New Defender's Study Bible Notes
5:17 worketh hitherto. In answer to the charge that He had broken the Sabbath by healing the crippled man at Bethesda on that day, Jesus noted that both He and His Father had been working continuously, the inference being that they had been doing this all through history. This fact, of course, in no way contradicted the revelation that “on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made” (Genesis 2:2). God rested from His work of creation, for it was complete, and the weekly Sabbath (i.e., “rest”) day was ordained to commemorate that fact. But He then began His work of conserving what He had created. Thus, He is now “upholding all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3; see also Colossians 1:16; II Peter 3:7). In addition, when sin entered God’s “very good” creation (Genesis 1:31), God also entered on His long work of redeeming His cursed and disintegrating creation (Romans 8:20-23). It was perfectly proper, therefore, for the Lord Jesus to “do good” on the Sabbath day (Luke 6:9). It should be emphasized, however, that God’s ongoing work of conservation and redemption in no way suggests that He was also continuing His primeval work of creation, as modern theistic evolutionists argue. The Bible is clear that God’s creative “works were finished from the foundation of the world” (Hebrews 4:3).