Jesus healed a man who had been lame, unable to walk, for 38 years. He had been laying next to a pool in Jerusalem hoping that he would be healed by the waters there when Jesus arrived, asked him if he actually did want to get well, and then had him stand up and walk away.
Not amazed by the fact that a lame man was walking, but instead incensed that Jesus had done this on a Saturday, the sabbath, the Jewish leaders begin to persecute Jesus. While we don’t see it specifically said in this case, we often see the Jewish leaders ask Jesus upon what authority he is acting as he is, breaking the Jewish customs. And Jesus is happy to explain it to them:
In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.John 5:17-18
The Jews clearly understood that Jesus was comparing himself to God. They even try to kill him because they think that he is blaspheming.
Yet Jesus is showing them through what he is doing that he is telling the truth. He is working, he says. Is there anyone else walking around doing miracles like I’m doing? My Father is at work…and so am I. Guys, we are one and the same. I am God.
“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true.John 5:31-32
Jesus goes on to say that John the Baptist had testified about him, but even that testimony is not enough. It is the testimony of God himself that Jesus is discussing. The Father has given the Son work to do, and that is what he is doing. Because the Father has given him these works, he speaks to who Jesus is.
But there is a problem. Jesus says that they cannot understand this testimony because they do not believe the one that the Father sent. In other words, because they aren’t willing to believe Jesus, they can’t understand the Father.
You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.John 5:39-40
The Jews put their faith in the law that Moses wrote, believing that because they have God’s law, they are the people of God. And in one way this is true, but God doesn’t want them just to have the law, he wants his people to give him their hearts. To give him all of themselves.
The Jews miss something very important within the scriptures that they rely upon. They miss the fact that the scriptures talk about and point toward the Messiah, who is Jesus. Jesus points toward these scriptures saying that they actually speak about him!
So, any questions? These are the things that Jesus speaks of as he explains under what authority he is doing what he is doing, and why he is doing them in the timing that he is doing. He is, himself, the Lord of the Sabbath. He can do his work in his timing because he has all of the authority to do as he would please.