John 7:22

New Testament

19 Hasn’t Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law! Why do you want to kill me?” 20 The crowd answered, “You’re possessed by a demon! Who is trying to kill you?” 21 Jesus replied, “I performed one miracle and you are all amazed. 22 However, because Moses gave you the practice of circumcision (not that it came from Moses, but from the forefathers), you circumcise a male child on the Sabbath. 23 But if a male child is circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses is not broken, why are you angry with me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? 24 Do not judge according to external appearance, but judge with proper judgment.”

Mekhilta d'Rabbi Ishmael 31:13

Halakhic Midrash

R. Yishmael and R. Elazar b. Azaryah and R. Akiva were once walking on the road, with Levi Hasadar and R. Yishmael the son of R. Elazar b. Azaryah walking behind them, when this question was asked: Whence is it derived that the saving of a life overrides the Sabbath? R. Yishmael responded: It is written (Ibid. 22:1) "If the thief be found breaking in, etc." — If in such an instance, where it is doubtful whether he is coming to steal or to kill, and the spilling of blood defiles the land and causes the Shechinah to depart, he is permitted to kill the thief to save his life — how much more so does the saving of life override the Sabbath! R. Elazar b. Azaryah responded: If circumcision, which includes only one of a man's organs, overrides the Sabbath, how much more so all of his body! R. Akiva says: If the saving of a life overrides the sacrificial service, which overrides the Sabbath, how much more so does the saving of a life override the Sabbath! R. Yossi Haglili says: "My Sabbaths shall you keep": "but" ("ach," before "My") "divides," i.e., there are Sabbaths that you override, and there are Sabbaths that you rest. R. Shimon b. Menassia says (Ibid. 14) "And you shall keep the Sabbath, for it is holy to you" — Sabbath is given to you and you are not given (i.e., "surrendered") to the Sabbath. R. Nathan says (Ibid. 16) "And the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath to observe the Sabbath for their generations": Desecrate one Sabbath in order to keep many Sabbaths.

 Notes and References

"... In John, Jesus alludes to the halakic regulations that allow for circumcision on the Sabbath; is aware of the custom of using stone jars for the waters of purification; knows the Palestinian manna traditions of the Jewish haggadah and the significance of the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles and the water poured in front of the altar. The designations used for Jesus reflect the categories that come from the Scriptures and the world of first-century Judaism..."

Thompson, Marianne M. "Word of God, Messiah of Israel, Savior of the World" in Gaventa, Beverly Roberts, and Richard B. Hays, ed. Seeking the Identity of Jesus: A Pilgrimage (p. 170) William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2008

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