Work, Rest, Work, Rest, Work, Rest?

Posted: June 21, 2012 in Jesus The Answer?
By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

Before i go where i’m going to go, let me just admit that since doing several posts on the Sabbath, i have done very little to effectuate the word regarding it. Effectuate! i learned this word years ago and never get to use it, but the opportunity came today and i took it. While today seems to be about Sabbath it really is about so much more which is knowing who i am, in Him, imitating Him.

Because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish authorities began persecuting him. When i was a teen my church made it very clear that working on Sunday was not acceptable.  i wondered often about when they would go for Sunday dinner and make those people work. 17 So Jesus told them, “My Father is working until now, and I too am working.” 18 For this reason the Jewish authorities were trying even harder to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was also calling God his own Father, thus making himself equal with God.

Once informed that Jesus is the one who healed the invalid, the Jews cease to harass the healed man and turn their attention on Jesus. John tells us that they “began persecuting him.” I was initially inclined to think that this “persecution” involved constant questioning, challenging, and heckling, and no doubt efforts to discredit Jesus before the people. John says in verse 18 that from this point on they “were trying even harder to kill him.”

Though the same accusation of Sabbath-breaking is consistently made by the Jews in the other Gospels, Jesus response there is different from His response here. Here, Jesus points out that He is merely imitating His Father by working on the Sabbath.

How great that Jesus can say that. “I am merely imitating my Father! In the natural sense i would not want to say that i am merely imitating my father. He was an alcoholic which produced other forms of bad behavior which could be used today as the model for a dysfunctional family. In the spiritual realm i reach that place in which i am imitating my heavenly Father once in a while but usually it’s done without intent, more of an excuse than anything.

The Sabbath is the “sign of the Mosaic covenant,” and thus to violate the Sabbath is to be worthy of death (Exodus 31:14-17; 35:2-3; Numbers 15:32-36). The Fourth Commandment requires the people of God to imitate God, who “rested” on the seventh day of creation. The logic is simple: God rested on the seventh day, and so must men. But Jesus gives us a very different twist on this. He argues that God is constantly at work, even on the Sabbath. Since God is working non-stop, the Son is also working, and cannot cease for the Sabbath.

It is not just this logic that distresses the Jews; it is how Jesus describes His relationship with God. Jesus does not say, “Our Father is working until now, and I too am working.” He says, “My Father is working until now, and I too am working.” The inference is very clear: Jesus is claiming that God is His Father; He is claiming to be God.

  1. [15] The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. [16] And this was why the Jews persecuted Jesus, because he did this on the sabbath. [17] But Jesus answered them, My Father is working still, and I am working.” [18] This was why the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the sabbath but also called God his Father, making himself equal with God.

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