21.I have done one work. Now, leaving their persons, he begins to speak of the fact; for he proves that the miracle which he performed is not inconsistent with the Law of God. When he says that he has done one work, the meaning is, that it is only of a single crime that he is held guilty, or that it is only for a single work that he is blamed, which is, that he cured a man on the day of Rest; (188) but that they, on every day of Rest, do many works of the same, or a similar description, and do not reckon them criminal; for not a day of Rest passed on which there were not many infants circumcised in Judea. By this example he defends his action, although he does not merely argue from what is similar, but draws a comparison between the greater and the less. There was this similarity between circumcision and the cure of the paralytic, that both were works of God; but Christ maintains that the latter is more excellent, because the benefit of it extends to the whole man. Now if he had merely cured the man of bodily disease, the comparison would not have been applicable; for circumcision would have greater excellence as to the cure of the soul. Christ, therefore, connects the spiritual advantage of the miracle with the outward benefit granted to the body; and on this account he justly prefers tocircumcision the entire cure of a man.
There might also be another reason for the comparison, namely, that the sacraments are not always attended by power and efficacy, while Christ wrought efficaciously in curing the paralytic. But I prefer the former exposition, that the Jews maliciously and slanderously blame a work, in which the grace of God shines more illustriously than in circumcision, on which they bestow so much honor that they think the Sabbath is not violated by it. And you all wonder The wonder, of which he speaks, means that what Christ had done caused this murmur, because they thought that he had ventured to do more than was lawful.