Grace For Your Day April 8

Deuteronomy 5:12-15 says:

Observe the sabbath day to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant or your ox or your donkey or any of your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you, so that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day.

In other words, the Lord commanded the people of Israel to work for six days and rest on the Sabbath. It was considered to be a special day for them whereby they would put aside all their work in order to focus all their attention on Yahweh which sounds simple enough. It does not seem too complicated.

However, the Jews made it complicated because instead of turning it into a day of rest, they turned it into a burden by adding thousands of man-made restrictions unto it. One of their key books had 24 chapters on the subject that told the people that they could not walk farther than 3,000 feet on the Sabbath. Other things that were forbidden include:

- Carrying a load heavier than a dried fig
- Eating anything larger than an olive
- Throwing an object into the air with one hand and catching it with the other
- Tailoring
- Cooking
- Cleaning
- Sweeping
- Plowing
- Reaping
- Grinding
- Baking
- Threshing
- Binding sheaves
- Winnowing
- Sifting
- Dying
- Shearing
- Spinning
- Kneading
- Trying or untying a knot
- Writing or dispatching a letter
- Lighting a fire
- Extinguishing a fire (except for very rare occasions)
- Taking a bath
- Moving a chair
- Looking into a mirror
- Wearing false teeth

Needless to say, the Sabbath was anything but restful because it had become oppressive by the time of the First Century which explains what happens in the Gospel of Mark 2:23-24. Here it says:

And it happened that He was passing through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples began to make their way along while picking the heads of grain. The Pharisees were saying to Him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”

As you read that, you may wonder why the Pharisees are arguing with Jesus about the Sabbath but the reason they are doing that is because they want to know why Jesus’ disciples are not keeping their man-made restrictions regarding it. They are curious as to why they are ignoring their long list of oppressive instructions so Jesus gives them His answer in verse 27.

Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Without caveat or apology, Jesus claimed to be the sovereign ruler over the Sabbath. If there had been any ambiguity about His earlier claim that “something greater than the temple is here” (Matthew 12:6), it was gone now. Jesus was claiming to be the Son of God Who ordained the Sabbath in the first place and, therefore, He is the One Who can decide how it should be treated, not the Pharisees. The Pharisees prided themselves on being the authoritative interpreters of the law. In their midst stood someone who was a higher authority than them which changed the whole conversation and that is what we are going to talk about this week at Grace Fellowship Church.

This Sunday, we are going to look at “The Lord of the Sabbath” in order to talk about one of the most volatile issues that Jesus dealt with. It was volatile in His day and it is volatile in ours becuse people still ask the question: Does Jesus require us to keep the Sabbath now? Is it a law that He wants us to perpetuate today in the church?

The answer is “No” because the New Testament does not require any Sabbath observance. Instead, it gives us freedom on this issue. The only requirement is that, whatever position you take on it, you hold it for the glory of God (Romans 14:5-6) and do not impose our views on others (Colossians 2:16). This does not mean that the Lord does not want us to set aside one day a week in order to worship Him because the early church clearly did that. They called it “the Lord’s day” (Revelation 1:10). It just means that the Sabbath as Israel knew it is no longer binding on us and please join us as we talk about that this Sunday at 9:30 during the sermon hour.

The message will be recorded on our You Tube Channel and then posted later for all those who are not able to come in person. – Jeremy Cagle