Keeping The Sabbath Holy Essay

1582 words - 6 pages

Keeping the Sabbath Holy Did Jesus change the rules of no working on the Sabbath? Exodus 20:8-11 commands us, "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy." Deuteronomy 5:12 repeats this. So, exactly what does this mean? Did Jesus break the fourth commandment? Let's go back and see how the Jewish society and leaders considered what keeping the Sabbath holy meant.In Jewish culture, observing the Sabbath was the largest practice of the day. It applied to everyone, whether Jew or slave. What was considered "work?" Gathering food, cooking, and making fires were all considered work and were prohibited. But Sabbath offerings were allowed. In the days of the Maccabaean revolt, many Jews refused to defend themselves when attacked on the Sabbath, so were killed. Many of them suffered torture and death rather than break the Law. They sometimes even thought this helped atone for the sins of the people. Then some groups had even stricter laws. They went as far as to say how many cubits you could walk from your home on the Sabbath and so on (Sanders 6). They had hundreds of regulations to determine what was work on the Sabbath and what wasn't. A doctor could help a man who had had an accident and could do whatever he could to keep the man alive, but couldn't start the process of healing. Their ritual purity was their pre-occupation. The Pharisees were following legalism. They seemed to make additional laws and rules that God didn't make, all in the name of clarifying what God said. Most of the Jews believed they could earn God's favor if they kept the Law perfectly (Abernathy 57-58, 108-110).Jesus made at least seven miracles on a Sabbath. The first was the healing of the crippled man by the pool Bethesda in John 5. This man had been crippled for thirty-eight years. He was helpless, and Jesus' role was to take care of the hopeless and helpless. The second was the healing of the blind man in John 9. This man had been blind from birth. Mark 1:21-22 tells about Jesus healing the man with the evil spirit. Mark 1:29-30 tells about Jesus healing Peter's mother-in-law. She was sick in bed with a fever. Jesus healed the man with the shriveled hand in Mark 3. Jesus used a scriptural example for his defense. He compared the value and worth of a man to an animal. His example was that of a sheep that had fallen in a pit. He asked, "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But the Pharisees recognized that danger to life took precedence over observance of the Sabbath law....

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