The Sabbath and the Lord’s Day!!!
At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!” But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? Yet I say to you that in this place there is one greater than the temple. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—that they might accuse Him.
Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him…… Matthew 12:1-14
In our previous Study, Jesus spoke about the Rest we will find if We take His yoke upon ourselves and Learn from Him. But Here, we see Jesus contrasting between the Rest He spoke about with the False Rest the Pharisees are trying to Keep in their own understanding of the Sabbath, for they did not understand the real meaning of the Sabbath. There are two incidents recorded Here and both seems to be a violation of the Old testament Sabbath law in the eyes of the Pharisees. And it is very interesting to see that these incidents occurred immediately after Jesus spoke about giving rest to those who came to Him. The rest that Jesus spoke about was the fulfillment of that Old testament Sabbath the Moses gave according to God’s instructions. The Sabbath commandments was Fulfill by the Inner rest that God came to give us under the New Covenant. And if we don’t understand this rest that Jesus spoke about, then we shall think much again about the External Sabbath keeping which was commanded under the Old testament. People may say, “But keeping the Sabbath is one of the Commandment among the Ten Commandments? How can we cancel out one of those Ten commandments and say that does not apply to us and keep the other Nine?” The reason is, that After giving the Ten Commandment, God gave a Commandment to the Israelites saying, ” (Exodus 31:12 – 17) And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you….. Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual Covenant It is a sign between ME and the CHILDREN of ISRAEL forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed” It is because People have not understood this Passage and Hebrews 4, that they make much of the Sabbath today. If We read the above verses carefully, God said the Sabbath was a Sign between “HIM and the CHILDREN OF ISRAEL”. Not a Sign between God and the People of the World or Sons of Men or Adam But the Children of Israel. That’s why we Christians don’t keep Sabbath because We are not Jews, we are not Israelite. The Sabbath was a Sign between God and the Children of Israel throughout their generation. This is the reason why this one Commandment is different. That’s why in the Entire Epistles in the New testament, You will NEVER find a Single word telling us to keep the Sabbath. On the contrary, we read in Colossians 2:16-17, that the Sabbath was a Shadow and the reality is in Christ. So don’t let anyone judge You on this Matter of Sabbath. Jesus was inaugurating the New Covenant, and the Pharisees of course did not have ears to hear this message. However, if the Matter of Sabbath wants to cause disagreement, Let us remember the Law of Liberty which says, “if One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it(Romans 14:5-6). What is important is not the day we separate for the Lord, the Main thing is our Devotion to the Lord. Whether we choose Saturday or Sunday as Our Church Meeting day is not the Most important thing. What is important is that Each day is Lived doing the will of God and for His Glory. So why the argument and debate? How has meeting on Saturday or Sunday made Us more Spiritual? Left for Me, #Everyday is the same to Me. I don’t become More Holy or righteous in a Particular Day of the Week. Hebrews 3:13 says “Exhort One another DAILY, while it is Called” Today “, lest any of You be hardened by through the deceitfulness of Sin” So #Everyday I want to Stay with People who Challenge and Exhort Me to become More Like Jesus!!! The reason why the Church meets on Sunday was because Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week(John 20:1). Let us therefore focus on things that would make our Devotion to the Lord more fervent than spend it on debate on which day the Church is to meet together. Let us therefore Consider the two Sabbath incidents in summary and briefly:
(1) On a Particular Sabbath Day, Jesus and His Disciples were walking along a grain field on their way to the synagogue and they were Hungry. I perceived their Mind was so set to be at the Worship service on time that they forgot to take bread. Let us learn from these Disciples to give up our food to avoid lateness in Church Meetings. So as they journeyed on, God so good ordered their steps into a grain field where they could pluck some heads of grains and eat. This was not stealing, it was something permitted by the Law(Deuteronomy 23:25). We can always be sure that God will supply our needs when our hearts is set towards His House, even if He did not give us meat, we can be sure He will provide grains. But when the Pharisees saw this, they were disturbed and complained to Jesus that His Disciples was doing something Unlawful to do on the Sabbath day. But Jesus defended His Disciples. Jesus always defend His Disciples and Sinners whenever Legalist tries to attack them. You remember How Jesus defended the Woman caught in Adultery(John 8:1-11).Jesus would rather take the Side of a Sinner than of a religious Legalist. Jesus reminded them of How David and his men eat a bread that was not Lawful for them to eat(1 Samuel 21:3-6) but only for priest alone. Was it God’s will that David should die of Hunger? No. We can keep the letter of the Law and not understand the Spirit. Jesus again pointed to the Law itself that the priest in the Temple break the Laws by working on a Sabbath day in the Temple and Yet they are innocent. So Jesus was trying to show to them from the Scriptures that “Would You say” David and the Priest breaks the Law or did something wrong?”No He says, Something Greater than the Temple is here. Jesus is greater than the old testament, Temple and the Law. The new Covenant is greater than the old Covenant. So He said to them, “You can only understand it if you know what these means,” I desire Mercy and not sacrifice” If they had known what it means to have mercy on someone that is Hungry, they would not have condemned His Disciples. Ignorance is the cause of all our Judgemental attitude towards our brothers and sisters. We must therefore Labour to know the True Meaning of things written in the Scriptures lest we judge others and ruin others with our teachings like the Pharisees. For Jesus is Lord even of the Sabbath. Which means ALL the Laws, everything, even the Laws of the Sabbath are in the Hands of Jesus. He can change and enforce it as it seems good to Him. He is God, He made the whole world, He gave the Laws on Mount Sinai, and He can Change it as He wills. If He has decided to Make the Sabbath Day become the Lord’s Day, who are we to say “No!!?” He is indeed the Lord even of the Sabbath!!!
(2) After Jesus silenced the Pharisees, He proceeded into the Synagogue. We must be careful never to allow people to divert our Devotion to the Lord. We must not Forsake the Assembly of the Saints because some people did not agree with what we believe. And there was a Man who had a withered Hand in the synagogue. This is the picture of a Born again Believer whose Life had been withered by Sin, Lusting, Anger and bitterness. Jesus is still in the Business of Healing such people from their withered Condition. But Religious Leaders will not permit it. They will not permit someone who preaches the message of total deliverance and victory over sins to preach to them. Because they know that such messages will expose their Sins and they don’t care about those who listen to them All they are interested in His their tithes and salaries and gifts. So these Pharisees asked Jesus if it is Lawful to Heal on Sabbath day. And the motive behind their asking was to accuse Him. There are many people like this who ask us questions not because they want to learn but just to find fault in whatever we say. Let us therefore be wise as serpent in dealing with Such people. So Jesus answered with Wisdom saying “If your sheep falls into the pit on Sabbath day will you pull it out or leave it there to Die? You people have not understood that God desires Mercy and not Sacrifice.!!!” How much more Valuable is a Man than Material things!!! If a man fell into the pit on Sabbath day, won’t You pick Him out? Definitely You will. Therefore, it is a good thing to Heal on a Sabbath day. And Jesus healed the Man. And instead of the Pharisees rejoicing with this Man, they were angry and plotted to destroy Jesus!!! Behold How evil those who are legalistic in religion could become. Are these the Teachers in the Synagogue? They were Angry because Jesus exposed that they only have a form of Godliness without the Power. They were only concern in keeping the External requirement of the Laws like Sabbath but the inward reality was Missing. When we stand against unscriptural principles, we can be sure that the Pharisees of our time will also seek to destroy Us. Let us therefore ask Jesus for wisdom which none of our enemies will be able to contradict.
Dear Friend, the Day you choose to go to Church means nothing. Whether it is Saturday or Sunday is not significant. What is important is our fervent Devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. The new Covenant is not legalism about a particular pattern or tradition. It is a Life of Perfect Daily Rest in the Lord. And the only way to find this Rest is to take the Yoke of Christ and Learn from Him. For He is the Lord, even of the Sabbath!!! May the Lord give us Grace to Find each day as a Day of complete Rest in the perfect Love and Wisdom of our Heavenly Father. (Amen). God bless you. Have a blessed day.
#Everyday with Jesus