In Jerusalem, Jesus encounters a man who has been debilitated by an infirmity for 38 years. After asking if he wants to be healed, Jesus proceeds to miraculously restore the man’s health.
Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.” He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’” Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. (John 5:8-18).
It is not lawful.
“In this case a man lying on his bed, away from home, is suddenly healed. Under such circumstances Jewish tradition said that he must either spend the rest of the day watching his bed, or else he must go off and leave it to be stolen. But He who rightfully interpreted the law of his own devising, and who knew that ‘the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath’ (Mr 2:27), ordered the healed one to carry his bed along home with him” (J. W. McGarvey).
My Father has been working until now.
“God created the world in six days: on the seventh he rested from all creating acts, and set it apart to be an everlasting memorial of his work. But, though he rested from creating, he never ceased from preserving and governing that which he had formed: in this respect he can keep no sabbaths; for nothing can continue to exist, or answer the end proposed by the Divine wisdom and goodness, without the continual energy of God” (Adam Clarke). The world will not stop turning if we take a break from our work—precisely because God never ceases to work.
And I have been working.
“He not only said that God was his Father, but he said that he had the same right to work on the Sabbath that God had; that by the same authority, and in the same manner, he could dispense with the obligation of the day” (Albert Barnes). The Jews rightly understood that, by saying this, Jesus was equating Himself with God.
Commentaries Cited from
Hall, Kay. Online Bible. Beersheba Springs: Ken Hamel, 2000. CD-ROM.
Commentaries and Topical Studies, by J. W. McGarvey
Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke
Notes on the New Testament, by Albert Barnes