But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.
¶Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
It is important to clarify that not all the Jews were looking for an excuse to kill Jesus. It was the Jews in religious leadership who wanted Him gone.
Perhaps you will remember from yesterday’s post that the Jewish religious leaders had confronted Jesus for doing work on the sabbath, first in healing the lame man, and then in telling him to take up his bed and walk, thereby causing him to break the sabbath, as well.
This time, Jesus faced His accusers. I believe He was calm, reserved, and polite. What He said, however, raised their blood pressure!
He said, “My Father continues to work, and therefore I, also, continue to work.”
Remember that God’s admonition to keep the sabbath holy, to rest as God rested on one day out of the seven days of Creation, is instructed in Exodus 20. God “rested” on the seventh day, in that His works of creation were complete. However, He did not rest from supervising and watching over His creation, leaving the universe to its own devices every seventh day.
The lengths to which the Pharisees and other leaders took the ban on working resulted in some rather strange rules.
For instance, in Deuteronomy 23:12-14 God tells Israel to practice good sanitation when their armies are camped. Ancient rabbis applied the same principle to the city of Jerusalem, which they regarded as “the camp of the Lord.” When this was combined with Sabbath travel restrictions, it resulted in a prohibition against going to the bathroom on the Sabbath.
I wonder how that worked out for them.
The Jewish leaders weren’t thinking about such mundane things at this moment, though. What really caught their attention, and set them on fire, was Jesus’ clear identification of Himself as the Son of God, the Father. Everything else went out of their heads for a while as they furiously turned on Him for making such a blasphemous, heretical claim.
He made Himself equal to, the same as, God!