Sunday 26th September – Liberating the Sabbath 4 – Jesus and His Attitudes to the Sabbath
Unfortunately this sermon was not recorded please see Ian's sermon notes on Luke 6 v1-11
Intro Liberating Sabbath 4- previously:
• Creation- origins of sabbath- rest from creation- work/rest principle
• The Fall- hard work for humans; consequences of disobedience
• The Exodus- Exploring the gift of Sabbath as a sign and covenant of the freedom of the wilderness when Israel moved out from slavery
This week- Jesus and the Sabbath using one of chunk link readings- Luke 6v 1-11
Origin of the sabbath in Genesis 1 was rest from work. But what is “work”?
Pharisees had made legalistic speciality of defining “work- books of rules. How far to walk, Synagogue OK, teaching Ok, healing not OK (unless life threat)
2 important points from our reading:
1) Jesus claims to be Lord of the Sabbath- why important? What are consequences?
2) Jesus challenges pharisees on what is/isn’t permitted on Sabbath- are rules right?
Passage Luke 6v1-11:
Jesus, out for a walk with disciples, probably broke rule for distance walked but
was definitely picked up on rules forbidding harvesting, grinding and threshing
grain (bases on pharisee rule book, not Bible in Bible)
V1 Out for walk through grain fields with disciples . Picked and rubbed grain. -Deuteronomy 23:25- ok to pick it, not theft.
V2 Pharisees- why doing what’s unlawful (by whose rules?! Their interpretation)
V3-4 human need not subject to legalistic prohibitions- OT precedent from David. Setting scene for saying that His definition of sabbath matters, not theirs.
V5- Big statement- Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath. He can define how it is used, not limited by Pharisees rules. Remember sabbath was set up by God’s command (Ex 29:8-11); If Jesus is Lord over Sabbath that God commanded- must be claiming to be God. Cf Jn 5v 16-18
v16 Jewish leaders began to persecute Jesus for healing on the sabbath
v17 Jesus’ defence- my Father is always working, and I am too (creator & sustainer)
As God sustains, so Jesus too can restore and heal on the sabbath God set up the Sabbath and sets the rules- Jesus is God and has the same right to set the rules (not the pharisees)
v6-11 Jesus in synagogue to teach; A man there needed healing (shrivelled hand)
v7 Pharisees watching and waiting- would Jesus break their rules again? (clearly not understood or accepted v5 about Jesus being Lord of the sabbath)
v8 Jesus knew their thoughts, (good reminder- nothing hidden from God cf 2 Corinthians 4:2- renounced shameful ways- not do anything in secret not prepared to be brought into God’s light.) Jesus knew what was going on so forces the issue:
Asked man with the withered hand to come forward where everyone could see him. Then challenges the pharisees- should we do good or evil on the sabbath? No middle ground. No reply so Jesus healed the man. Creator restores creation.
V11 Pharisees furious (why? Can’t stop or argue against Jesus so )
So what do we know about Jesus and the sabbath?
Sabbath not about enforcing rest by a legalistic absence of work
A day for worship in fullest sense, time with God and (Rom 12)
As Jesus says, God is always working (if not then the universe would fall apart)
So sabbath must be more than absence of work.
God sustains the universe; Jesus continue God’s work of setting people free.
Last week- sabbath part of covenant and reminder of freedom for Israel (Deut 5,8)-
Jesus expands idea of sabbath & freedom. Frees from illness or spiritual oppression - v9 Is it right to good or evil? To save life or destroy it?
Same questions for all days- don’t exclude Sabbath from times to do good, save life
Yes its day of rest from work but still a chance to express God’s love, character.
Lord of the Sabbath because He is God who defined it.
Not OK to wrap up in rules, regulations, definition of work-what not allowed
Jesus broke the negative rules-based approach to keeping the sabbath
Shows a better way, about liberation and setting free (Israel’s Exodus).
Jesus modelled positive recreation (walking in the fields), worship, teaching/
learning about God; doing good is not prohibited by legalistic definitions of “work”
Jesus offers us all rest: ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest’ (Matt 11:28). Not just for present situation but for salvation and eternal life- restoring the rest that was intended before the fall, for ever in God’s presence.