Working on the Sabbath?

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Working on the Sabbath?        

Luke 6:1-2 “One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grain-fields, his disciples broke off heads of wheat, rubbed off the husks in their hands, and ate the grains.”

Extra Reading: Luke 6:1-35

People debate a lot on whether the Sabbath is supposed to be observed on Saturday or Sunday. Christian churches in western countries opted for Sunday due to the heavy influence of the Roman Catholic Church. The biblical Sabbath actually starts Friday afternoon before sunset. Our experience is that those who honour the Lord’s Day are honoured by God. In countries where the church kept the Sabbath by closing all businesses prospered spiritually. The student who honours God with no secular study on the Sabbath will be God-blessed. But the problem that faces us today is, can we force Christians to keep the Sabbath the way it used to be kept by law enforcement? I don’t think so. We shall experience many problems. The Lord’s Day is a New Testament fact, but it has its roots in the Sabbath of the Old Testament. Jewish life in Jesus’ day revolved around the Sabbath. Elaborate laws had been designed so that everyone knew exactly how to keep the Sabbath. This is the first of the two clashes recorded in Luke between Jesus and the religious leaders about the Sabbath (Luke 6:6-10). Jesus and His disciples were taking a Sabbath afternoon stroll, pausing to eat grain in a farmer’s field along the way.

On any other day, this would have been acceptable (Deuteronomy 23:25). But on the Sabbath, Jewish religious teachers had prohibited this type of activity because it was considered reaping and threshing, which is work. The Pharisees confronted Jesus about His disciples’ behaviour. They must have expected to put Jesus on the defensive. Instead, he refuted their specific accusation and their whole interpretation of the Sabbath. Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath. He made the Sabbath into a day of refreshment, worship and healing. The religious leaders have set up thirty-nine categories of forbidden activities-and harvesting was one of them. Jesus was greater that the law and above the law. Jesus claimed authority to correctly interpret the meaning of the Sabbath and all the laws pertaining to it. He was condoning disobedience to God’s laws. Jesus wanted to say to the Pharisees that people’s needs are more important than technicalities.

Prayer: Father God, help us to observe the Sabbath according to your will. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Rev. Samuel N. Modise        

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