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?”
And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David. Matthew 20:30 KJV
The healing of these blind men is one of the best loved stories of answered prayer. We chuckle when we hear how these blind men shouted so loudly that people standing by told them to be quiet because we like to think of shouting our needs to God and find him listening. We love the fact that when Jesus stopped and called them to come, those same nay-sayers ended up saying, “Cheer up! He’s calling you!” Most of all we love the fact that when they got to Jesus He completely healed them. But we miss the second miracle that happened that afternoon because, for us once prayers it seems like it is time to move on. But Jesus is interested in far more than simply giving us what we ask, so let’s take a look at what happens next.
So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him. Matthew 20:30KJV
Maybe this morning you are seeking God with an even more urgent request than healing. It could be you are devastated over a broken marriage, a drug addicted child, or the death of a loved one. Be encouraged that God is listening and don’t give up seeking him even if others tell you that it’s no use. But in the press of urgency for God’s help in crisis, we must remember that God has even more than healing, deliverance and comfort available. HIs greatest miracle of all is the grace of a transformed life that will follow Jesus on the road!
God Gave Him a Song
A rich and a poor man met Jesus one day
One ran to the Lord - one sat by the way
One asked for heaven while the other called out
“Lord I need mercy!” as he started to shout
But the rich man was shocked when he heard Jesus say
Both your heart and your wealth must be given away
So, he turned and went home in shock and dismay
Wondering why God asked all on that day
But the poor man jumped up and he started to come
Left his robe in the dust in his hurry to run
First, He knelt then he wept at the feet of the Lord
And He asked for His eyes to be fully restored
And Jesus delighted to give him his sight
Then He told him go home and praise God there tonight
But instead from that day he followed Jesus along
For He got more than sight - His God gave him a song!
God Gave Him a Song by Peter Caligiuri
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