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A Study of the Sabbath, What Jesus Did.

Posted by adventbiblestudy on May 22, 2009


This study is based on the Sabbath School Lesson for the week of May 15 to 22, 2009. Principal Contributor: Reinder Bruinsma, Editor: Clifford R. Goldstein 

How would you explain the Sabbath to others? What text would you use? What experiences would you share? How did Jesus spend the Sabbath?

“It is the medicine badly needed by millions in societies plagued by stress, heart problems, and burnout. It offers escape from the never-ending pressures of modern life. It provides a possibility to recharge our empty batteries and to refocus on the real priorities in life. The Sabbath tells us there is a time to close the door of our home and our mind to the clutter and noise of the world and to come into the presence of the One who made us and who knows what we need.”

“Two basic institutions for all humankind date from the first week of earth’s history: marriage and the Sabbath are under attack from the evil one.” Is Satan Winning? Jesus did not teach about two institutions created at the beginning. We are attacked by many denominations pointing out the fact Jesus never taught the Sabbath is the 4th commandment. Jesus never used the methods used by the Pharisees to teach about the Sabbath. Jesus used two methods, He healed on the Sabbath and gave His followers the ability to heal and cast out demons. “God knew what humanity would need.”

“Following the example of the Creator, man was to rest upon this sacred day, that as he should look upon the heavens and the earth, he might reflect upon God’s great work of creation; God saw that a Sabbath was essential for man, even in Paradise.”

Genesis 2:3 NKJV 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

Ezekiel 20:12 NKJV 12 “Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them.

“In Eden, God set up the memorial of His work of creation, in placing His blessing upon the seventh day.”

These are typical verses and EGW quotes used to describe the Sabbath. The question we have to decide to ask and answer is, “are these in line with the methods Christ used to teach others about the Sabbath?Is this all we need to show people so they can see the memorial of His work.

 

“Holy Time the core meaning is “to set aside for a specific use.” Similarly, holy days are marked by God for a specific purpose. Once they have been singled out as holy, they are no longer available for common use, because they have been destined for a higher purpose. The activities on such holy days must correspond with the purpose God has attached to such days.”

Genesis 2:3 NKJV 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

Isaiah 58:13 NKJV 13 “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the LORD honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words,

“The Sabbath is a powerful testimony to the sovereignty of God. Only he can create, and only he can make something holy. This is why Adventists object so strongly to the change from Sabbath to Sunday as the Christian day of rest and worship. Without a clear divine mandate, such a development is nothing less than an affront to God.”—Richard Rice, The Reign of God (Berrien Springs, Mich.: Andrews University Press, 1997), p. 403.

Exod. 31:12, 13. NKJV 12 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 13 “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.

We repeat the same verses over and over again hoping one day they will bring our desired result. DO we really read these verses? Do we understand them? Can we fully explain them? God can speak anything into existence with a single word. Do we reverence His words? Every one of them? What does it mean to, “that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.”? What are examples of God sanctifying His people?

KJV Matthew 10:1. And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

KJV Luke 10:1. After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. 2. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. 3. Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. 4. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.

KJV Luke 10:17. And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. 18. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. 19. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. 21. In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. 22. All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. 23. And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: 24. For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

“When our Sabbath keeping is only a matter of external behavior, following a list of rules, we have missed its true meaning. But, at the same time, our Sabbath keeping is visible to others. It tells other people that we are separate and different. It is a sign of our loyalty to our Creator and Redeemer.”

Are we still sanctified by Jesus to go out into the world, to teach about the Sabbath? Are we using the abilities Jesus gave to the twelve and the seventy? Are we using the healing abilities we are given to share with the world?

“God wants His people to be “holy”; that is, He wants people who have consciously separated themselves from the things of this world. How should keeping the Sabbath help you in a concrete way to be “separate” from the world?” Or are we relying on being separate and different to teach others about the Sabbath? How did Jesus teach others about the Sabbath?

“When we talk about the Sabbath commandment, we usually refer to the version we find in Exodus 20. There the commandment is anchored in the Creation of the world. From the Ten Commandments in the book of Deuteronomy we discover an additional aspect. The weekly Sabbath is also a commemoration of Israel’s delivery from Egyptian bondage and thus, by extension, of every kind of slavery from which God’s grace has set humanity free.”

Deuteronomy 5:12-15 NKJV 12 ‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

Exodus 20:8-11 NKJV 8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

Do we honor the Sabbath by remembering how God delivered us from bondage? Did Jesus use this illustration to teach about the Sabbath?

KJV Matthew 12:9. And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue: 10. And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath days? that they might accuse him. 11. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? 12. How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days. 13. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.

KJV Mark 3:1. And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. 2. And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the Sabbath day; that they might accuse him. 3. And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. 4. And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. 5. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. 6. And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him. 7. But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea, 8. And from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him. 9. And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him. 10. For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues. 11. And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God. 12. And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known. 13. And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. 14. And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, 15. And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:

KJV Luke 13:10. And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. 12. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. 13. And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. 14. And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day. 15. The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? 16. And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day? 17. And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him. 18. Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? 19. It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.

The example Jesus gave us was to do good and heal on the Sabbath, to release people from the bonds of disease. Jesus healed people and multitudes followed Him, even those that were not Jews. The Pharisees followed the law of the Sabbath and eventually joined their arch enemies, an acted parable which can be explained in a detailed study. Jesus also appointed His followers and gave them powers to heal and cast out demons.

2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Galatians 6:15 NKJV 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.

“On a more practical level, Sabbath helps to free us from the slavery of the clock and the calendar. Many are slaves of computers and mobile phones, also. The Sabbath is the perfect antidote to this disease, which threatens every form of true rest, both physical and spiritual.” Is this a portion of the healing Jesus was pointing to when He used His powers on the Sabbath to set people free from the bondage they were facing?

“Setting aside a holy Sabbath means that we can cease our productivity and accomplishments for one day in every seven. The exciting thing about such a practice is that it changes our attitudes for the rest of the week. It frees us up to worry less about how much we produce on the other days. Furthermore, when we end that futile chasing after wind, we can truly rest and learn delight in new ways.”—Marva J. Dawn, Keeping the Sabbath Wholly (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996), p. 19.

Isaiah 58:12-14 NKJV 12 Those from among you Shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In. 13 “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the LORD honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words, 14 Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

“Many Adventists do not truly enjoy God’s Sabbath. Sabbath keeping can leave much to be desired. Rules and regulations are supposed to ensure that the Sabbath is kept “holy.” Some of these rules are based on biblical principles, but many have, in actual fact, more to do with tradition and culture than with a “thus says the Lord.””

Are these traditions making us more like the Pharisees and less like Jesus?

“If we are looking for a new model to follow, we must let ourselves be inspired by the example of Jesus.”

KJV Mark 1:21. And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the Sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. 22. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. 23. And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 24. Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. 25. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. 26. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. 27. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him. 28. And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee. 29. And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30. But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her. 31. And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them. 32. And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. 33. And all the city was gathered together at the door. 34. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.

KJV Luke 14:1. And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath day, that they watched him. 2. And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. 3. And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day? 4. And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; 5. And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the Sabbath day? 6. And they could not answer him again to these things.

The demands upon God are even greater upon the Sabbath than upon other days. His people then leave their usual employment, and spend the time in meditation and worship. They ask more favors of Him on the Sabbath than upon other days. They demand His special attention. They crave His choicest blessings. God does not wait for the Sabbath to pass before He grants these requests. Heaven’s work never ceases, and men should never rest from doing good. The Sabbath is not intended to be a period of useless inactivity. The law forbids secular labor on the rest day of the Lord; the toil that gains a livelihood must cease; no labor for worldly pleasure or profit is lawful upon that day; but as God ceased His labor of creating, and rested upon the Sabbath and blessed it, so man is to leave the occupations of his daily life, and devote those sacred hours to healthful rest, to worship, and to holy deeds. The work of Christ in healing the sick was in perfect accord with the law. It honored the Sabbath. {DA 207.2}

“As Sabbath keepers we often are accused of trying to work our way to heaven by keeping the Sabbath. Indeed, far from being a symbol of works, the Sabbath is the Bible’s eternal symbol of the rest that God’s people have always had in Him.”

“The Sabbath is a real-time manifestation of the rest that Christ offers to all. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus calls us to rest in Him. He will give us rest, the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath is a visible expression of that rest, a living parable of what it means to be covered by His grace. Our weekly rest from our secular, worldly works stands as a symbol of our rest in the completed work of Jesus for us.”

Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV 28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

What is this yoke we are given? What does the Bible show Jesus gave His followers?

KJV Mark 6: 1. And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. 2. And when the Sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? 3. Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. 4. But Jesus, said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. 5. And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. 6. And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching. 7. And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;

Jesus taught on the Sabbath. We are also shown Jesus could not heal those that did not listen, those that did not believe. Jesus also sent out His followers and gave them power over unclean spirits.

“Our obedience to this commandment is a way of saying: “We’re so sure of our salvation in Jesus, we’re so firm and secure in what Christ has done for us, that we can—iin a special way—rest from any of our works because we know what Christ has accomplished for humanity through His death and resurrection.”

“Sabbath is a very real, very expressive, very visible expression and manifestation of the rest that we have in Jesus and what He has done for us. We don’t have to say it; we can express it in a real way, a way that those who don’t keep the Sabbath can’t,” understand. With a power given to His followers.

How and where do we begin to use this power of healing? As an individual we begin in the home. As a church we begin where Jesus taught these lessons, in the church. Once we have learned to heal within the church we will be given opportunities beyond our imagination within the community. That is when we will once again witness the great numbers turn toward Jesus

 

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