Next Sunday you have the opportunity to BE the sermon instead of listen to one. Can I get an Amen?! We are going to head out into the community to be the hands, feet, eyes and mouth of Jesus, and I am so excited about it! Some of us will have the opportunity to speak a blessing to people, or be a blessing by serving people. Some us will spend time with folks, others will wield a wrench or rake, but all of us have the opportunity to extend blessings to others.
Speaking of wrench or rake, is it possible that we could be displeasing Jesus by “working” on a Sunday? Just what does it mean to “honor the Sabbath”? Did you know that of the original Ten Commandments, “Honor the Sabbath day and keep it holy” is the only one NOT repeated in the New Testament under the new covenant of Jesus? Why is that? Is it just an omission, or was it intentional on God’s part?
Actually Jesus talked about the Sabbath — a lot — however, it is interesting that in all of those conversations he was, in reality, correcting the legalism of the Pharisees over its practice. Can I point out some of the things Jesus taught?
“The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27
One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grain fields, his disciples broke off heads of grain, rubbed off the husks in their hands, and ate the grain. But some Pharisees said, “Why are you breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?” Jesus replied, “Haven’t you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He went into the house of God and broke the Law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests can eat. He also gave some to his companions.” And Jesus added, “The Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath.” Luke 6:1-5
“Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?” Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.” John 4:19-21, 23
Then Jesus went over to their synagogue, where he noticed a man with a deformed hand. The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Does the law permit a person to work by healing on the Sabbath?” (They were hoping he would say yes, so they could bring charges against him.) And he answered, “If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you work to pull it out? Of course you would. And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath.” Matthew 12:9-12
Should we have a regular time of refreshing and worship to honor God in our lives? Absolutely. But I believe Jesus makes his thoughts on this subject quite clear in that last line of Matthew 12:12, especially. If we are “doing good” — Jesus is pleased… because that is what he did.