Summary: What does the Sabbath have to do with us today? And are we commanded to keep it? Find out more in this exposition from Luke 6.
¡§21st Century Sabbath Keeping¡¨
If you¡¦ve read our focus passage before today, you¡¦ll know one of the key words is the word ¡¥Sabbath.¡¦ You probably know it is mentioned 6 times, and you probably know it is the apparent centerpiece of the debate going on between Jesus and the Pharisees.
But beyond that, perhaps you¡¦re like a lot of people ¡V ¡§What does Sabbath mean?¡¨ Better yet, ¡§What does a passage about the Sabbath have to do with me?¡¨ Let¡¦s answer both of those questions this morning, shall we? First, some Sabbath Stats:
„X Means ¡§rest¡¨
„X Initiated by God after creation
„X The fourth commandment in the 10 Commandments
„X Explained in more detail in Leviticus and Deuteronomy
„X Overall purpose? To provide a structure for freedom from work and a focus on God.
However, the Pharisees developed additional regulations and laws that were deigned to help them obey God¡¦s law. For instance, the Shabbat, an extra biblical piece of literature, contains 39 categories of work on the Sabbath (I guess they felt it was important to define what God meant):
„X God forbid harvesting with a sickle or for profit on the Sabbath, but they said you couldn¡¦t even do it with your hand for your own family.
„X Threshing wheat was forbidden, but they said you couldn¡¦t even rub two grains of wheat in your hands, for that was a species of threshing.
„X To carry a burden was forbidden on the Sabbath, but they said a burden was an object the weight of a fig.
„X Even today, if you go to Israel, if you are a follower of Judaism you must fix all meals in advance in case of company, and there is a Sabbath elevator that stops on every floor so you don¡¦t have to press the buttons yourself. WOW!
This is why the Pharisees were so upset with Jesus in Luke 6: They thought he violated the laws, traditions and regulations concerning the Sabbath. In fact, Jesus performed SEVEN miracles on the Sabbath throughout the Gospels. Boy, did he make the Pharisees angry when he broke the Sabbath laws!
But did he really?
After studying, praying, and researching the passage, I believe Jesus never broke God¡¦s laws about the Sabbath; he only violated the Pharisees¡¦ interpretations of it and regulations for it. Let me show you.
[READ TEXT and comment, explain, define, circle, mark¡Kget them into the Word!]
And when all was said and done, it is clear they were more upset about his deity than their day! Truth is, they really weren¡¦t worried so much about keeping the Sabbath; they were more interested in killing the Savior!
Isn¡¦t this a typical reaction of religious leaders who base their beliefs on man made regulations? Fear drives them to fury, and fury leads to fanaticism. When confronted with truth (i.e. Christ¡¦s deity), the Pharisees responded with terror. Which simply proves their motives weren¡¦t right ¡V they didn¡¦t really care for others¡¦ interests¡Konly for their own. Yes, their selfish interests and motives were cloaked in their pseudo-love of spiritual tradition; in reality, they despised the freedom Christ offered in his message of ¡§repent and believe.¡¨
Perhaps you’re wondering, ¡§So if the point of the story isn¡¦t the Sabbath, what is?¡¨ Here¡¦s what really going on:
Two schools of thought are being contrasted, and Christ is using this as a way of comparing the ¡§old¡¨ with the ¡§new¡¨ (remember Luke 5 and the parable?).
Old vs. New
Law vs. Grace
Works vs. Faith
Tradition vs. Trust
Religion vs. Relationship
This goes on today more than you think! For instance¡K
...Seventh Day Adventists hold to the doctrine of Investigative Judgment which says that once you express faith in Christ, then you are investigated over time to see if your works really indicate your faith. This investigative judgment began in 1844 and continues today¡KChrist is looking closer to see if your works are in harmony with the law of God, namely the keeping of the Sabbath. Only then are your sins blotted out. (Another Gospel by Ruth Tucker p. 110)
...Scientology believes there is no need to repent, because salvation is actually freedom from reincarnation (coming back to do better!). You must work with your ¡§auditor¡¨ to be ¡¥clear¡¦ of your hang-ups (known as ¡¥engrams¡¦). This is how you move up the spiritual ladder. Whoa, dude! (Christianity, Cults and Religions by Rose Publishing)
...Mormons believe salvation comes in two parts: General and Individual. Generally, all of humanity will be saved when they are resurrected and judged according to their works. Individually, if a person wants to earn forgiveness from personal sins, they must meet certain requirements, including faith, baptism, obedience to Mormon doctrine, and good works. (They Can¡¦t All Be Right? By Steven Russo p. 62-63)