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The Gospel of JOHN.
The link between the third and fourth sign (5: 16 - 47).
The Sabbath and Sabbatarianism.
pp. 21 - 25
The conflict that arose over the healing of the impotent man arose, not in connection
with the nature of the cure, but entirely in connection with the Pharisees' attitude to the
"And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay Him, because He had
done these things on the sabbath day" (John 5: 16).
The Lord's defence is brief but full: "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work"
(John 5: 17). This outrages the Jews more than ever, and we read that:
"Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He not only had broken
the sabbath, but said also the God was His Father, making Himself equal with God"
(John 5: 18).
This double charge is met by a longer explanatory defence given in verses 19-30,
in which the equality of the Son is demonstrated and proved. This appeal to the evidence
of His Own works and appointment is supplemented by an appeal to the witness of
John the Baptist, the Father, the Scriptures generally, and the writings of Moses. The
Lord also speaks of the blinding power of the Jews' self-seeking spirit, a spirit in marked
contrast to His Own (John 5: 19 and 30). An appeal to the evidence of the Scriptures
brings the section to an end (John 5: 31-47).
The subject-matter of this section lies very near the heart of all truth, and we must
spare no pains in our endeavour to understand its teaching. Let us first seek, by grace, to
discover the structure of this great controversy, for if we can once perceive the
underlying structure, an examination of the details can then be pursued with less risk of
confusion. Following our usual custom, a custom justified by results over many years, let
us consider first the large outline, and then the subdivisions later:
John 5: 16 - 47.
A | 16-30.
W O R K S.
Opposition arising out of the Lord's attitude to the sabbath day and
His claim to equality with the Father, met by the evidence of His works.
A | 31-47.
W O R D.
This evidence of His works is supplemented by the witness of
John the Baptist and the Scriptures with a comment on the reason for
Taking now each of these large sections separately, we find the progress of the
argument marked by the following subdivisions: