Summary: Don’t let religious traditions become more important that people.
The religious leaders did not ask, “Who healed you?” but rather, “Who told you to do this on the Sabbath?” They were more concerned about a broken rule than a miraculous healing.
According to the Pharisees, carrying a mat on the Sabbath was work and was therefore unlawful. It did not break an Old Testament law, but the religious leaders’ interpretation of God’s command to “remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” (Exodus 20:8). This was just one of hundreds of rules they had added to the Old Testament law. (Life Application Study Bible)
BIG IDEA: Don’t let religious traditions become more important that PEOPLE.
There is a big difference between teaching people to obey the commands of Scripture and demanding people to follow man-made rules.
“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”
Jesus was accused of two crimes:
1. Breaking the SABBATH
“The day on which [the miracle] took place was a Sabbath” (v. 9b).
“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done” (Genesis 2:2-3).
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither your, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy” (Exodus 20:8-11).
As the religious leaders condemned Jesus for breaking man-made rules regarding the Sabbath, people today often judge others for breaking man-made rules regarding Sunday worship.
Do we need to keep the Sabbath rules?
• The NT never commands believers to observe the Sabbath. All of the Ten Commandments are repeated in the NT except the Fourth Commandment.
• The Sabbath was the sign to Israel of the Old Covenant. Since we are now under the New Covenant, we are no longer required to keep the Sabbath.
“The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested” (Exodus 31:16-17).
By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear (Hebrews 8:13).
• The NT reveals that the early church met together on Sunday.
On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight (Acts 20:7).
Now about the collection for God’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
• Paul rebuked the Galatians for thinking God expected them to observe special days (including the Sabbath).
But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! (Galatians 4:9-10).
• Paul warned those who observed the Sabbath not to condemn those who didn’t.
One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one would be fully convinced in his own mind (Romans 14:5).
Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17).
• Nowhere in the NT are we told that Sunday has replaced Saturday as the Sabbath. In other words, the Sabbath rules do not apply to Sunday. Sunday is not the “Christian Sabbath.”
The Sabbath had two purposes:
(1) It was a time to REST.
(2) It was a time to REMEMBER what God had done.
Both are still necessities for all believers. For the majority, Sunday is the best day for these needs to be met.