16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. 17 In his defense 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.
Thoughts: Barclay says that even carrying a pin in your robe on the Sabbath was a sin to them. They even argued about whether a person should wear artificial teeth or a wooden leg on the Sabbath. Jesus loosened their concept by reminding them that God is still on the throne- even on the Sabbath. God rested from creation on the seventh day- but his governing and sustaining action goes on. When Jesus said, "I too am working", he was equivocating his work with God's- a claim to divinity. His calling God His Father (not "our Father"), also put Jesus in a special relationship with God. We should admire Jesus for standing up for who He is - for our own good.
Prayer: May I remember you are open for business 24-7 Lord. You hear my prayers and offer your help.
John Calvin Abridged: Jesus did not say that the Sabbath Law is only temporary and no longer applies. Christ implies that the holy rest which is enjoined is not violated when we do the work of God. Jesus claims his Divinity when He speaks of working the works of God. When it says He came from heaven it reminds us of why He came to earth.