“Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed. Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a manʼs whole body on the Sabbath? Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”
In the same context and in the ongoing debate with the Jewish religious leaders, Jesus begins to direct His comments and questions seemingly, more to the crowds then to the religious leaders themselves.
In chapter 5, vs 17, Jesus defended healing the man on the sabbath (the Hebrew’s “day off”, set aside for worship and rest) by replying that, “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I too am working”. In other words, God works all the time, sabbath or not and I do what He does! This statement made the leader’s mad because He was calling God His Father, thus making Himself equel or common with God. In 5:24, Jesus had told them that they could have Eternal Life thru Him. In 6:35, He told them that He was the “Bread of Life” that came from Heaven and that I’d they would eat of Him, they would never hunger or thirst again! In 6:63, He had said, that His words were Spirit and were Life. In 7:16-17 Jesus told them, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the One who sent me. Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether My teaching comes from God or whether I speak on My own.” Doing the will of God, includes doing or working for God which Jesus clearly states in 6:29 as “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
So the debate continues with Jesus adding, that “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed”, yet you’re mad because I did this on the sabbath, breaking your law (vs 22) yet Moses gave you that law, one of which is to circumcise every male baby on his 8th day of life and you follow that law strenuously, whether it’s the sabbath or not. What’s more important? If you’ll circumcise on the sabbath, “why are you angry with me for healing a manʼs whole body on the Sabbath?” (vs 23)
Jesus’ point was this, the religous leader’s religous system of doing deeds and giving offerings was followed faithfully by them but had only left them feeling self-righteous because of what THEY HAD DONE, while Jesus was asking them to simply BELIEVE in Who He was telling and show them He was-GOD, and they’d have eternal life! He ends in vs 24 by telling them to stop judging by mere appearances, i.e. following the law to the tee equeals eternal life, and start judging correctly, by looking at the heart of what God was saying to them when these laws were given: I LOVE YOU AND WANT TO PROVIDE ETERNAL LIFE FOR YOU! YOU DON’T HAVE TO EARN IT! (and frankly, couldn’t, even if you tried).
God hadn’t given us the law to show us how to be like God, He’d given it to us to show us that WE’RE NOT LIKE GOD, but that He WANTS TO GIVE US LIFE AND CHOOSES TO GIVE US LIFE ANYWAY! THAT is GRACE! Pauls speaks to this in Galations 3.
So, religous people what’s more important? Healing a man or keeping a law? God sent Jesus to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10), and to heal the brokenhearted and bandage their wounds (Ps 147:3).
I’d say healing, by far, was more important! THAT’S what Jesus was saying to them too.
Think about it!