Summary: Building a continuum with the legalism of the Jews on one end and the Law of Love on the other end. Then trying to decide exactly where along that continuum Lent falls.
(Establishing the first end of the continuum - Legalism)
Exodus 20:8-10 (NLT)
“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God.
“On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you.”
Matthew 12:1-2 (NLT)
“(One) time Jesus was walking through some grain fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, so they began breaking off some heads of grain and eating them.
“But some Pharisees saw them do it and protested, ‘Look, Your disciples are breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath.’”
Matthew 12:9-10 (NLT)
“Jesus went over to their synagogue, where He noticed a man with a deformed hand. The Pharisees asked Jesus, ‘Does the law permit a person to work by healing on the Sabbath?’
“(They were hoping He would say yes, so they could bring charges against Him.)”
This was probably the first time this question had ever been brought up!!!
Here are some other things Jews cannot do on the Sabbath …
Brushing dried mud from boots or clothes (grinding).
Drawing blood for a blood test (slaughtering).
Tearing through lettering on a package (erasing).
This is certainly not intended to humiliate the people of the Jewish religion in any way but to bring a few examples of the direction that religious practices can take when men attempt to improve or amplify the law of God.
So, let’s take a look at the other end of the spectrum. (The Law of (godly) Love)
One of our memory Scriptures:
Matthew 22:37-40 (NLT)
“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.
“And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Romans 13:8-10 (NLT)
“Owe nothing to anyone - except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law.
“For the commandments say, ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.’
“These - and other such commandments - are summed up in this one commandment: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.”
Colossians 2:20-23 (NLT)
“You have died with Christ, and He has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, ‘Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!’?
“Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline.