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
Call me old fashioned, but I hate to shop on Sundays! On the rare occasions when we do go out to a store for something vital, I am saddened to see that now it looks to be the busiest shopping day of the week. Of course, we weren’t any holier back in the day when almost everything was shut down on Sunday, but it gave us a taste of something that I believe the Lord meant for it to be. In this 21st century world of rushing about, 365 days a year, it is more important than ever to remember that what some of us still call, “The Lord’s Day”, remains a wonderful though overlooked blessing. There are a variety of opinions on the matter, but I believe that understanding how we can keep the Sabbath, begins by seeing how Jesus acted on that day. One thing we find over and over in the gospels is that He took special delight in choosing it for healing. This usually got Him in trouble with the Pharisees and in today’s verse, when they heatedly argued with Him about it, Jesus responded by saying –
“It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath” Matthew 12:12.
In other words, God didn’t mean for the day of rest to simply be a day for ceasing all activity. We see that for Jesus, the Sabbath was a day for 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 when we look around our 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. The breath of life that God once breathed into Adam’s nostrils seems to have been replaced by an evil wind of warfare and hatred that is sweeping across our world. The good news is that Jesus came to give us the healing breath of life again. But for us to experience God’s Sabbath healing, we must learn to rest as Jesus did. After all, He brought more healing to a Samaritan woman’s heart and ultimately to her village when He rested by a well, than His disciples did while busily going into town to buy food. God has given us His special day, whether the world remembers that it is special or not. Now He waits to see if we will use it just for ourselves, or to share the living water of His healing with the people who are all around us who desperately need the rest that only God can give.
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