The Chronological Gospel –

Sabbath Controversies

John 5:1-14, A feast in Jerusalem
John 5:15-47, A feast in Jerusalem, continued
Matthew 12:1-2, Mark 2:25-26, Matthew 12:5-7, Mark 2:27-28, Another Sabbath controversy
Luke 6:6-8a, Matthew 12:11-12, Mark 3:3-5, Luke 6:11, Matthew 12:14-15, A third Sabbath controversy

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John 5:1-14, A feast in Jerusalem (3/21/14)

In Matthew 23:37 (and Luke 13:34), Jesus says, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings…” If you read only Matthew, Mark, and Luke, it sounds like Jesus spent very little time in Jerusalem. If you read only John, it sounds like he spent most of his time there. Dr. Daniel, whose book we are following, did very careful comparisons and decided that Jesus made quite a few trips back and forth between Jerusalem and Galilee. Right after the events we’ve been reading about in Capernaum, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the festivals.

Note that John 5:4 is omitted from many translations. It isn’t in the earliest and best manuscripts.

John 5:15-47, A feast in Jerusalem, continued (3/24/14)

Jesus healed the man at the Sheep Pool on the Sabbath. Jesus didn’t do anything, but he did instruct the man to pick up and carry his mat, which is work. The Pharisees were annoyed at the man for carrying the mat, but they were more annoyed at Jesus for healing on the Sabbath. When they accosted him about it, he said, essentially, “My Father keeps working on the Sabbath, and so do I.” What the Father does on the Sabbath is run and govern the Universe, which apparently the Pharisees did acknowledge to be okay. But they were really offended that Jesus called himself the Son of God!

Here’s an interesting thing about the Weymouth New Testament. Remember that Greek has a beginning “quotation mark,” but no ending “quotation mark.” Consequently it can be difficult to tell where Jesus stops speaking and John, in the light of decades in the company of the Holy Spirit, starts explaining. As near as I can tell, Weymouth gives the introductory quotation mark, but sometimes not the ending one! That’s honest, but it has the difficulty of making us read and think for ourselves.

Matthew 12:1-2, Mark 2:25-26, Matthew 12:5-7, Mark 2:27-28, Another Sabbath controversy (3/25/14)

As a rule of thumb, following the law is better than not following the law. The Pharisees followed the Law of Moses to the letter, but unfortunately they sometimes went well beyond the letter of the Law. The fourth commandment is “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” and the commandment goes on to say, roughly, “don’t work; don’t make anyone else work.” God wanted his people to have a day for worship and rest.

By Jesus’ time, the scribes and Pharisees had greatly expanded this commandment from God, to the point that everything that wasn’t compulsory was forbidden. Even if you were hungry, you couldn’t make food on the Sabbath, and the Pharisees indignantly accused the disciples of law-breaking because they had picked a little grain to eat raw. Jesus told the Pharisees that they didn’t understand the Law because they didn’t understand God.

Luke 6:6-8a, Matthew 12:11-12, Mark 3:3-5, Luke 6:11, Matthew 12:14-15, A third Sabbath controversy (3/26/14)

The scribes and Pharisees were continually at odds with Jesus on the subject of Sabbath-breaking. Now admittedly, God is pretty serious on the topic of keeping the Sabbath, but the scribes and Pharisees believed that even doing good could be evil if it was done on the Sabbath. Jesus said, no: good is good, evil is evil, and you are just too stubborn to learn the difference.

Notice that this incident is reported in Mark 3, Luke 6, and Matthew 12. Both Luke and Matthew used nearly all of Mark’s information in writing their own gospels; however, each one of them included material that Mark didn’t. First, they both used a source that we call “Q,” which we no longer have. Second, each of them included material that they thought would be of special interest to their own readers. John, of course, specialized in writing about incidents that no one else had mentioned. I think the best thing about Dr. Daniel’s harmony is that he gives us all the material we have about Jesus, arranged in a logical order.

More of The Chronological Gospel

Birth Announcements and Early Lives of Jesus and John the Baptist
Early Ministries of Jesus and John the Baptist
Jesus’ Early Ministry
Jesus’ Galilean Ministry
Sabbath Controversies
The Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Plain
John the Baptist
Signs and Parables
Miracles and Mission Trips
Bread of Life
Miracles and Meanings
Transfiguration and Teachings
To Jerusalem for the Festival of Tabernacles
Some Results of Luke’s Research
More of Luke’s Research
On the Road Again
The Raising of Lazarus
Holy Week: Palm Sunday and Monday
Holy Week: Tuesday, Parables and Questions
Holy Week: Wednesday Part 1, Discussions
Holy Week: Wednesday Part 2, Be Ready!
Holy Week: Thursday Part 1, Jesus' Celebration of the Passover
Holy Week: Thursday Part 2, Jesus' Farewell Discourse
Holy Week: Friday Part 1, Jesus' Arrest and Two Informal Trials
Holy Week: Friday Part 2, More Trials
Holy Week: Friday, Part 3, and Saturday, Jesus' Death and Burial
The Empty Tomb
Final Appearances of Jesus Prior to Pentecost

Copyright 2014 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. Scripture readings are from the Weymouth New Testament (1912); caps indicate quotations from the Old Testament. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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