John 5:17 opens with Jesus defending Himself. In a real sense, He had been both attacked and placed on trial in the court of public opinion. What was his alleged crime? He had been in the habit of healing the sick and giving sight to the blind. Very often, he performed these miracles on the Jewish Sabbath. Verses 8-9 record the healing of a paralytic on the Sabbath. The first accusation against him was therefore that he was desecrating the Sabbath by working on it.
The second accusation has even more Theological significance. We accept that Jesus is God. But here the enemies of Jesus underscore the fact that if, as he claimed, Jesus was the Son of God and God was His Father, if that were so, that would make Him equal to God, and therefore, God. Is it not great when your enemies confirm the truth of what you have been trying to tell them?
The foundations on which the Sabbath Day of rest and worship are built, are the 4th of the 10 Commandments, and Genesis 2:2 – “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” Clearly, this applied to His creation work because in John 5:17-20, Jesus says, “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I too am working.” In John 9:4 Jesus says, “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” And in Ephesians 2:10 we read, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
The Believer is placed on earth to worship God and to do God’s work. The whole concept of a “day of worship” negates the fundament concept of worship. It is not to be in a certain place, and it is not be at a certain time. It is an attitude and a state of mind. Hear this… “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24) The Sabbath was a day of rest, just as Sunday is the day we celebrate the pivotal event in the Christian experience – the resurrection. Paul says, “…And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead…” (1 Corinthians 15:14-15).
But concerning the Sabbath as the day of rest, the writer of the Book of Hebrews argues, “For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.” (Hebrews 8:4-10)
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9)
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