Taken at face value, the healing of the lame man at Bethesda (John 5:1-18) seems to have offended the Jewish authorities mainly because of the healed man’s violation of the sabbath. In verse 18, however, the reader learns that their
hostility toward Jesus was exacerbated by his response (John 5:17) to the charges of sabbath violation with which they confronted him. At this point, their accusations are explicitly formulated by the evangelist: “not only was he
breaking the sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18 NIV). The Greek text of verse 18 poses certain difficulties: Although the introductory formula indicates a binary syntactic structure (“not only … but even …”), the sentence actually consists of three units. Translators and commentators differ in their interpretation
of the mutual relations between the charges.