The Berean Expositor
Volume 34 - Page 104 of 261
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The link between the third and fourth sign (5: 16 - 47).
The relationship of the "Son" and what it entails.
pp. 65 - 70
Instead of acknowledging that He had in any way transgressed the law by bidding the
healed man carry his bed on the sabbath day, the Lord went further and associated
Himself and His actions with God Himself.
"But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work" (John 5: 17).
When dealing with Divine truth there is a great need to realize and distinguish the
relative from the absolute. For example, holiness is expressed by the Hebrew word
qodesh, which primarily means "separation". From the point of view of man, this idea of
"separation" is most important, for he is surrounded by so much evil that one of the first
elements in practical sanctification is separateness. We must however avoid the error of
transferring this idea to the full conception of holiness when applied to God. Was God
not holy before sin entered into the universe? Most surely. Were not the angels holy?
They were. Would this primal holiness know anything of "separation"? Most certainly
not. Would this primal holiness therefore be lower than the present manifestation?
Surely no. So, from man's point of view, the great feature that marks off the sabbath day
from the remaining six is that on that day man should do no work. This, however, is
because man needs to recuperate; needs to have time to think on work and ways that are
higher than those which occupy the greater part of his time. Can we conceive, however,
that there is any essential moral or spiritual difference in the work that God does on
Monday as compared with that done on Sunday or Saturday? To ask the question is to
expose its folly.
The Pharisees had fastened upon the necessary observation of rest from toil that man's
nature demanded, if the sabbath were to be enjoyed, and made it contradict the very
purpose of its institution. If all were as holy, as good, as merciful as the Son of man, all
could go on working without cessation from one week's end to another. A moment's
thought would convince anyone open to argument, that were God to withdraw from His
creation for a single moment, to say nothing of twenty-four hours, creation would cease
to exist. Our breath is in His hand (Dan. 5: 23), He upholds all things by the word of His
power (Heb. 1: 3), by Him all things consists (Col. 1: 17). Do we not breathe on the
sabbath day? Does not the sun shine on the sabbath day? Does the whole composite
labour of creation, generation, growth, decomposition, life and death, stand still on the
sabbath day?
"My Father worketh hitherto."
In the second miracle wrought on the sabbath day that John records, the Lord
emphasized this great, but misunderstood truth: "I must work the works of Him that sent
Me, while it is day" (John 9: 4). In Matthew, Mark and Luke there are but nine
occurrences of ergon, "work", but in John there are no less than twenty-seven