Summary: When going to church on Sunday seems like just another demand on our time or another obligation, why not stay in bed to get extra sleep? That is why God teaches us that God made the Sabbath day for you. It is a day when God gives and who would want to sle
Second Sunday after Pentecost
June 14th, 2009
From the concise code of Jewish Law:
When one observes the Sabbath properly it is as though he has fulfilled the whole Torah, and one desecrates the Sabbath, it is as though he has denied the whole Torah. (from the Holiness of the Sabbath pg 21)
On removing a hangnail on the Sabbath-A hangnail that is mostly detached, and is causing pain, or is likely to cause pain, may be removed by hand or with the teeth, butnot with an implement.
Drying One’s Hair-While it is not permitted to squeeze the water out of one’s hair, it is permitted to dry the hair with a towel, and even to rub it to relieve any discomfort.
It is forbidden to open or close the door of an oven in which a fire is burning, because one is thereby either kindling or extinquishing the fire.
If one finds fruit beneath a tree on the Sabbath he may not even handle it, for it may have fallen off that very day.
One who spills liquid on the ground in soil where something will grow is in violation of the prohibition of sowing because the liquid may cause it to grow.
What I just read to you are some of the laws guiding faithful Jews on how to go about honoring the Sabbath day and keeping it holy. Those who seek to honor these laws often do so out of pure love and desire to honor God. However, whatever the motivation, such laws only place the emphasis of our worship back upon what we do over and above what God has freely given. Why cast aside God’s Grace? Why cast aside the Holy Saving Work of Christ for our miserable and useless works?
Most Christians have difficulty understanding why anyone in their right mind would want to turn God’s Grace into law the way the Pharisees did. Yet, we are guilty of doing the same sort of actions. Lutheran’s can be guilty of creating laws around all sorts of things, including how we are supposed to worship. I once heard a Christian say that those who fail to use page 5 and 15 in our liturgy are no longer honoring God in worship and yes there have also been many who have publically confessed that only LC-MS Lutherans are going to heaven. Such comments suggest that only by our actions, organization and structure are we truly saved and that just isn’t the case. It is by Grace we have been saved through faith apart from our works.
Our Gospel reading for today reflects upon turning God’s Grace into law. The Pharisees accused Jesus’ disciples of breaking the commandment by doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath. Religious pride moved these Pharisees to think they knew better than Jesus as to what God intended when he first created this commandment. What they didn’t know is that as TRUE GOD, Jesus authored the Ten Commandments.
Does anyone here know what the phrase “Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy” means? Many folks have difficulty understanding its true meaning. Those that are unfamiliar with the Sabbath might wonder what it means and how it is kept. So I came up with a more modern way to ask the question and it goes something like this: “When and why do I make time for God and His Word in my life”? That is really what the Sabbath is all about. It is about making time for God and His Word.
You know the original day of the Sabbath took place on a Saturday not on Sunday. This has confused some Christians as they wonder if we are even being faithful to the commandment the way we should. Such a question leads to creating laws that just do not belong in the Christian’s life.
The truth of the matter is that it does not matter on what day we honor the Sabbath. In fact we should never be concerned about such things because no matter how hard we try we cannot keep this or any other commandment the way God has intended. The entire reason why Jesus came into this world was for him to keep this and every other commandment perfectly in our place. Then Jesus transferred his perfect response to keeping God’s laws upon us. The result of this free gift is that now God sees you and me as Holy in His sight as if we kept every commandment perfectly. So I ask again, why would any of us want to cast that gift aside and try keeping God’s law perfectly on our own?
I do understand that there is often some confusion as to just what we are supposed to do with God’s laws. Some say that because we are under His Grace we really do not have to honor any of them. After all, as I just said, Jesus took care of keeping the commandments perfectly for us. However, the commandments still have their role in the Christian life.