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Has God Stopped Working?

John 5:16-18
So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. (NIV)

Religious leaders persecuted Jesus for healing a man on the Sabbath. But why did Jesus do it? Every Jew knew the Ten Commandments, and 'remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy' has the longest explanation of all the commandments (Exodus 20:8-11). 'Doing work' was forbidden because God had finished His creation-work on the sixth day. Therefore the seventh day was a day for worship and rest: working to earn more money was prohibited. However the Pharisees said that carrying anything (the poor made a living like that) or healing (the doctors were well paid too) was wrong. So the law designed to protect people from the spiritual distraction of their own greed, had been twisted to obstruct God acting in grace.

But Jesus never charged anybody. The healed man was only too glad to go, taking his bed-roll on his shoulder. When Jesus healed it was not for profit but out of compassion. But the Pharisees could not see beyond their interpretation of the commandment. So Jesus explained that God had not stopped working (He continues to sustain creation and act in grace towards His people). And He added that His job was to work with God, who was His Father ... which everyone knew was claiming to be equal with God. So they tried to kill Him, because blasphemy carried the death penalty.

Well, while the religious experts claimed to know the mind of God, Jesus announced that He was God! That claim sets Christ apart from everybody else. To some, it sounds arrogant and offensive; others mock the idea. But those who have been 'born again' know it is true. That is why Jesus came - to work with Father God to bring salvation to all who submit their lives to Him. That is why, "... God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11). Do you agree with that? However religious you may be, it is your view on the identity of Jesus that will determine your eternal destiny. The same is true for family, friends and colleagues at work. If you care about those around you and love Jesus, tell them who He is ... that He loves them and has done everything necessary to bring them into His kingdom.

Prayer 
Dear Lord. Thank You for this written evidence that Jesus was, and is, the Son of God. I am sorry when I have thought of Him as less than that or have failed to honour Him as my Creator and Judge. Please help me to see what a great privilege I have in being loved by Him and saved through His sacrifice for me. Help me to worship Him as You intend, and tell others about my wonderful Saviour God. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams

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