John 5:16 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 5:16, NIV: "So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him."

John 5:16, ESV: "And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath."

John 5:16, KJV: "And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day."

John 5:16, NASB: "For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on a Sabbath."

John 5:16, NLT: "So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules."

John 5:16, CSB: "Therefore, the Jews began persecuting Jesus because he was doing these things on the Sabbath."

What does John 5:16 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In John 5:1–15, Jesus is shown healing a man who had been crippled for nearly forty years. He tells the man to pick up his bed and walk. According to traditional interpretations of the law of Moses, this was a violation of the Sabbath. When John uses the Greek term Ioudaioi, translated as "the Jews," he is referring to the spiritual leaders of Jerusalem, particularly the Pharisees and Sadducees. These local religious leaders challenged the newly-restored man (John 5:10), who indicated that he'd been healed. Rather than focusing on the miracle, everything these officials do revolves around a conflict with their traditions (John 5:10, 12, 16, 18).

Jesus often chooses to perform healing or other works on the Sabbath (Luke 13:10–17; Matthew 12:9–14). Since this is a pattern, it stands to reason that He has a purpose behind it. The most likely explanation is that Jesus is deliberately provoking the Pharisees. By confronting them with their own hypocrisy, Jesus is able to explain His mission and reveal the cold truth behind their so-called faith in God. This verse puts that problem in stark terms: Jesus heals on the Sabbath—He breaks their tradition—so they persecute Him.