Tuesday, 20 April 2021
Then Jesus declared, "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." -Luke 6:5
In the first portion of Luke Chapter 6, two Sabbath day accounts are given. Through both these incidents, Jesus not only demonstrates His authority over the Sabbath, but also teaches us two important principles that every believer should diligently apply in their Christian walk.
Avoid Religious legalism (Luke 6:1-5)
The Pharisees reprimanded the disciples for plucking and rubbing the heads of grains in their hands that they ate on a Sabbath day, as they considered this to be threshing. The Jews were so legalistic in following the laws that they regarded even the performance of basic necessities on a Sabbath day to be unlawful. Have we had such a legalistic attitude, where attending Sunday worship or spending time daily in prayer and meditation has become more of a ritual than an outpouring of gratitude and thanksgiving from our hearts? The emphasis here for a believer is not the observance of Sabbath, but rather the avoidance of a ritualistic approach towards God. Jesus reminds us that He is Lord of the Sabbath. He who ordained the Sabbath, knows the intentions of every heart and the attitude with which we approach Him.
Mercy is more precious than a display of godliness (Luke 6:6-11)
The second Sabbath day account is of the healing of a man with a withered hand. While the Pharisees waited for an opportunity to accuse Him, Jesus seeing the man with the withered hand questions, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath or to do evil, to save a life or to destroy it?” (Luke 6:9). By healing the man, Jesus demonstrated that it is imperative to obey God’s commands of love and mercy to the needy rather than follow manmade traditions. Do we at times become so absorbed in outward display of godliness, that we forget to be compassionate and sensitive to the needs of people around us? If so, Jesus asks us the very same question he asked the Pharisees. Therefore, whoever knows the right thing to do, yet fails to do it, is guilty of sin (James 4:17).
What is the Sabbath? The Hebrew verb sabat, means “to stop or to cease” and has its origin in God’s rest after the six days of creation in Genesis 2:1-3. God who created the Sabbath, ordained it as a day of rest for the Israelites as part of the Ten Commandments. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy…” (Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-15).
The Old Testament Sabbath is a shadow of the rest that believers have through the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:16-17). Hebrews 4:1-11 gives us the promise of the eternal rest that all who are obedient to God will enter into, at Christ’s Second Coming. But there is also a rest that we can experience in this world. When on the cross, Jesus said “It is finished!” (John 19:30), He fulfilled the requirements of the Law and paid the price to redeem us. In this world, through our Saviour, we can cease striving to do things in our own ability and enjoy that rest, “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Would you trust and rest in Him today?
The Lord of the Sabbath invites us: “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”