Persecute (ediwkon). Inchoative imperfect, "began to persecute" and kept it up. They took this occasion as one excuse (dia touto, because of this). They disliked Jesus when here first ( Matthew 2:18 ) and were suspicious of his popularity ( Matthew 4:1 ). Now they have cause for an open breach. Because he did (oti epoiei). Imperfect active, not just this one act, but he was becoming a regular Sabbath-breaker. The Pharisees will watch his conduct on the Sabbath henceforth ( Mark 2:23 ; Mark 3:2 ).