Sermon: Witnesses to Jesus (John 5:19-47)
Although Jesus’ healing on the Sabbath brought about his persecution by the Jewish religious leaders (John 5:16), Jesus has nothing more to say about the Sabbath beyond the words he uttered in John 5:17: “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” In the discourse in John 5:19–47, then, Jesus’ primary intention is not to develop a theology of the Sabbath, but to explain what he meant by his Sabbath defense in John 5:17—that is, Jesus here reveals the nature of his relationship to God the Father. Healing on the Sabbath was important, but not ultimate. Instead, Jesus healed on the Sabbath to illustrate and to announce the “greater works” (John 5:20) that the Father has sent him to accomplish. In this discourse, Jesus builds upon his statement in John 5:17, defining, expanding upon, and defending the idea that he works with his Father as a Son. Through this discourse, Jesus declares that the incarnate Son builds his kingdom by his word.