“My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.”
For this reason they tried all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the sabbath but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God.
Yesterday we heard the odd story of Jesus' healing of an old man who had taken up residence at the pool of Bethesda. Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath despite the man's not asking for a healing, and despite his half-hearted response when Jesus asked, "Do you want to be healed?"
Jesus did this entirely on his own initiative and, because it was on the Sabbath, it could only lead to trouble. At that point he might have handed out business cards with the motto from Raymond Chandler's character Phillip Marlowe: "Trouble is my business." Is he really looking for it?
Today's gospel opens the mystery of healing as Jesus speaks of his relationship with his father.
The Church has traditionally recognized this and many passages like it as revealing the mystery of the Holy Trinity. The intense sympathy between the Father and the Son and the implicit, eager obedience of Jesus to his Father are continually amazing and inspiring. This is the original beauty from which every beautiful thing, idea or person is created.
But we must not forget the original intent of John 5. Jesus has healed a crotchety old man and once again angered his enemies to save us, and to invite us into his Saving Work. The Bible is not just displaying eternal, beautiful mysteries as if they were art works in a downtown museum; the Bible reveals God's intent to deliver us from our sins and sweep us into his own divine life.
Is Jesus looking for trouble? Yes, in the sense that this is the only way that he can convey to us the utter seriousness of his mission, that he really intends to save us because he and his Father regard us as worthy of the sacrifice, even at the cost of his prolonged agony and death.
How can we do anything less than go with him?