Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Lord of the Sabbath

Mark 2:23-28

The religious establishment believed that they could please God by developing and following a strict set of rules. This caused them to, not only, miss the true intent of God's law but, also, led to conflict with Jesus and his disciples. One clash occurred when the hungry disciples picked and ate some grain on the Sabbath (Mark 2:23-24). Old Testament law prohibited working on the Sabbath but that did not extend to picking a handful of grain to satisfy immediate hunger.

The Pharisees were very religious people whose strong desire to keep the law led them to build a hedge around the law. Deciding that it was best to err on the side caution to prevent Sabbath breaking, They banned 1500 acts on the Sabbath.

Rules seem to make life easier but they short-circuit thinking and, sometimes, lead to bad decisions. A deacon told me that he had once approached a young man in church and told him to remove his ball cap or leave. The young man felt humiliated and left. The deacon later learned that the young man was undergoing treatment for cancer and had lost most of his hair. He regretted enforcing that rule.

Jesus taught that God's law must be applied with compassion and reminded the Pharisees that King David once took sacred bread that was to be eaten only by the priests and gave it to his men (I Samuel 21:1-6). David was justified because his need for food was greater than keeping the ceremonial law.

Meeting human need and compassion takes precedence over custom, ritual, ceremony and tradition. God says, "For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings" (Hosea 6:6).

The Sabbath is God’s idea. God created everything in six days, and he rested on the seventh, and made it holy. (Genesis 2:2) God didn’t need to rest because he was tired. He rested because he was done.

Sabbath” means rest. God created us to need rest for our bodies and refreshment for our spirits every seven days. The Law prohibited menial work but the Pharisees prohibited all work; even good work. The Sabbath was not meant to restrict necessities. The Sabbath was made to serve man not for man to serve the day. (Mark 2:27) The day had become a burden instead of the blessing it was meant to be.

The wrong question to ask is “What is allowed or not allowed on the Sabbath? – Can you eat out? go to the movies? watch or play sports?”

That question makes Sabbath rules more important than the Sabbath itself. Don’t worship the day or “rules;” worship the Lord of the Sabbath.

The Lord of the Sabbath offers true rest to whosoever comes to Him.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30 



Diana Aranda-Curtis said...

This is a very good message on the Sabbath. I was told by other pastors at other churches that on the Sabbath you were only suppose to attend church. I was told that too many churches only have a morning service and then the rest of the day is used to visit family, go to the park, watch sports, etc, and that God only intended for the Sabbath to be a day of worship and/or attending church. The way they taught about the Sabbath made me question myself. I would feel guilty if I would attended a birthday party or any family outing. I thought I was committing a sin by spending time with family, or watching a game after church. I am glad that you teach from God's word (the Bible) and not from man-made rules and laws.

Jorge Zayasbazan said...

Diana, thank you for your kind words