Tag Archives: Spirit

Sabbath Lessons

During Jesus’ ministry he was repeatedly criticized for allegedly breaking the Law of Moses.  Those who had taken upon themselves the responsibility of making sure the Jews were obedient to the Law used their usurped authority to follow Jesus around scrutinizing his actions for any imagined violation.  Their motive was more to discredit Jesus than to please Yahweh.  They witnessed his signs and miracles but refused to accept the implications of them.  When we become more concerned with rule-keeping than godliness, we jeopardize our salvation and that of those we discourage and hinder.

It is instructive to study the words and actions of Jesus as he countered the “spiritual enforcers” in regard to the Sabbath.  It helps us know whether we are more concerned with mercy and compassion or legalistic rule-keeping. Are we focused on “getting it exactly right” while neglecting justice and the love of God? (Luke 11:42).  Is our goal the letter or the Spirit? (2 Corinthians 3:6).

What Jesus said about the traditions and teachings of men are applicable to today’s nit-picking counterparts of the Pharisee enforcers (Mark 7:5-13).  Here are nine points regarding the Sabbath for our consideration:

1. Many rules for keeping the Sabbath were men’s additions, inventions and traditions and therefore extra-biblical and non-binding.

2. Jesus is the law-giver (even the Law of Moses) and Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8)

3. The purpose of the Sabbath was rest and rejuvenation and was created for the benefit of humans

Mark 2:27 Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.

4.  The Sabbath, as originally given, did not restrict necessary physical labor (such as eating when one is hungry and the labor necessary to feed one’s self (Matthew 12:1-8)

5. The Sabbath did not forbid spiritual labor

Matthew 12:5Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent?”

6. Compassion (relieving suffering) trumps sacrifice (laws and traditions)

Matthew 12:7-8 But if you had known what this means, ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT A SACRIFICE,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.     8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

7. Doing good on the Sabbath is lawful

Matthew 12:9-12 Departing from there, He went into their synagogue. 10 And a man was there whose hand was withered. And they questioned Jesus, asking, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse Him. 11 And He said to them, “What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

8. If God, who gave the Sabbath, is working, then it is permissible for us to do His work

John 5:17 But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I myself am working.”

9. Rules which violate common sense and logic are invalid.

John 7:22-23 “For this reason Moses has given you circumcision (not because it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and on the Sabbath you circumcise a man. 23 If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath so that the Law of Moses will not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made an entire man well on the Sabbath?”

1 Comment

Filed under Christlikeness, Edification, Freedom, Holy Spirit, Hypocrisy, Ignorance, Jesus Christ, Judgmental, Religion, Salvation, Scripture, Signs, Suffering

A Straw God

“For they said to me, ‘Make a god for us…’” (Exodus 32:23)

It is folly to construct a God out of our imagination and prejudice then, on that basis, to reject Him. It only seems fair that if one is going to reject God that one rejects the real one.

Your image of God may be like the one on the roof of the Sistine Chapel…a man-like creature complete with long, flowing beard. That image (in spite of the proscription against making images of God — Deuteronomy 4:23) came out of the mind of Mr. Michelangelo. It was his construction, a product of his imagination and prejudice.

You can construct your straw god and rail against it, beat it to chaff and burn it. Since, however, it is not the real God, it accomplishes little other than a release of anger and frustration. It might make you feel better and earn the cheers of your ignorant companions and, if that’s what satisfies you, so be it.

If, on the other hand, you want to reject the God of believers then go to Scripture. That’s the one we believe in, not your straw god. And don’t quit when you find something about Him you don’t like. There are some things the real God does that none of us understand or even applaud. Nonetheless, they are part of the real God. Once you have looked at all his attributes, you are in a position to make an informed decision. He’s not a man, limited by space and time; He is spirit, existing outside of the constraints of time in eternity, permeating all of space, dwelling in the gaps between the atoms and the void between the galaxies.

What atheists reject seems to be a composite god constructed of ignorance, misinformation, supposition and a prejudiced reading of the King James Version of the Bible. May I suggest a more honest approach? With an open mind, read an accurate modern language translation (not a commentary like The Message) and gather your understanding of God from it. Then make a decision about acceptance or rejection based on valid information.

Leave a comment

Filed under Apologetics, Atheism/Theism, Attributes of God, Culture Wars, Ignorance, Love, Religion, Scripture, Theism