Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
The Sabbath is a day of rest. Regular work is prohibited. Israelites in the time of Jesus, zealous to live a life pleasing to God, would evaluate all their actions to be sure not to work on the day of rest. This practice has continued to the point that, today, some synagogues leave the doors unlocked throughout the Sabbath, hire Gentiles to turn the lights on and off, to adjust the thermostat, and do whatever else might be work. Hopefully this comes from a genuine desire to live according to God’s will.
In Luke 14 Jesus violated the Sabbath as understood by the Pharisees, a group who desired to keep God’s laws. How? By healing a man. Should Jesus have waited until a different day? After all, it was a day of rest. Why would Jesus, claiming divine authority, do something that violated that principle of rest on the Sabbath?
If the Sabbath is a day of rest, it should be a day of relief from pain and suffering. It should be a day when we receive pleasure instead of discomfort. Jesus illustrates this by reminding his listeners that people will continue to provide food and water for livestock, will rescue an animal that is suffering, or will certainly rescue a person who is trapped and endangered. With his divine power, then, it is perfectly easy for Jesus to bring healing and relief to this man. He has made the Sabbath a day of rest instead of suffering.
The New Testament describes Jesus as the ultimate Sabbath, the one who gives rest from the suffering of our struggle against sin. He is the one who finally has brought those who believe him into a place of rest. This is not breaking the Sabbath. It is keeping the Sabbath. May the peace of God rule in your hearts and minds today and every day.
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