As we consider the Sabbath and the Red letters, we come to today’s groundbreaking idea. Jesus seemed to thrive on turning the religion of the day on its head, and He sure did with this statement.
Jesus said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath."- Mark 2:27
With this statement, Jesus is changing the framework through which we see all law (well all of God’s law anyway.)
Have you ever wondered how David could write that poem with 176 stanzas about his love affair with the law of God.
David understood something about the law of the Lord. I have an old Bible that has this verse on the title page:
Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. - Psalms 119:18
This is often my prayer as I open the word.
And when I read it, or pray it, I can’t help but see the word pair – “behold Wonderful” – so that my prayer runs more like this.
Lord, as I open Your word today, help me see Jesus, the Wonderful One.
The law, as we saw a couple days ago, and specifically the Sabbath was a gift from God to His people. The Sabbath is not intended as a curse or burden.
One indicator that you don’t understand God’s law, particularly under the new covenant, is when it becomes burdensome. Believe me, this happens to all of us. We look at what God is calling us into, some new level of discipleship or commitment, and we think “God, why are you putting me through this?”
When we do as the old song suggests, trust and obey, when we walk by faith and not by sight, He will lead us into more joy, more passion, more victory (perhaps more persecution, more trouble, more fiery furnaces) and ultimately more of His presence.
How often do we wield the law like a battle-axe to break others? That is what the Pharisee’s were trying to do with Jesus and the disciples. They were always finding fault. But the law of the Lord is meant to be a mirror. Consider this:
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. - James 1:23-25
As I read this, I wonder if we are getting close to an answer for the question I posed on Monday. What is the Sabbath commissioned to do in the life of a believer?
The Sabbath was made for you! It’s a gift. It is intended for your good. As you embrace it you will find that you “will be blessed in what he [you] does [do].”
Oh, while we are on the subject of the benefits of the law, and in particular the Sabbath, I have to throw in one of my favorites here.
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
The law, and in particular, the Sabbath is a gift. It was made for you.
For now, for today, press in!