Note from Jesus
Having lived among you, I know the challenges and temptations of human flesh (Hebrews 4:15). Something that troubles Me, however, is how the devil can get good, decent, God-loving people so worked up over religious rules that they actually turn the Father’s gift of rest into an excuse to beat people up with religious traditions. Your desire to honor Us — Father, Son, and Spirit — is praiseworthy. However, if you distort that desire to honor Us so that you can make yourself look more holy, your desire can become despicably hurtful.
Too much of My earthly ministry was spent dealing with critics who did not think I honored the Sabbath. They wasted precious time debating Me and trying to trap Me — time that could have been used blessing people whose needs were largely forgotten and neglected by them and their religious leaders. Sadly, this kind of thing is sometimes true in your own day. Please don’t turn holy days and special buildings into an excuse for neglecting people and bringing harm to those I have made in My image.
Verses to Live
The Father gave you the concept of Sabbath to bless you, to bless those who work for you, to bless those who work with you, and to bless your neighbors. He wanted to bless you with a respite from your normal activities and commitments. He wanted you to be nourished by time with family and friends who share your faith. He wanted this to be a time for you to be restored by sacred grace — for you to have true shalom. To distort this Sabbath principle into a legalistic set of rules that prevent helping your brother and sister in need or that place unreasonable burdens or restrictions on them actually brings harm and does evil. So take warning from the two events from My life in the verses below. Notice especially My questions in bold below. The answer to those questions is obvious from what I did for the man with the deformed hand!
One Sabbath Day, some Pharisees confronted Jesus again. This time, they saw the disciples picking some grain as they walked through the fields. The disciples would de-husk the grain by rubbing the kernels in their hands, and then they would eat it raw.
Don’t You know the sacred law says You can’t harvest and mill grain on the Sabbath Day — the day on which all work is forbidden? Why do You think You can ignore the sacred law?
Speaking of the sacred law, haven’t you ever read about the time when David and his companions were hungry? Don’t you remember how he went into the house of God and took the sacred bread of the presence — which, you may recall, only the priests were lawfully permitted to eat? Remember that he not only ate it, but he also gave it to his companions? Likewise, the Son of Man has authority over the Sabbath.
On another Sabbath, Jesus entered the synagogue and taught there. In the congregation was a man who had a deformed right hand. The religious scholars and Pharisees watched Jesus; they suspected that He might try to perform a healing on that day, which they would use as evidence to convict Him of Sabbath-breaking.
Jesus knew about their plan, and He told the man with the deformed hand to come and stand in front of everyone. The man did so. Then Jesus spoke directly to the religious scholars and Pharisees.
Here’s a question for you: On the Sabbath Day, is it lawful to do good or to do harm? Is it lawful to save life or to destroy it?
He turned His gaze to each of them, one at a time. Then He spoke to the man.
Stretch your hand out.
As the man did, his deformed hand was made normal again. This made the Pharisees and religious scholars furious. They began discussing together what they would do to Jesus.
Response in Prayer
O Father, help me honor You and the gift of sabbath rest that You have given to me. Help me to do good, not harm, on all days — especially on days that I set aside as holy days given especially to family, faith, and fellowship with those who love You. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.