October 9 I Saturday
“The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.” —2 Corinthians 3:6, NLT
One of the biggest issues that Jesus faced during His ministry on earth was the controversy concerning the Sabbath. On one occasion, Jesus and His disciples were walking through some grain fields and His disciples picked some heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands and started to eat the heads of grain because they were hungry. The Pharisees, who were watching Jesus closely, challenged Him for what His disciples were doing on the Sabbath. Jesus answered, “For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:8).
The Lord of the Sabbath had come to set the captives free. Jesus came to restore those trapped under the law. The law not only was powerless to restore life, but it could only point to death. Yet, what the law was powerless to do, Jesus did Himself. He was revealing to the Pharisees this reality that He is the only One who can restore life to what is lifeless. No amount of rules and regulations can bring about life; it can only create more death.
When we are focused on Christ rather than religious rules, we are dependent upon Him for daily living. When we are living in relational dependence upon Christ, His holiness is made manifest in our lives. Paul tells us, “Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). As we focus on Christ, having our eyes fixed upon Him, our hearts and minds are set on things above. Paul goes on to say, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). Note that Paul did not say, “The fruit of the believer is…” but “The fruit of the Spirit is…” The point being that only through the Spirit can holiness be manifested in our life.
In W. Ian Thomas’s book The Mystery of Godliness, he said, “Godliness is not the consequence of your capacity to imitate God but the consequence of His capacity to reproduce Himself in you. It is not self-righteousness but Christ-righteousness, the righteousness that is by faith—a faith that by renewed dependence upon God releases His divine action to restore the marred image of the invisible God.”
In many ways, what Jesus was doing on the Sabbath was revealing what the Sabbath was always meant to be. Holiness and righteousness are made manifest in our lives when we focus on Him, and not on external rules and regulations. The Sabbath was meant to be a signpost to point people to Jesus.
Prayer: Precious Jesus, You are the Lord of the Sabbath. May my focus ever be fixed upon You, so that Your Spirit is manifested in my life. Thank You, Jesus.