Saturday, February 11, 2017

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Sabbath: Leading to the Perfection of Creation

Daniel Thomas

Orlando MTC

27.  Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.  28. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."

Sabbath - day of rest, considered holy to God by His rest on the seventh day after creation and viewed as a sign of the covenant relation between God and His people, and of the eternal rest He has promised them (Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary).

"Bereshith Rabbah," a Rabbinical commentary of the second century, said of the institution of Sabbath this way:  A king created a wedding canopy which he ornamented beautifully.  When completed, there was but one thing missing, and that was the bride.  Likewise, when the creation was completed, its perfection required nothing but the Sabbath.

The habit of Jesus was to observe the Sabbath as a day of worship in the synagogues (Luke 4:16),  and it was, in fact, His mission statement of His earthly ministry (vv. 18-19).  But His failure to comply with the minute restrictions brought conflict (Mark 2:23-28; 3:1-6; Luke 13:10-17; John 5:1-18).  Jesus didn't violate one of the Ten Commandments, but He refused to obey the man-made laws that violated what God intended for the Sabbath.  Instead of the Sabbath being seen as a day of rest in remembrance of God, it had become a joyless ritual because of the Pharisees' regulations.  Jesus insisted on observing the Sabbath as it was originally intended.  Rather than discarding the commandment to "keep the Sabbath day holy," Jesus instead demonstrated that one way to obey God's directive for the day was feeding the hungry.  Jesus used the action of David to show that the Pharisees' narrow interpretation of the law diminished God's intention (Mark 2:25-26).  The spirit of the law in respect to human needs took precedence over man-made ceremonial regulations.

James in his epistle says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (1:27).  Whenever we forget the love, forgiveness, service, and mercy that are the heart of religion and replace them with the rules and regulations, we practice hypocrisy and thereby defeat God's will for us.

PRAYER

Gracious Father, the Lord of Sabbath, guide us to  respond to the needs of others.  May Your Spirit of love and mercy empower our hearts so that we may find joy in serving the needy.  Amen.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
Sabbath proclaims that God has originally created this world and its creatures in a perfect and complete manner.