John 5:18 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 5:18, NIV: "For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God."

John 5:18, ESV: "This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God."

John 5:18, KJV: "Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God."

John 5:18, NASB: "For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God."

John 5:18, NLT: "So the Jewish leaders tried all the harder to find a way to kill him. For he not only broke the Sabbath, he called God his Father, thereby making himself equal with God."

John 5:18, CSB: "This is why the Jews began trying all the more to kill him: Not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal to God."

What does John 5:18 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The Gospel of John often uses the Greek term Ioudaioi, which is translated as "the Jews." As John uses it, the word refers to the religious leaders of Jerusalem. This includes the Pharisees, Sadducees, and temple scribes. The Pharisees, in particular, were known for their legalism and traditions. These added-on rules were part of their interpretation of the law of Moses. Jesus, knowing that their approach to the Law was cold and hypocritical, often deliberately provoked these men over their errors (Luke 13:10–17; Matthew 12:9–14). According to John 5:16, the mere fact that Jesus was breaking traditional views of the Sabbath was enough to earn their persecution.

In verse 17, Jesus raises the stakes even further. He claims not only that God is His Father, but that the work He is doing is equivalent to the work done by God. The religious leaders, in particular, understand exactly what that implies. Jesus is telling other people that He is God. If that's not true, it's blasphemy, and this adds to the hatred He receives from the Pharisees.

Contrary to common suggestion, Jesus does in fact claim divinity in many New Testament texts. This verse shows that Jesus and the disciples are not the only ones who grasp His meaning.