In our last message we saw Jesus in Jerusalem at a pool called Bethesda where he healed a man who was paralyzed for 38 yrs. Jesus did this on a Sabbath. We did highlight that Sabbath was the day the God had decided that the Jews will remember and keep holy. God said no work should be done on that day. Now let’s see in the next message why it was so important to mention that it was Sabbath.
John 5:10-18 (ESVST)
So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.”
The law of Sabbath as given by God through Moses and did state that no work should be done on the sabbath however, it did not stipulate what kind of work. It is safe and makes sense to assume that this refered to one’s daily duties that one did throughout the week. However, “completely no work whatsoever” is how the Jews interpreted this. Jews went as far as to say you cannot even heal or cure a person on sabbath unless it is life threatening. You cannot so far as pick up wood. In this verse, we see one of those ridiculous regulations that they put in place that on sabbath, it is unlawful to carry one’s bed.
11 But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk. ’” 12 They asked him, “ Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk ’?” 13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place.
Now, the man told them that the one who had healed him, told him to take up his bed and walk but he did not know who it was. So, he is saying, I am aware that it is unlawful but, it is not my fault, I was told to do it by the one who healed me. Now this according to the Jews was a betrayal of Sabbath. Jesus had just betrayed sabbath.
14 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.”
After the Jews questioned the man, Jesus later found him in the temple and said to him now that you see that you are well, sin no more that nothing worse may happen to you. Now, it was generally accepted that when a man is sick, he must have sinned, not always but, that was the norm. That is why Jesus disciples asked him this:
John 9:2 (ESVST)
And his disciples asked him, “ Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Look at this verse as well:
James 5:15 (ESVST)
And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
Jesus here is therefore saying, you have sinned and you were sick, now sin no more that nothing worse may happen to you. By this Jesus was referring to judgement and eternal hell which clearly would be worse than being paralyzed.
15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. 16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath.
After realizing it was Jesus who healed him, the man went and told the Jews that it was Jesus who healed him and the bible says that this is the reason why they were persecuting him. The word persecuting is in a continuos tense meaning that this would not have been the first time they were persecuting him but they have being doing it even before. The Jews’s reason for persecuting Jesus was that he was doing these things on the sabbath, indicating that this was not the only thing that he did on sabbath.
17 But Jesus answered them, “ My Father is working until now, and I am working.”
Jesus Is Equal with God
Jesus answered them by saying that his father, meaning God, is working until now and I am working. It was generally accepted that God never ceases to work. Although he did rest on the seventh day,it does not mean that he then never resumed work again. So Jesus is saying just like May father is working, I am also working.
18 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.
They simply could not bear what Jesus was doing because they completely missed the point of the law and stuck to their own traditions. They charged Jesus with the breaking of sabbath and making himself God. What they did not understand was that he is God and he is The Lord of Sabbath. The law of sabbath never prohibited doing good on sabbath.
What was then Jesus’s response to them? We will see that in our next message.