Jul13MonJuly 13, 2020
Exodus 20:8 "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Deuteronomy 5:12 "Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do. 15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.
Good Morning Church, Praise the Lord!
God is good all the time!
In today's reading, Jesus gets in trouble for healing on the Sabbath. This happens a lot for Jesus, as He continually does His miracles in front of a judging, critical audience of religious zealots. For me, this raises the question of "what did Jesus think of the sabbath?". After all, He is "Lord of the Sabbath", which would make Him the expert (Matthew 12:8). He was also a good Jew, who obeyed the Law. And the Law clearly stated that Sabbath - a day of rest - must be upheld - the 4th commandment.
Note first of all in Exodus 20, that the reason for honoring the Sabbath was because God rested on the seventh day after He did His work of creating. The Sabbath was for all people on planet Earth, instituted before the Jewish law. It was to come at the end of a six day work week - a rest on the seventh day - Saturday.
The second reason for the Sabbath, according to Deuteronomy 5, was to remember God's deliverance of His people from slavery of the oppressor, to freedom into a new community in God.
The Sabbath was not to be a time of bondage but freedom, and remembering. By Jesus's day it had become a scary day filled with a whole bunch of human confines that could literally get people killed if they disobeyed all these "add-ons". The religious leaders had made it nearly impossible to be a day of rest, since living in fear of breaking the law is not rest. As the apostle Paul said, "the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." (2Cor. 3:6) For Jesus, He was about Life...that's why He came (John 10:10).
Getting back to today's reading, I believe Jesus honored the Sabbath by healing this woman who was crippled for 18 years. The Sabbath was about rest and freedom. Bondage to an illness robs an individual of both of these. When He healed the woman, He declared her "loosed" or "free". Freedom from an illness means "rest" for the soul, body and mind - as anyone who has experienced this kind of release can attest. Jesus not only obeyed the Sabbath, but He brought the fullness of it into people's lives by freeing them so they could experience true rest. In so doing, He demonstrated that to obey the letter of the law would allow people to remain in a "death" situation, but obeying the Spirit of the Sabbath truly brings life.
The followers of Jesus continued to observe the Sabbath after His death. Many christians still observe the seventh day as a day of rest - whether that day is Saturday or Sunday - who cares? The message is REST FROM YOUR LABOR!
For what it is worth, I grew up in a time when Sunday shopping was banned, and almost everything was closed on that day, so that people could rest. This was part of our Judeo-Christian culture. We are far from that now, and I see Christians working 7 days a week, not taking a rest, and paying the price for those choices - fatigue, burnout, frustration, broken families, etc. Could I suggest to you that one day of rest is necessary for revitalizing the soul. It literally says that God needed to be refreshed on the seventh day, after working 6.
Exodus 31:17 'It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.' "
TRUE REST IS FOUND IN CHRIST - SPEND TIME WITH HIM (Matthew 11:28-30)
Colossians 2:16-17 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
Have a great week!