Jesus is in Jerusalem attending a feast of the Jews (not clear which one). There he encounters a multitude of people with various physical issues (5:3). Superstitious as they were, they were all waiting for and angel to go in the pool (a reservoir for collecting rain water) and stir the water. They believed that the first one to go in the pool after this happened would be healed. As Jesus witnesses this, a man who had been apparently paralyzed for 38 years caught his attention. Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be made well?” (What a question!!!) Not too quick to judge please! Jesus was testing this man and his response revealed the man’s poor understanding of God’s grace and his sense of hopelessness (Luke 6:45). Do you want to know what’s in other people heart; ask questions. Much was in this man’s mind. This man was paralyzed and looking for solution to his issue in a superstition and blaming others for not being able to accomplish his desire to be healed. Jesus did not deal with his sinful heart until latter. He healed him first; that’s grace!
This sign became the beginning of a series of conflictive encounters with the Jewish religious leaders. They were not interested in the well-being of this man but solely in that a rule of man, a tradition had been broken (a distorted interpretation of Exodus 31:12-14; goods were not allowed to be carried on the Sabbath). They accused the man and he did exactly what he had been doing all his life; he blamed Jesus for him breaking the rules. Since Adam’s fall blaming others for our unsatisfying life and our bad decisions have been one of the top ways to escape the truth of a life out of control and without God.
Even though the man reported Jesus as his healer, it wasn’t him giving honor to Jesus for the healing what led him to report him to the authorities; it was purely his intention to transfer the responsibility to Jesus for him breaking a rule. That was the beginning of Jesus persecution by the Jewish religious leaders.
We then see how Jesus responded to this conflict. Jesus’s answer to his accusers was simply that if God is always at work, Sabbath should not be the exception. God is not bound by man-made rules or traditions (5:17). God is always at work. We should imitate Him. We are all fulltime ministers of God and there is no time in our lives in which we can put off our title to pursue our own desires (2 Corinthians 5:17–20).
Secondly, Jesus’s response to a man-made tradition brought up another conflictive issue, blasphemy. (5:18) Mormons believe that God created multiple worlds and each world has people living on it. They also believe that multiple Gods exist but each has their own universe. We are only subject to our God and if we obtain the highest level of heaven we can become gods ourselves. This is what Jesus is now accused of; making himself equal with God; making himself a god. How did he respond to this accusation?
Jesus did not claim to be another God but the One and Only Son of God sent by His Father, on mission for His Father, doing the works of His Father, obedient to His Father and always bringing glory to His Father. Jesus was following God’s example (5:19-23). Like Jesus we are children of God sent by our Father, on mission for our Father, doing the works of our Father, obedient to our Father and always bringing glory to our Father (Matthew 5:13–16).
Jesus’ response to his accusers was (1) God is not bound by man-made traditions. (2) I’m following my Father’s example and I’m dependent on my Father (5:30). Although part of the Triune God, Jesus placed himself under the fragility of a human body and life and under the total dependence of the Father’s will. So should we (Philippians 2:5–8). Let the will of God as revealed in his word lead your every step in life. Then you will experience God’s perfect purpose for you and through you (Romans 12:1-2).
Jesus claimed not to be bound to man-made rules or traditions because God isn’t and because He was following God’s example and was dependent on Him but, why; So that we may believe. (John 5:24)