Thursday, June 2, 2011

How To Really Keep The Sabbath Holy

Jesus and His disciples had only recently been confronted by the scribes and Pharisees for walking through a field and eating some of the ripe grain along the way. Now, on a Sabbath soon afterwards, Jesus walked into a synagogue, probably to teach.

He noticed a man whose right hand was obviously withered. Surrounding Him, and the man, were Pharisees, standing on tiptoe and holding their breath. Would Jesus dare to heal the man’s hand on the Sabbath, and inside a synagogue, no less? Jesus understood the setup right away, and used it to teach an important concept about Biblical principles.

He drew the man over to Himself, center stage, surrounded by His disciples, so that everybody could see the man’s situation, and asked,
"Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out?"(Matthew 12:11)
One way or the other, a person would find a way to obey the letter of the rabbinical Sabbath laws and still get his sheep out of the hole.

Knowing this, Jesus continued,
"Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."(Matthew 12:12)
Not doing good on the Sabbath day was the same thing as doing evil.

The other gospels tell us that none of the lawyers or scribes or Pharisees dared to say anything because Jesus had reasoned so well.
Then he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. (Matthew 12:13)
All the Lord Jesus did was speak, and by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, as the man stretched out his hand, it was filled with life and restored. The Sabbath is about restoration
The Sabbath will be a delight when we honor it as a holy day to the Lord
The Old Testament Sabbath pointed to Christ and the rest He would bring to His people spiritually.

The Sabbath was not abolished in Christ; it was fulfilled in Christ. He is our rest. It is a day to celebrate Him!

Contrary to the religious leaders, Jesus' yoke is easy. They made the Sabbath a burden instead of a celebration. God means the Sabbath to be a time of rest, delighting in Him through worship and doing good. Like no other day, it is for our spiritual refreshment, and our inward restoration.

It takes planning to make the Sabbath the Lord’s, and sacrifice. It is not unlawful to do the necessary on the Sabbath. The Sabbath was made for us to enjoy. I can honestly say that the day our family has set aside as a Sabbath (Sunday, for us) is my absolute favorite day of the week.

* In what ways can you set aside one day a week to delight in the Lord and do what would please Him, as well as refresh your spirit?

* In what ways has the "Sabbath" (usually Sunday) felt like a burden?

* How can you make the Sabbath day more restful, more delightful, than any other day?

* How will the way you handle your child’s sport commitments, or your other obligations, harmonize with keeping the Sabbath holy?

* In what ways can you prepare ahead of time so that your family will look forward to the Lord’s day? You need to be proactive, making decisions ahead of time, then keeping to them when the time comes.

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