Repent your persecution. Receive the Gospel. Start a new life.

Posted by admin on 19 March 2023 in 1 John, Deuteronomy, Exodus, John, Leviticus, Luke, Mark, Matthew |

John 5:16-18 [1]

16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. 17 In his defence Jesus said to them, ‘My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.’ 18 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.

Persecution was how the Jewish leaders treated Jesus. This showed that they were standing on the opposite side of the truth (John 18:37c). They were on the wrong side! They didn’t belong to God (John 8:47). The spirit they had was not from God (1 John 4:2-3) but was the spirit of the antichrist (1 John 4:3) and falsehood (1 John 4:6c).

For the same reasons, the unbelievers may respond with persecution toward the Gospel or the Evangelist/Preacher of the Gospel. Let them read John 5:1-18 and see their Jewish leader-like attitude toward the good works done by Jesus and the Gospel. And let them repent and receive the Gospel.

I. Persecution for breaking the Sabbath (16)

See v16.

16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him.

What do ‘these things’ include? See John 5:8-9.

Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

The day on which this took place was a Sabbath,

Jesus healed a man and also let him carry the mat on the Sabbath.

For Jesus’ healing them on the Sabbath, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were indignant (Luke 13:14), accusatory (Mark 3:2, Matthew 12:10), and homicidal (Matthew 12:14).

Also, they thought the law would forbid the healed man to carry his mat on the Sabbath (John 5:10) because of what is written in the law such as Exodus 20:8-11, 35:2, and Deuteronomy 5:12-15.

Because Jesus was breaking the Sabbath (18b), they began persecuting Jesus (16b).

Our body is the temple of God, where God’s spirit can reside. The temple of God in Jerusalem represented the body of Jesus. Jesus is something greater than the temple (Matthew 12:6). The priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent (Matthew 12:5). When we, as the priests (1 Peter 2:5), are in Jesus (inside the temple), on the Sabbath, we don’t have to just rest but can do the good works of God.

II. Persecution for committing blasphemy (17-18)

See v17.

17 In his defence Jesus said to them, ‘My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.’

Because Jesus was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God (17, 18c), they tried all the more to kill him (18a).

Blasphemy is forbidden by the law (Leviticus 24:16, Exodus 20:7, Deuteronomy 5:11) and the penalty is death by stoning (Leviticus 24:16). They thought Jesus would deserve to die because of blasphemy (John 10:33, John 19:7) and later, the Sanhedrin condemned Him as worthy of death for blasphemy (Matthew 26:65-66, Mark 14:64) before the crucifixion.

Genesis 3:15 promised the Saviour of the world would be sent as the offspring of the woman. Jesus was conceived in the virgin Mary without a human male. God’s holy spirit made her pregnant supernaturally (Luke 1:35). So, God the heavenly Father was His real father. He was literally the Son of God. At the time of Jesus on earth, many people knew nothing about this. Instead, they simply thought Jesus’ father was Mary’s earthly husband, Joseph (Matthew 13:54-56).

Even if they didn’t know about His birth by the virgin through God, what surprises us is that they didn’t praise God for His good works (John 10:32, 38) but only blamed Him for breaking the Sabbath or committing blasphemy (John 10:33). His defence is written in John 10:34-38.

When we tell the unbelievers that Jesus died for them to forgive their sins, they should never stop until they would find out their sins & penalties, and God’s love, mercy and forgiveness toward them. But they often respond with criticism like what the Jewish leaders have shown. Whoever reads John 5:1-18 can see that their attitude was totally wrong. Based on this understanding, he/she could repent their wrong attitude toward the Gospel, diligently find out his/her own sins and God’s love, confess his/her faith in Jesus and start a new life.

References

  1. The Holy Bible: New International Version. Anglicised. Revised and updated. ed. 2011: London: Hodder & Stoughton.

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