Daily D – John 5:17
Jesus responded to them, “My Father is still working, and I am working also.”
JOHN 5:17 (CSB)
Does God keep his own laws?
Earlier in this chapter of John’s Gospel, Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath who had been disabled for thirty-eight years (verse 5). Then he told the man, “Pick up your mat and walk,” (verse 11).
Carrying a load from one house to another on the Sabbath was forbidden by the Tradition as a protective measure to prevent a person from breaking God’s law against work on the Sabbath. Jesus instructed the man to break the Tradition which was considered a more serious violation than breaking the Tradition himself. Causing someone else to sin was a greater sin than the sin the other person committed.
When Jesus was inevitably confronted on this matter he said, “My Father is still working, and I am working also.” At first glance, Jesus does not say much here that we are not accustomed to hearing. Look closer.
Jesus said, “My Father.” This little pronoun followed by this noun is a powerful theological construction. The Jews understood immediately what Jesus meant. “Not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal to God,” (verse 18).
The pronoun, My, denotes an exclusive relationship. It is what John has been telling us since 1:1. It is the main feature of 3:16, 17. Jesus has a unique, one-of-a-kind relationship with God the Father. No one else has this unique relationship. The Jewish leaders understood the implication. They also rejected it.
Then Jesus said, “My Father is still working, and I am working also.” This was piling heresy on top of heresy to the Jewish leaders. Their understanding of Creation was that when God finished his job of creating the heavens and the earth, he entered into a permanent Sabbath rest. He would not lift anything above his head or carry a load from one house to another.
Does God keep his own laws?
In another context, Matthew 12:9-14, Jesus healed another man on the Sabbath. Again, he was challenged. He provided this rationale:
Our Father in heaven,
your name be honored as holy.
I will live as our Father’s son.
Our Father, how awesome it is to come to you with this declaration. We belong to you. You welcome us into your presence. You receive us as your dearly loved children. You work your works of mercy and necessity in our lives. You are not finished with us yet. You love us just as we are. You love us so much that you continue shaping our lives into unique masterpieces of your own creation. How wonderful and humbling are these truths! Thank you. Amen.
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Genesis 26:26-31 Meanwhile, Abimelek had come to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his personal adviser and Phicol the commander of his forces. 27 Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?”
28 They answered, “We saw clearly that the LORD was with you; so we said, ‘There ought to be a sworn agreement between us’—between us and you. Let us make a treaty with you 29 that you will do us no harm, just as we did not harm you but always treated you well and sent you away peacefully. And now you are blessed by the LORD.”
30 Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank. 31 Early the next morning the men swore an oath to each other. Then Isaac sent them on their way, and they went away peacefully.
Genesis 22:13, 14 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.
Genesis 21:1-3 Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.
Genesis 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.
Genesis 6:9 This is the account of Noah and his family.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.