It is one of the things that makes the people unique.
Where other cultures don’t have such a concept, the children of God are identified as belonging to Him because they celebrate a day of rest at the end of six days of labour. That seventh day is sacred to them. In it they ensure no one works. It’s a way of remembering the pattern of God in creation and pledging dependence on the one who liberated them for everything.
The Sabbath is a blessing for those with the sensitivity to hear it and celebrate it. To those who are not as sensitive, the day in itself can be a burden not a liberation.
Jesus said to his critics, “I have a question for you. Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” (Luke 6:9)
The ‘critics’ that Jesus was offering this question were already on their second go at attacking Jesus for His stance on this revered of days. It wasn’t so much that Jesus was encouraging breaking the Sabbath, it was that when they wanted to nail for breaking the Sabbath they came up on the losing side.
Jesus already had them when they wanted to create a big stink over how the disciples got their snack on the Sabbath. Now, however, He was raising the stakes by highlighting the issue of what the Sabbath was really about, right in the middle of the centre of the critics’ place of authority.
The day of rest – the day to celebrate the completed work of God – is a day for life. It’s a day to celebrate the completed work – so when there’s evidence of the work incomplete on a matter of life and you can bring a reason to celebrate by completing the work and you don’t … well Jesus’ question puts it in perspective – that’s evil. To set up a whole approach to a day of celebrating the completed work of life that actually goes against it – that’s evil.
We can enjoy the rest because of the completed work and when get a chance to see that work completed for the sake of life, that’s something worth celebrating.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden