Over time the Jews added hundreds of man-made laws regarding what people could not do on the Sabbath. The Pharisees are more concerned with holding everyone to those laws than showing love and compassion for the people. However, Jesus, who is full of compassion, ignores those man-made laws by “working” on the Sabbath.
First, Jesus heals a lame man lying by the pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath. When the Jews find out, they seek to kill Him. Jesus tells the religious leaders that He is simply working like His Father works on the Sabbath. Now the Jews are really infuriated because He is not only working, but He is also claiming to be God. “Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him.”
However, Jesus does not back down as He continues to claim to be the Son of God – “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner… For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him… he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
Jesus explains that He has a greater witness than John the Baptist, the burning and shining lamp they were willing to listen to for a time. Jesus’ Father, the Lord, is His witness!
However, the Jews refuse to acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God. Instead they continue in their pursuit to catch Jesus breaking their laws. So later, when Jesus’ disciples are walking through the fields and grab some grain to eat, the Pharisees call them out for working on the Sabbath. Then Jesus rebukes the Pharisees with a story about King David and the time he unlawfully ate the showbread from the house of God (1 Samuel 2:16). “And He said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.’” God gave the Sabbath, a day of rest and worship, for our good because God is good, and His intent toward mankind is for mankind to experience His goodness.
We end the reading with Jesus healing a man on the Sabbath in the synagogue in spite of the protest from the Pharisees. Jesus will not stop doing good works because of the threats of man. But the hard-hearted Pharisees aren’t going to stop their attempts to destroy Jesus, the Son of God — “Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.”
Tomorrow Jesus preaches the Sermon on the Mount. Keep reading. (John 5:1-47, Mark 2:23-28, Matthew 12:1-8, Luke 6:1-5, Mark 3:1-6, Matthew 12:9-14, Luke 6:6-11, Matthew 12:15-21)