The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
In John 7:19-24 Jesus makes a public statement about those who are trying to kill him. The crowd around him does not seem to know what to say. These people apparently are not the group seeking to arrest and kill Jesus. They are surprised and shocked. They do not seem to know of the plot.
Jesus speaks to the crowd about the circumstances leading to the warrant for his arrest. He also points out that the works of the Law are intended to be done. What is the work of the Law that Jesus has done? He healed a man, making him entirely healthy. The listeners are familiar with a work which is done even on the Sabbath. That is the work of circumcision, always performed on the eighth day after birth of a boy. This is highly significant. The circumcision is a sign of the coming Messiah. The idea of fathering children is literally laid bare. And the significance of the eighth day is striking as well. It is the day after a day of rest (the seventh). Therefore, it is the day when work is resumed. Children are placed under God’s covenant on the day of their life when work might be assumed to resume. Though Israel would not do work on the Sabbath, if a child became eight days old on the Sabbath, they would give him the sign of circumcision.
Jesus’ death is planned by those who had been confronted by his ability to heal on the Sabbath. Yet Jesus says this is consistent with the idea of circumcision. May we have such great faith that we are also able to see Jesus, calling us to believe his day of rest, rest from our sin, rest from our labors, rest from all the ills we face.
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