Jesus Religion and You: Sabbath Keeping Love or Labor?
Week 8 Chapter 7.3
As we have seen over the last few weeks, the Pharisees loved to take what God meant as a gracious gift to man, and twist it around into a burden for everyone but them. Their view of religion was much the same as the secular world is today. Their view saw religion as a bunch of rules, that if kept, would impress God and force Him to honor them. WRONG!! The God of the Bible is the only impressive one. It is His love towards us, and nothing we do in ourselves, that should cause us to follow the rules. Jesus’ ministry turned the Pharisees religion upside down. He showed that their attitude should have been gratuitous toward a God who loved them so much that He ordered a day of rest. God did this because He knew that we would keep going like the “Energizer Bunny” or a hamster on an exercise wheel, if He did not provide a ways for us to stop and enjoy our world and especially our relationship with Him.
The Pharisees had taken God’s concept of love and turned it into a religious rule that they could brag about. No wonder they hated Jesus! Jesus’ response to their breakneck religion was to tell them that He was Lord of the Sabbath. On the many occasions where they accused Him of breaking their self-made rules, Jesus plainly showed them that love, not labor, was the driving force for Sabbath Keeping.
In Matthew 22:35-37, Jesus sets the Great Commandment to Love God first, then others. In one sentence, Jesus was able to synthesize the entire Mosaic Law!
The Pharisees on the other hand would pick apart each rule and then add ten of their own, in order to “police” other peoples holiness. Sound familiar? I see it everyday! When I am angry, I feel it rising up in me, too! When I am angry with others, I can find 8,000 ways in which they are not being Christian, while ignoring the self-righteousness in me that is driving the anger. I have forgotten who is really God! It is interesting to note, that the Pharisees self-righteousness did not go so far as to help others. They judged everyone else for not “resting” but the only things they rested from were doing good things for others. They drank, partied, and did things that would displease God, and they ignored people or even animals that needed their love and compassion. Funny, that is why they accused Jesus. He was doing what God does all the time…and what God would always have His people do. He just wasn’t doing religion their way.
So is your Sabbath a day of love or a day of labor? Does it reflect your love relationship with God or is it a religious sacrifice meant to impress Him with your piety? Newsflash, it had better be the former because God is NO respecter of persons.
When you rest this Sunday, the first day of the week, remember the relationship that should come first in your week, and in your life. Take time out and celebrate that! Enjoy the blessings He has given you and do not forget to share them with others. Remember what Jesus said: The Sabbath was make for man and not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2;27-28) See Ya next time!!