On this Easter week you might be wondering why I am choosing to share a series on the Sabbath. That is a question I have asked myself as well, but then, what better week than this to consider rest. This week of all the year is like a spiritual Sabbath when we turn from the activities of the world and focus on Jesus and all He has done. Today let’s take a look at the Sabbath as a special day of healing.
And a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” Matthew 12:10
In our search to understand the Sabbath let’s begin by seeing how Jesus acted on the day of rest. One thing we find over and over in the gospels is that He seemed to take special delight in choosing the Sabbath day for healing the sick, which upset the Pharisees. In answer to their accusation that He was breaking the law, Jesus explained,
“It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath” Matthew 12:12.
In other words, our day of rest is not simply a ceasing of all activity. Jesus was no less active on the Sabbath than on any other day. The Sabbath rest can be a day of miraculous restoration. At the finish of creation, God’s assessment of His work was,
“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good…” Genesis 1:31
But today when we look out around the world, even the rosiest of the rosiest views is that not all is good any longer. In fact, there is incredible pain, suffering, sin and loss. Jesus came into our dark world to give us the breath of life again. He came to the weary and heavy laden to give a new Sabbath rest for our souls. The Sabbath is there at all times and in all places as God’s special day of healing, hope and restoration. It is a day set aside not simply to get rest while we watch TV, but to switch our focus to a service that gives life and rest to others. Jesus accomplished more as He rested by the well and slept in the boat than the disciples did while buying food or pulling hard at the oars. God has given us the Sabbath day of rest as a gift, and He waits to see how we will choose to use His gift in the lives of those around us. Day one the question was, “Have you received God’s gift of the Sabbath? Day two let’s ask, “To whom have we given it away?”