I made this post on My Facebook:
I’ve always thought this was a very interesting verse: “he not only had broken the sabbath….” John 5:18.
Here we are told by the Apostle John that Jesus Christ “had broken the sabbath.” That is because in John 5:17 Jesus himself said that he works on the Sabbath – “But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” His work was that of healing the sick.
So Jesus confessed to working on the Sabbath, thus he “had broken the sabbath” and consequently the Jews sought to kill him.
But we know that Jesus Christ never sinned. It was not a sin for Jesus to work on the sabbath. How can that be? How can it be that Jesus Christ broke the sabbath and never sinned?
The answer is the difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. While the letter of the law forbids working on the sabbath, the spirit of the law is love. Love is the fulfillment of the law. And for Jesus to work on the sabbath by healing the sick, he was violating the letter of the law but fulfilling the spirit of the law.
The pharisees falsely accused Jesus Christ of sinning because they were legalistic and stuck on the letter of the law that they completely forgot what the law was all about – the good of people through love. The sabbath was instituted for man’s good, not so that men like Jesus could not help men by healing. As Jesus said, “Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?” Luke 6:9
The letter of the law forbids all work on the sabbath and yet the spirit of the law would allow and even demand that Doctors, Police, Pastors, Street Preachers, etc, would work on the Sabbath. It is about love – the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law. But when anyone so pushes the letter of the law to the violation of the spirit of the law, they fall into the trap of legalism and commit the sins of the Pharisees.
Jesus Christ broke the sabbath by working and yet did not sin for the same reason that David did that which was not lawful and how the priests profane the sabbath yet were blameless:
“But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?” Matt. 12:3-5