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(NASB)
One of the most dangerous aspects of religiosity and legalism is that the truth of the glorious gospel of grace is hidden underneath a black cloud of unbelief. An example of this is Christ's miraculous healing of the man at the pool of Bethsaida who had been crippled and bed-ridden for 38 years, which was considered as inconsequential by the religious leaders of the day because, in their estimation, it constituted breaking the Sabbath of the Lord!
The very instrument that God gave Israel in order to point them to Christ for salvation, was the very tool they modified to accuse the Son of God of blasphemy - and this particular Sabbath-day healing was a great turning-point in Christ's ministry, because from that time forward: "The Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him."
The Lord Jesus was not intimidated by these religious leaders, but pointed out that like God the Father, He too was exempt from the petty traditions of men which they had added to the Mosaic Law and brutally imposed on the Jewish nation. Jesus reminded them that neither the Father nor He were bound by their religious traditions.
It was during the first Sabbath day of creation that God rested from His work, but death entered the world as a result of man's sin, and from that day forward, both the Father and the Son have been working ceaselessly to redeem men and women from a lost eternity and to return them back into fellowship with God. But this Sabbath day healing was seen by the religious leaders of the Jews as breaking the Mosaic Law, and Christ's claim to be equal with the Father was considered blasphemy in their eyes: "He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God."
Christ is indeed equal with God (then as now). Christ is eternally equal with the Father, for He is the second Person of the Holy Trinity, and the monologue that followed this controversial healing, proved beyond question Christ's deity and equality with the Father in many significant ways.
He was and is co-equal with the Father in work, in knowledge, in the resurrecting of the dead, and in giving life to all who will believe on His name. He is co-equal in judgement, for God has committed all judgement into His hands, and He is equal in honour, for those that honour the Son honour the Father and all who dishonour the Son dishonour the Father.
Christ is indeed the self-existent one Who, like the Father, has life in Himself, but sadly due to religiosity and legalism, the truth of the glorious gospel of grace was hidden from these religious leaders underneath a black cloud of unbelief. Sadly, there are many today who are also trapped in religious legalism and the traditions of men.
May we have ears to hear and take heed of all that the Spirit says to the churches in these increasingly evil days.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the perfect Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all distinct, all equal, all One God. Thank You that You saved me by grace through faith in Christ. Keep me, I pray, from any form of religiosity or legalism, and guide me into all truth. Thank You that You have not given up on Your people and continue to convict men and women of sin, righteousness, and judgement. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.