, He doubles down and makes six claims that reinforce His declaration that He is the Son of God:

Claim #1 (vs. 19-20): My actions and God the Father’s actions are identical. Jesus says flat out, “Whatever the Father does the Son also does,” and the Father “shows Him all He does.” No man—or even any angel—would ever say, “My actions are identical with God’s, and God never does anything that He doesn’t first run by me.” So, the claim that Jesus makes in verses 19-20 is NOT a claim that any human or angel can rightfully make.

Claim #2 (vs. 21 and 26): I raise the dead and give life at will. Chuck Swindoll writes, “This would be an outrageous claim for any mere human. Doctors can give medicine or administer treatment in order to delay death, but they cannot give life to a dead body…. Only God can create something from nothing and then fill it with life…. Only God has the power to restore life.” The Bible makes it clear that God alone is the Creator and Sustainer of life.

Claim #3 (vs. 22 and 27): I am the final judge of the living and the dead. In verse 22, Jesus claims that the Father “has entrusted all judgment to the Son.” And in verse 27, Jesus says that the Father “has given Him authority to judge.” God is the only One in the universe qualified to be the eternal Judge of the living and the dead, because God is the only One in the universe who knows absolutely everything about us. And God is the only One who is perfect both in His love AND in His justice. So, when Jesus claims to be the eternal Judge of the living and the dead, He’s claiming to be all-knowing and perfectly holy.

Claim #4 (v. 23): I am worthy to be honored just as God the Father is honored. Jesus is, in effect, claiming a right to be worshiped just as God the Father is worshiped. Once again, no mere human or angel can rightfully make this claim.

Claim #5 (vs. 24-25): Every person’s eternal destiny hinges on Me. If Jesus is telling the truth, where you spend eternity has nothing to do with how good you were or how wicked you were during your lifetime here on earth, or how religious or irreligious you were. In God’s eyes, the man who has “done good” is the man who has accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and followed Him with his life. And in God’s eyes, the man who has “done evil” is the man who has rejected Him as Savior and Lord and lived life on his own terms.  If Jesus is telling the truth here, where you spend eternity has nothing to do with you at all. It has everything to do with Him. It has everything to do with Jesus.

Claim #6 (vs25-29): At the sound of My voice, every person who has ever died will be resurrected. At first glance, this might seem to be the same as Jesus’ second claim, but it’s not. Jesus’ second claim is that He can raise a dead body to life here on earth. But in verses 25-29, Jesus claims to have the authority to resurrect EVERYONE who has died to live forever.

Now, that you’ve heard Jesus’ claims for Himself, you have to decide. You can’t just call Him a “good teacher” or a “prophet”—because He claimed to be the Son of God. Therefore, there are only three logical options: He is either a liar, a lunatic or Lord of all—Lord of the living and the dead, at whose name one day “Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” Are you willing to receive that which is true? Will you humbly bow before the Son of God, confess Him as your Savior and Lord, turn from your sin and obey His marching orders from this point forward?

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for worship on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. at 16209 Kamana Road in Apple Valley, or livestream us on Facebook or YouTube. For more information, visit

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Do You Show Mercy and Grace?

Jesus said to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. – John 5:8-9 

Imagine you’re awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of a lawnmower. When you get out of bed and step onto the front porch, you see your next-door neighbor, who’s been in a wheelchair for 38 years. And he’s dancing around your front yard, mowing your lawn like he just won the lottery. How would you respond? Would you yell across the yard, “Charlie! I can’t believe it! How on earth did you get out of that wheelchair?” Or would you wave your fist at him and say, “What in tarnation are you doing at this time of night? GET OFF MY LAWN!” 

That’s Pastor Chuck Swindoll’s great illustration of the two different ways religious leaders could have reacted after Jesus healed a paralyzed man in John 5.

The man was one of many disabled people who used to gather around the Pool of Bethesda, hoping for a healing. The name “Bethesda” can be translated as “house of mercy and grace.” But the place didn’t live up to its name. At that time, it was believed that an angel from heaven came down to the pool every now and then to stir up the waters. We know now that this was most likely from an underground spring. But back then, those disabled people believed that the first person into the stirred-up pool would be healed. In other words, the fastest person into the water gets healed—so, most likely, it’s the one who least needs the healing. So, was Bethesda a true house of mercy and grace? Not really!

Thankfully, the God of grace and mercy, Jesus Christ, stepped onto the pool deck. And he wasn’t looking for the fastest or healthiest man to heal. When the paralyzed man explained to Jesus that he had no one to help him get to the water first, Jesus had just one thing to say to him: “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk” (v. 8). Immediately, the man was healed—so he got up and did just that. It should have been a happy ending, right?

But as it turns out, the healing took place on the Sabbath Day, and the religious leaders didn’t take kindly to anyone doing anything that even resembled work on the Sabbath. So, when they saw the healed man walk into the temple courts carrying his bed mat, all the religious leaders could say was, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.” The healed man responded, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk’” (vs. 10-11).

Now, what is the most remarkable detail in this man’s statement? Is it A) that someone had just healed his severed spinal cord and paralyzed legs? Or B) that the healer told him to carry his sleeping bag? That’s a real stumper, isn’t it? But look at what the religious leaders focused on in verse 12. They asked: “Who is this fellow who told you to pick up your mat and walk?”

Be very careful that you don’t make the same mistake that the religious leaders made in John 5. They were so entrenched in their legalism that they completely flushed grace down the toilet. They were staring an earth-shattering miracle right in the face, and all they could see was an out-of-place sleeping bag. How sad!

Here are three Life Lessons we can draw from these passages:

Life Lesson #1: Just like in Jesus’ day, our community is filled with hurting people who are searching for a house of mercy and grace. And as Jesus’ followers, we have what they so desperately need. Every week, people walk through the church door who are hurting or sick. Every week, there are people watching church services online who, like the crippled man, have been pushed around and mistreated, and they feel like they don’t have a friend in the world. You and I who follow Jesus are called to offer them kindness, mercy and grace.

Life Lesson #2: Just like in Jesus’ day, there is healing in the house of mercy and grace. The same Jesus who healed the crippled man in John 5 is working in this world today. And His power to heal back then is still available to heal right now. Maybe you need physical healing. Maybe you long for an emotional healing from depression, anxiety or addiction. Or maybe you recognize your greatest need: a spiritual healing. You need to get saved and be born again. Maybe it’s your day to be healed. But if it’s not, keep coming back to the house of mercy and grace, believing that your healing is coming.

Life Lesson #3: Just like in Jesus’ day, there are wet blankets in the house of mercy and grace. I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised that the religious leaders in His time were ignoring the miracle and focusing on the infraction, because, honestly, sometimes you and I do the same thing. Hurting people are being ministered to and decisions for Christ are being made, but we’re complaining about the service going too long. The Word of God is being preached in power, and Christians are growing in their faith, but we’re all miffed because someone “took my seat.” There are any number of ways that we can be wet blankets in the house of mercy and grace. Let’s stop doing that.

Let’s all be ministers of mercy and grace. Let’s spill mercy and grace all over everybody, and then watch and see what miracles Jesus Christ performs when we do.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us for worship on Sunday at 8:30am or 10am at 16209 Kamana Road in Apple Valley, or livestream us on Facebook or YouTube. For more information, visit