Summary: Jesus questioned regarding the Sabbath. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
(1). The Sabbath:
(2). In the field (vs 23-28):
(3). In the synagogue (vs 1-6):
• A student sat through an exam;
• The teacher supervising said time up but still the student carried on.
• The teacher said; “Hand your exam paper in now or I’m not going to accept it.”
• Still the student carried on.
• Thirty minutes later the student got up and stood before the teacher;
• The teacher looked at him and said; “I am not going to accept your paper it is late”.
• The student looked the teacher in the eye and said; “Do you know who I am?”
• The teacher replied “No, and I don’t really care!”
• For a second time the student said; “Do you know who I am?”
• For a second the teacher replied “No!”
• The student replied; “Good”,
• He then lifted the stack of exams, stuffed his paper in the middle, & ran out of the room.
The reason Jesus faces so much opposition in this chapter is the religious leaders do not know who he really is:
• They assume he is a carpenter turned itinerant preacher;
• They have yet to realise he is the Son of God.
• They opposed him in verses 1-12;
• Because they just saw him as a man who claimed the authority to forgives sins.
• They opposed him in verses 13-22;
• Because they saw making friends & associating with sinful people.
• They opposed him now in verses 23-28;
• Because he brings freedom from rules & regulations.
• It might surprise you to know;
• That the most popular tourist attraction in Northern England is Hadrian's Wall.
• The wall was built as a defensive fortification.
• They began building in AD 122, during the rule of emperor Hadrian,
• The wall was the most heavily fortified border in the Roman Empire.
• It ran 80 Roman miles (73 statute miles) from coast to coast.
• A significant portion of the wall still exists today;
• Particularly the mid-section.
Walls of course separate and divide and the Pharisees of Jesus day knew the value of a good wall:
• In fact they built them and they built them well;
• Not physical walls like Hadrian’s, but symbolic walls.
• Let me explain;
• To stop people breaking God’s law they simply built a wall around it.
• Suppose God had said that all Church platforms were out of bounds to non preachers;
• Now if you broke that rule and stood on the platform – deliberately or by accident;
• You would be in big trouble! We’re talking mega big trouble.
• Now because the leaders of this Church like you the congregation;
• And are concerned for you safety!
• The leaders of the Church have a bright idea (it does happen now & again!)
• To try and protect you and stop you accidentally breaking that rule, that law;
• They have decided to build a wall of protection around that law.
• The guarding wall will be the front row;
• No-one is aloud beyond that point.
• Now if someone accidentally strays beyond that point;
• Hopefully one of the leaders can stop them before they reach the platform.
• That way, all they will ever do is break the lesser rule i.e. front row.
• And not the more important rule i.e. standing on the platform.
• Now hopefully that illustration with help you understand the logic of the Pharisees;
• To stop people breaking God’s law they simply walled it off;
• But the sad part of their plan is that the ‘walls’ that the Pharisees built;
• Soon became as important as the laws they were trying to protect.
• And the laws they introduced to protect people;
• Soon became laws that trapped people.
The highest and most guarded of the Pharisees' walls concerned the Sabbath.
• I like the story of the student who was taking an exam;
• To see if he was suitable for confirmation.
• He was asked to list the Ten Commandments in any order he liked;
• So he wrote, "3, 6, 1, 8, 4, 5, 9, 2, 10, 7."
• Well to the Pharisees (religious leaders);
• The commandment regarding the Sabbath was very, very important!
• In fact for God’s one commandment “Keep the Sabbath holy”
• They had added over six hundred rules of their own!
• For the Pharisees the Sabbath was their ‘sacred cow’;
• Regarding Sabbath they would not compromise or budge!
• And it would be on this issue ‘understanding the Sabbath’;
• That Jesus and His critics fought their most intense battles.