John 5:17-18 But Jesus answered them, My Father work hitherto, and I work. 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.
God the Father works on all days in upholding Heaven and Earth and running its infinite mechanism; He works in providence, watching over and caring for all creation of dependent creatures, so here Christ worked in healing on the sabbath, in providing food for the hungry, and performing acts of mercy and love. This was the true principle of sabbath observance if there is to be any recognition of one day above another (Rom. 14:5-6). We are not to rest in indolence or merely rest from physical and mental toll, but we are to follow the divine examples and “do good on the sabbath days” (Mat. 12:12; Mark 2:27-28; 3:4; Luke 6:9; 13:16; John 7:22-23; Gal. 4:9-10).
‘Hitherto, and I work’ refers to the delegated authority given to Jesus Christ by the Father (John 5:19-40; Heb. 1:1-2). He was working the works that the Father gave Him to do.
‘But said also that God was his Father’ This was another reason for wanting to kill Him. All Jews considered God as their Father, but here they understood Him to mean that God was His personal Father making Him equal with God. Before becoming man, Jesus was equal with both the Father and the Holy Spirit. He had a spirit body and all the natural attributes and powers like them; but in becoming man He laid aside this God-form and “emptied Himself” to be like man (Php. 2:5-11).