October 14 I Wednesday

Isaiah 43-44

1 Thessalonians 2

“Then He said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.’” —Mark 2:27-28


We were created with a need to rest, which is why we have the Sabbath. During Jesus’s time on earth, one area of controversy He had with the Pharisees was the question of the Sabbath. Jesus healed a man with a shrivelled hand in Mark 3:1-6 as well as a woman who had been crippled by a spirit for 18 years in Luke 13:10-17; both of these miracles happened on a Sabbath, which aroused disapproval from the Pharisees and synagogue leaders.

God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses and the Israelites on Mount Sinai, but the Ten Commandments were a little vague when it came to details. Over the years, the Jews turned the privilege of obeying the Ten Commandments into a burden. Jewish leaders built in some sub-clauses and bylaws to clarify what was expected. As a result, the Ten Commandments became 613 mitzvot and are still observed by some Jewish communities today.

About the Sabbath, Exodus 20:8-10 tells us, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.” The commandment sounds straightforward but what constitutes “work?” The Jewish leaders developed 39 definitions of “work.”

This is why Jesus’s healing on the Sabbath caused such controversy, because He was working. 
Mark 2:23-28 records Jesus’s teaching about the Sabbath. While Jesus’s disciples were going through a cornfield on a Sabbath, they were picking some ears of corn because they were hungry. The Pharisees saw this and criticized Jesus on the work that His disciples were doing on the Sabbath. Jesus’s response to the Pharisees was a defining statement on what the Sabbath is supposed to be: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27-28).

The Sabbath was given to us, not as some kind of burden or hoop that we have to jump through in order to somehow earn brownie points with God. The Sabbath was made to serve man and not man for the Sabbath. No wonder why Jesus fell foul of the Sabbath laws imposed by the Jewish leaders in His day. Their desires and attempts to satisfy the requirements of the law made them serve the Sabbath, when the Sabbath was designed to serve us.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for reminding me that the Sabbath is made for man and not the other way around. I am thankful You created the Sabbath for man. Praise You!

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