Sunday, October 14, 2012

Day 14—Freedom on the Sabbath (or Is the Sabbath Worth Discussing? Part II)

                        Genesis 2:2-3  "By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.  And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done."

            A week ago on Day 7, the topic centered on how the Sabbath can touch your family.  Although many people, even Christians, think the "Sabbath" is mentioned only during the account of Creation and a description of the Ten Commandments, it is actually emphasized repeatedly throughout the Old Testament.  It is no wonder the Pharisees created more and more strict rules to demand obedience on the Sabbath. 

            However, the excessive regulations changed the perception of the Sabbath by the common Jew from being a gift of rest and time for prayer and meditation to being a suffocating choke collar. Causing protest from the Pharisees, Jesus corrected the error.  Look at the following passages for examples of how Jesus freed people from the burden of man's laws relating to the Sabbath and showed them the true meaning of this special day.

            Mark 2:23-28—"One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain.  The Pharisees said to him, 'Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?'
            "He answered, 'Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need?  In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat.  And he also gave some to his companions.  
            "The he said to them, 'The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.  So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.'"

            Note:  these men were not harvesting the field.  They were simply gathering enough grain as they walked by to satisfy their hunger.  Man's law regarding the Sabbath was forbidding this, but God's gift of the Sabbath allows it.

            Luke 14:1-6--"One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched.  There in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy.  Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, 'Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?'  But they remained silent.  So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him away.
            "Then he asked them, 'If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?'  And they had nothing to say."

            The Pharisees did not answer the first question because healing the man violated their rules, yet how could they argue against healing the man with so many people watching?  Again the Pharisees did not answer the next question because they would have rescued the ox from the pit, yet how could they admit to doing any type of work on the Sabbath when that was one of their complaints against Jesus?  Jesus did not worry about giving answers that pleased men; instead He wanted to re-establish a proper respect for God's law, including the Sabbath.
            So, are all the restrictions regarding the Sabbath out the window?

            Matthew 5:17—"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them."

            I think this passage answers my question with a "No."

            Your turn:  How important is the Sabbath to you?  Have you thought about it more since last week?  You can't really teach your children about the Sabbath if you do not know your perspective on it.  As a reminder, do not trivialize the Sabbath.  It is important to God's plan both literally and figuratively. Also, do not emphasize it to the point you become legalistic.  God was not happy with the Pharisees' adding abundant restrictions to His simple command; therefore, he will probably not be happy if you do the same thing.  Even so, your family will be touched in a positive way if you take the time to honor the Sabbath.

            If you would like more ideas on helping your children (and yourself) develop a Biblical worldview or to find out how to win a Wal-Mart gift card, go to the 31 Days Giveaway (Intro. Part II) post for more Touching Families blog links.  If you want to check out other 31 Days' topics, see The Nester.

*All verses quoted are from the New International Version:  THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

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