John 5:17 Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.”
They were already furious with him. He had, contrary to the law, ordered the man to carry his bed roll on the Sabbath. It did not matter that the Sabbath belonged to God; It did not matter that this man, a man they recognized (maybe) was now well; It did not matter that this kind of thing, a healing, was a rarity, and there should have been great excitement over that.
One of the early incidents, as Israel wandered, was someone caught gathering firewood on the Sabbath. Those that caught the man brought him to Moses for a judgment. The man was stoned to death. That should cause you to think that these Pharisee’s, the keepers of the Jewish law, took this very serious.
Now, in response to their attack about the Sabbath issue, Jesus says, “My Father is…”
Father is the Greek word pater and means no less. The KJV also translated the word as parent.
Let’s assume that was all he said, obviously it was not, but it was known that Jesus parentage was in question, for they (the Jews) had tried to throw him off the cliff previously over such a statement. If the Jews took it as a physical parent then the barrage about him being an illegitimate child would have begun again. There was nothing about this statement that was anything less than Jesus declaring his role as God’s Son, and (omit) the strengths of the Father were his, and they understood clearly what he meant.
The look on their faces must have been priceless. Silence filled the air for a moment, long enough for him to finish his thought. He buried them in the glory of who He was. Statements that should have sent them to their knees, and yet all they could do was scream and start looking for boulders to throw.
In the “Revelation”, John says, “who is this King of Glory”. Dear lord, he was standing before their faces. They should have been blinded by his glory; they were blinded alright, by the god of this world, for they could not see him standing directly in front of them.
“My Father is always at work to this very day, …”
That seems like an odd statement. It tends to imply that there were those that did not know or believe that God was still at work. How could you not believe that?
Keep in mind that Israel had just gone through about 400 years of what appeared to be silence from God. Did not the man who was healed walk before them? Perhaps they attributed the miraculous to: the devils work, or some strange mysticism. In the Acts there is the story of Simon, the sorcerer, and he had a following. People have a tendency to follow the dramatic, at least for a time, but they also follow what appears to be results.
The word translated work is ergazomai in the Greek, and means to toil (as a task, or occupation), by implication it means to be engaged in or with.
Consider that not everything in Greek directly translates, therefore much of what we read has been conceptualized. An example of that is this verse. In the KJV it reads: “But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work”. The word hitherto is the same concept used to produce “is always at” in the NIV. The word here is heos and it is a conjunction, preposition and adverb of continuance, until (of time and place). From Mickelson’s Greek Dictionary
If I restated what Jesus said, I might be able to say that My Father has never stopped being engaged with us and will continue to do so until the desired time has been accomplished.
Jesus arrival on this earth was and is monumental, but even he stated that we were to hold on, because there is more to come. The end of all things will be a time of God showing us the things he has prepared for us.
Knowing that the Father is working toward a goal, Jesus stated that the goal was his cause also. You saw some of that goal demonstrated that day. Jesus went to one who was broken, unwanted, hopeless, had no way to change his life without the savior, and gave him the freedom to hope again.
Jesus gave him a new life.