John 7:1-13

Read: John 7:1-13

The Feast of Booths was ordinated by God in Leviticus 23:34-43 to commemorate how the Israelites lived when they came out of exile in Egypt. It is usually celebrated in September or October depending on when it falls on the Jewish lunar calendar. Jesus’ brothers were coaxing him to make a journey to Jerusalem to celebrate the festival. They also knew Jesus works were making him famous and encouraging him not to hide it. What they did not understand was Jesus’ purpose. Jesus was not seeking fame or prestige. His mission was to bring salvation to the world (John 3:16-17).

Jesus tells them that his time has not come because he knew that the Jews would try and kill him if he went to Jerusalem. Jesus says that the world cannot hate them, but hates Jesus because he testifies about evil. They are not “hated” (or “detested”) by the world because they are still of the world because they have not believed. Matthew 10:22 declares that the disciples would be hated for Jesus name. Jesus work exposes sin and convicts people, and because people love their sin, they reject Jesus (John 3:19). The time for Jesus to be offered up comes some time after this (John 13:2). Jesus was a devout Jew, so he made the journey, but later after many had left and in secret as to not draw attention to himself. The Jews were looking for him so they could kill him, but they did not find him. They whispered among themselves because they were not sure what might become of them if they spoke openly about, because they also feared the religious establishment in Jerusalem.

Being hated by the world – that is the things that are evil – is almost to be expected by Christians because of whose name they bear. Persecution is to be expected for those who follow Christ (2 Timothy 3:12). One can reasonably expect that persecution will come from one angle or another nowhere does Jesus tell his disciples to go looking for trouble – trouble will most certainly come to them. Jesus himself was not looking for fame, rather to simply fulfill the mission he was sent to do. When it does come, one should not be surprised, but rather pray for those who do persecute you (Matthew 5:44), escape it if possible (Matthew 10:23), and rejoice and be glad because of the reward that awaits believers in heaven (Matthew 5:10-12).

Lord, I know I’m hated for your name. Help me to endure it and remain faithful to you!

John 6:59-71

Read: John 6:59-71

Apparently, the statements of Jesus turned a lot of people off because they were still thinking with carnal minds. They wanted bread, so Jesus said they had to eat his flesh and drink his blood, something obviously disgusting. Even this disturbed the disciples. Given this, Jesus asks if they took offense at it and explains that he spoke the words in Spirit, such that the one’s with spiritual ears could understand. Jesus also asks them, what if they saw him ascending to where he was before – by implication, heaven. The problem apparently has to do with the fact that had they seen him in his ascended form, they would have probably have rejected him even more so. Being a man seems to make Jesus more approachable, and using human terms to communicate spiritual truth seems to make spiritual truth more understandable. In any case, there would be those who would not believe and one who would betray Jesus.

Jesus explains the matter that the ones who understand him are the ones who the Father grants. From John 6:46, this is in the context of drawing with a struggle. God is, in a manner of speaking, dragging people to himself, but only a few. At this point, Jesus was not drawing all men to himself, as this would happen after he was lifted up (John 12:32). But even as this point some of the ones be drawn were struggling against him and would not believe, so they left Jesus. When Jesus asks if the Twelve is they wanted to leave, they do not. Peter asks a rhetorical question: “To whom shall we go?” For they knew Jesus had eternal life. Jesus had even chosen the 12 and was drawing them, even though he knew that one was going to betray him.

Jesus is trying to get the attention of people then, and he is still trying to get the attention of every man. Sometimes, the tactics are loving and filled with compassion – such as feeding people. Other times, they seem disgusting or shocking. Whatever tactics God uses to get ones attention, there are going to be some who struggle to understand and some that will not believe. Christians who are delivering the message should not feel discouraged for this. It is God’s job to draw them, not the messengers. The messengers job is to simply be obedient and deliver the message. The messenger can take great joy when one does believe (Luke 15:6-7)!

Lord, many won’t believe, but help me to rejoice when one does believe!

John 6:41-58

Read: John 6:41-58

Jesus continues his conversation with the Jews over the matter of bread here. The Jews were grumbling because Jesus had likened himself to the bread that the Jews leaving the wilderness received from heaven and had not given them what they were expecting: another free meal and a king. Jesus then commands them not to grumble among themselves because of what he said perhaps because he sees that they don’t understand, and then states that God draws men to himself. It is difficult to understand this passage in light of the fact that John affirms elsewhere that people are unwilling to believe on their own volitions (John 5:40-44). “ελκυση”, the word translated “draw” is used in the context of  “drawing” in a fish (John 21:11-10) or “dragging” one to court (Acts 16:19, Acts 21:30, James 2:6) What is certainly true that spiritual truth can only truly be understood under the influence of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-12, 1 Corinthians 2:6-16) but Hebrews 6:1-8 explains that some receive enlightenment from the Holy Spirit and reject it.  John 12:32 says that after Jesus is lifted up that he would draw all men to himself. The draw here is not something without struggle, as in taking one to court or pulling in a load of fish. God speaks truth, but men have the ability to resist it, and this is precisely what is going on here: God is drawing people to Jesus but the people are resisting for one reason or another.

Jesus wants them to believe and have eternal life. He notes that the manna from heaven was eaten, and the people in the wilderness died. Jesus probably says this to get their attention: If all he gives them is real bread, even the sort they ate in the wilderness, then they would die without hope. He wants to give them so much more, namely eternal life. Jesus then gives them another parabolic statement, probably to get them to stop thinking about bread. He makes it more clear that he is talking about himself saying that that whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood will have eternal life. Obviously the Jews do not get that either, in that they reject it. The connection between the person of Jesus and the bread of life could not be clearer at this point in that they are the same thing. It should have been abundantly clear to the Jews that he was talking about himself when he was talking about bread.

God is working to draw all men to Jesus, but man is resisting him even unto today. The battle for the hearts of men is still raging. God is sending people to every corner of the globe to spread the message of eternal life. While it is a good thing to provide for the physical needs of those who are in need, one day these people will be in need again and will ultimately die. What people need more than anything is spiritual truth. All people will die one day, but only those who believe in Jesus will receive a resurrection to Life. Christians today should be involved in this work by telling people how they can find the bread of life who is Jesus and not hindering God as he draws them to Jesus.

Lord, draw all men to yourself!

John 6:26-41

Read: John 6:26-41

Jesus is the Bread of Life. Jesus had just fed 5000 people, no small feat. Before that, he was performing signs and wonders. He had made his way across the sea to escape the people who were trying to make him king. Jesus was not looking to a political revolutionary, but to bring salvation to those who might believe. Apparently, the people who followed Jesus were looking to get their bellies filled again, but Jesus tells them to seek something more lasting: food that endure. The people do pose a valid question: What shall they do? Jesus had just told them to do the work of God. What they did not understand, so it seems, was that Jesus was talking in parabolic terms, using common elements from life to communicate spiritual truth (John 3:3, John 4:13-14). Jesus answers them, saying that the work of God is to believe in Jesus, and in a typical Jewish fashion, the people ask for a sign. (They followed him because he fed them, not because of signs).

Jesus then expounds on his parabolic message about bread. He quotes from Exodus 16:4 – the story about God bringing manna from heaven. The story tells of how the Israelites were coming out of Egypt, and were grumbling against God because they did not have anything to eat. The Lord promises and sends “bread from heaven” for them to eat emphasizing it was God that sent it, not Moses. The people apparently are still looking for real bread to satisfy their bellies because they ask Jesus for this bread.  Jesus then makes the statement in John 6:35, “I am the Bread of Life” connecting himself to the parable. He describes himself as being sent from heaven and the one who gives life. They have seen him, yet do not believe him – perhaps in response to their demand for a sign. The people grumble against Jesus because he likens himself to the bread that filled their bellies.

The people who ate the bread that Jesus had multiplied had seen this and were ready to make him king. They tracked him down again looking for more bread. When Jesus gives them spiritual truth – what they need the most – they grumbled. Jesus for people today is a lot of things. Some see him as a good teacher. Some see him as a philosopher. Some see him as a revolutionary. While Jesus was these things in part, he was more than that. He was the provider of eternal life. Many people come to Jesus expecting him to be one way or another, and generally leave disappointed because Jesus did not meet their expectations. For those who do believe, it is easy to forget where one came from and grumble at God when God does not meet one’s expectations. God’s job is not to make one’s life more comfortable or easier. Many times, believing in Jesus can make one’s life even harder. What Christians have to remember is remember were God brought them from and where God is taking them and not try to make God into something he is not, rather Christians should let God shape them (Isaiah 64:8).

Lord, you are the potter – make me into the vessel I should be!

John 6:16-21

Read: John 6:16-21

Jesus’ miracle of walking on the water is another one of the miracles of Jesus that is recorded in Mark 6:45-52 and Matthew 14:22-33. John’s accounts notes that they went from Jerusalem to the “other side” of the Sea of Galilee before feeding the 5000. Luke places the feeding of the 5000 in Bethsaida on the north side of the Sea of Galilee. They started across the sea to Capernaum, which was not too far away from Bethsaida. While they were rowing, a storm picks up and then they see a man walking on the water. Jesus calls out to them to not be afraid, and he enters the boat. John does not record this, but here the apostles worship Jesus, calling him the “Son of God”. Matthew notes that Peter wanted to come out on the water and meet Jesus, but after he got out of the boat and he started walking to Jesus, be began to sink and called out for Jesus to save him. Jesus does so, but calls him of little faith.

The contrast between faith and fear is more evident in Matthew, but is certainly evident in John’s gospel too because Jesus said to them, “do not be afraid”. The word translated “φοβεισθε” is the base word from which the English word “phobia” comes from. In the Greek language, it carried pretty much the same meaning “fear” in the English language does in that it can have a good connotation and a bad one.  The good connotation is in respect to reverence or awe such as Revelation 9:4-5. The bad connotation is the one noted hear as being the antithesis of faith. Fear is a natural response to circumstances that are beyond one’s control or when something happens and one does not understand. In the case of Jesus walking on the water, Matthew notes that they thought he was a ghost and they did not understand that it was Jesus.

This does not necessarily indict the disciples. But what is apparent is that considering Jesus had claimed equality with God and had just fed 5000 people, they did not think of Jesus first. Christians today are no less fickle than the disciples were in that often times Christians default to fear in light of uncertain circumstances rather than calling out to God. Being fearless does not mean that one should go out of their way to place themselves in fearful situations, but inevitably fearful situations will come. Knowing that Jesus will never leave a Christian (Matthew 28:20, Hebrews 13:5) is an assuring fact. For this matter Christians can rest assured that in any situation Jesus will be there to help one along.

Lord, help me to trust in your in all things!

John 6:1-15

Read: John 6:1-15

Jesus feeding the 5000 is one of the few miracles that are recorded in all four gospels (Mark 6:35-44, Luke 9:12-17, Matthew 14:14-21). All four gospels record this particular miracle, probably because of the scope of the miracle, as feeding 5000 men (plus their wives and children) is no simple feat. Jesus had gathered a following because he was able to perform signs by healing the sick. John’s account notes that Jesus uses this moment a testable moment: he singles out Philip and asks where there were to buy bread enough to feed them all.

Phillip gives a natural response saying it would take 200 denarii to feed all these people. 200 denarii would probably be the equivalent working wage for about six to ten months of work, which translates into a small fortune if anything. They did note a boy with 5 loaves and 2 fish – not much more than a meager meal. Jesus took the loaves and gave thanks. They distributed the loaves among the people and all ate until they were full, and then the disciples collected 12 baskets full of leftovers. The people recognized Jesus as a “the Prophet” and wanted to make him king – perhaps the prophet Moses referred to in Deuteronomy 18:15, the one Moses wrote about.

The Matthew and Mark note that Jesus was driven by compassion when he fed the 5000 (Matthew 14:14, Mark 6:34). John does not mention this, but does mention a test. John does not mention what the conditions for the test are or if even if Philip passed the test. It would seem that in light of the discourse Jesus gave in John 5:18-47 that he was seeing if Philip understood or believed what Jesus had to say. If he truly believed that Jesus was equal with God then it would seem that Philips reply would have said that Jesus was one with God and was quite capable of feeding 5000.  The only other time Philip is mentioned at length in the Scriptures is in John 14:8-11. Here, Philip says for Jesus to show them the Father. Jesus says that if he knew Jesus, then he knew the Father, and that the works testify to this. Philip probably recalled the question Jesus asked while feeding the 5000 when Jesus mentions works. Because Philip had not understood then, he obviously did not understand here either.

James 1:1-4 says that Christians should consider it joy when test come and names the benefits of these tests – endurance and completeness. Tests of faith can come in all shapes and sizes, but generally one knows intuitively when one is being tested. How one responds to the test is key. James says that holding to one’s faith is key without doubting so that he will remain strong, not as one who is tossed about by the wind (James 1:5-8). A key to passing tests according to James is wisdom, and if one is lacking wisdom, one should ask for it, because God gives it generously. For Philip, he lacked the understanding that Jesus was God. For Christians today, it is easy to see Philip’s error, but not so easy to see one’s own lack of understanding. For this reason, it is best that Christians listen to the wisdom of wise people and the wisdom (Proverbs 13:1) of the Lord contained in his word (Proverbs 2:6), so that when the tests come a person can past the test and believe that Jesus can do immeasurably more than we are capable of understanding.

Lord, help me to pass the tests of faith by understanding who you are!

John 5:30-47

Read: John 5:30-47

Jesus, after laying his claims for equality with God, Jesus says that if he testifies about himself, then his testimony is not true, but if there is another witness, then the testimony is true.  In the Jewish legal system, truth was not established by a single witness, but my two (or more) witnesses (Deuteronomy 17:6, Deuteronomy 19:15). Jesus then gives 5 other witnesses to the veracity of his testimony: the Spirit, the witness of John the Baptist, the witness of works, the witness of the Father, and the witness of Scripture.

The Spirit (John 5:32):  The “another” is uncertain, but given that Jesus testifies about the Father later on, it seems that Jesus is alluding to the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the one who speaks truth into the lives of believers (John 14:17, John 15:26, John 16:13, Romans 9:1, 1 John 5:6, 1 Corinthians 2:10-16). The Spirit here is testifying about Jesus and Jesus, being one with God and the Spirit, knows that the testimony is true.

John the Baptist (John 5:33-35) John the Baptist gave a testimony about Jesus, calling him the Lamb of God and the one who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:19-36, John 3:22-36, Mark 1:1-13). Jesus calls him a “lamp” – a light bearer as described in John 1:6-8. John made the way for Jesus, pointing people to Christ so that they would not only have Jesus’ testimony, but also the witness of another.

Works (John 5:36): Jesus claims that his works were a sign from God that his testimony is true (John 7:31, John 10:24-38). John the Apostle recorded many of the signs in his gospel to that people might believe in Jesus too (John 20:30-31). The ultimate work of Jesus was his death, burial, and resurrection on which the Christian faith stands or falls (1 Corinthians 15:11-19).

The Father (John 5:37-38):  Matthew 3:17 and Matthew 17:5 speaks of a voice from heaven calling Jesus “My son”. Peter recalls the transfiguration of Jesus in 2 Peter 1:16-21. Perhaps Jesus is talking about the voice from heaven, although they may have audibly heard it, they did understand it because it was not abiding in their hearts. This is the condition described in Isaiah 6:10 where the ears are receiving sound, but is not received. The Father’s words abiding in one’s heart should compel them to believe in the Father, the one who sent Jesus.

The Scriptures (John 5:39-47): Moses wrote about Jesus (Genesis 3:15, Genesis 12:3, Genesis 18:18, Genesis 49:10, Numbers 21:8-9, Numbers 24:17-18, Deuteronomy 18:18-19). The scriptures for the Jews in New Testament times varied depending on the sect, but they all agreed that the writings of Moses were scripture. Jesus reasons that if they believed the scriptures they would believe in him. They do not believe in him, so they do not believe the scriptures. The reason Jesus gives is that they seek glory from one another rather than God – perhaps they were looking to make themselves the prophets the scripture spoke of rather than Jesus. In that matter, they were abusing scripture. In any case, if one does not believe scriptures, they cannot believe Jesus.

Claiming equality with God would require extraordinary witnesses, but Jesus nevertheless had the witnesses he need to prove his case. Christians today, perhaps, have even more of a witness concerning Jesus. Not only do Christians have the five aforementioned witnesses, Christians have the message fully revealed and expounded on by the New Testament writers and the Holy Spirit living within. Christians have a personal testimony to share and they can also point skeptics to the veracity of scriptures that have been verified as accurate and reliable. One does not have to affirm some pie-in-the-sky claim concerning what he or she believes, but have evaluate it based on real history and verifiable facts.

Lord, your testimony is true. Help me to point others to the truth!

John 5:25-29

Read: John 5:25-29

Judgement and resurrection are some of the weightiest concepts in all of Christian theology, and in just a short text, Jesus alludes to both. Jesus declares that there will be a resurrection for everyone, but some will be resurrected in to judgment and some will be resurrected into life. John 1:4 declares that Jesus was the Light and in him was life, Jesus is both the source of life (Genesis 2:7) and new life for those who believe (Romans 6:4).  Jesus’ power over life is made evident when he heals the man at the pool of Bethesda, but he says it will be made even more evident when all are resurrected.

But the judgment Jesus is speaking to here is a judgment of deeds. If salvation is by grace through faith, and not of works, then why is Jesus judging according to works? Every person that lives commits any number of evil acts and any number of good acts. In God’s economy though, any one given evil acts makes its doer guilty of the whole law (James 2:10) and Romans 6:23 declares that the wages of sin (categorically singular) is death. One cannot do good deeds to counter act his or her bad deeds because no one deed can amount to the price demanded for sin. The choice is clear then: accept the Jesus’ substitution in one’s place to satisfy the demands of the law or accept the punishment from God. Jesus explains that the ones who don’t believe are already condemned because they have sinned and not believed in Jesus. There will be many who attempt to flaunt their deeds at judgment but Jesus will reject them because they did not have faith (Matthew 7:21-22) but unless one believes and has his or her name written in the Book of Life, he or she is cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15). The ones who do believe have their sins erased and are judge only according to what good they did in Jesus’ name (Matthew 25:14-26).

For believers, the promise of eternal life is to put off mortality and take on immortality and to take of the perishable and put on the imperishable. In this, believers have the promise of resurrection to eternal life and death has no power over those who believe. This is the victory that Jesus claims over death (1 Corinthians 15:50-58). The hope Christians have is grounded in the resurrection of Jesus, because if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then one’s faith is in vain. But Jesus did indeed, as historical fact for that matter, rise from the dead. For this reason, the surety eternal life and future resurrection into glory is as real as the fact that Jesus rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-19).

The Jews at the healing of the man by the Pool of Bethesda marveled at the sign Jesus gave. What Jesus describes, however, is of epic proportions to that one deed. Jesus had the ability to give life and raise the dead while he was on earth, but at the end of days every person that ever lived will be resurrected and judged. These are things that Jesus could only do if he was equal with God! The question is whether or not that person believes in Jesus or not.  For Christians then and Christians today, there is the assurance of resurrection to life for those who believe. The task of believers is to tell as many people as possible about the good news of salvation so they too can be resurrected to life!

Lord, I rest assured that I’ll be resurrected to life. Help me tell others so they too can have the same hope!

John 5:16-24

Read John 5:16-24

The Jews wanted to kill Jesus not only because he was working on the Sabbath, but that he claimed equality with God (John 5:16-18). In spite of this, Jesus launches into a dialogue about himself concerning his oneness with the Father. Jesus claimed among other things that he did the work of the Father. When Jesus says that he is doing the work of the Father, he sees God working and works in the same manner, not of himself. In a manner of speaking, Jesus says that he is working harmoniously with the father as two professional dancers work together as one. It is apparent that the Father is leading the Son and the Son is completely in step with the Father because the Father is showing him everything.

Because Jesus is in step with the Father and in response to the action that Jesus performed, Jesus says that he gives life as the Father gives life, and should the Father heal, The Son heals also. The term translated “judge” and its kin “judgment” are translated from the Greek words “κρινω “ and “κρισις” respectively (John 5:22, also in John 5:29). These words not only carry a legal meaning, but also a carry common usage as well in terms of discernment, approval and opinion. In manner of speaking, the Father and the Son share a common opinion about matter on how they act – there is no deliberation or disagreement. God does this for Jesus so the people will regard Jesus in the same way that they regard the Father. Jesus chose to heal the man at the Pool of Bethesda, and the Father was at work right alongside him and in complete agreement with the actions Jesus was taking.

Jesus makes a peculiar remark that on face would seem contradictory to the statements concerning salvation in John 3:16 and John 3:36 – that is salvation comes by faith in Son. Jesus says in John 5:24 that the ones who hear Jesus’ word and believes “he that sent him”, namely the Father, have eternal life. It would stand to reason that Jesus was contradicting himself unless to believe the Father is not different than to believe in Jesus, which is only possible if Jesus and God are one and the same. John 1:1 declares that Jesus was God and Jesus himself says in John 10:30 that he and the Father are one. For this reason, one cannot affirm just any god for salvation, but have faith in the God who is Jesus. Even more so, this underscores the oneness of Jesus as God.

The oneness with the Father that Jesus had can never fully be understood by human minds, but this relationship is reflected in the relationship God has with his people when he indwells them with the Holy Spirit. John 14:16-26 describes this relationship. The Father loves the Son, and the two are harmonious in all they do. Likewise, Jesus loves his people and his people should love him, and for this reason his people too should be harmonious in all that they do. Jesus says that he would be with them in the form of the Holy Spirit and that one of the Spirit’s roles was to teach and remind people of what Jesus said. The ones who love Jesus will act in accordance with his will by obeying his commandments (John 14:15) and the Spirit will be there to teach and guide believers along the way.

Jesus is still sending his Helper into the lives of believers today. The ones who have the Spirit today are the ones who have life. While Christians have righteousness by faith, Christians still sin and these two competing wills causes disharmony between God and believers, disrupting the oneness. Paul commands believers to consider themselves dead to sin because Jesus died to sin (Romans 6:10-18). Because believers are dead to sin, they should not obey the passions of the mortal body but be instruments of righteousness.

Lord, live in me and help me put off sin so that I may have oneness with you!

John 5:1-18

Read: John 5:1-18

Jesus was undoubtedly a devout Jew in that he would go up to festivals in Jerusalem. This is the second time in the book of John that notes Jesus going to Jerusalem for a festival (John 2:13). Jesus encounters a man by the pool of Bethesda. (Archaeology uncovered what is likely the pool of Bethesda in the 1800 in Jerusalem.) The man was lame and had been lying by the pool for 38 years, well over half a lifetime considering the life expectancy was considerably lower than it is today, perhaps around forty years old. Jesus asks him, “Do you want to be healed?” The man was holding out hope that someone would help him into the pool because the belief that angels would stir the waters and whoever entered the pool first would be healed. A lame man who couldn’t walk would obviously have a hard time getting himself in the pool. In a roundabout way, he did answer Jesus’ question affirmatively.  Jesus healed him and the man got up, took up his bead, and walked.

The Jews saw that the man was carrying his bed, and they told him that it was not lawful to carry his bed. It is questionable as to whether or not the man was really breaking the law. The Pharisees valued piety and had made the law stricter than it already was, such that a simple task such as picking up one’s bedroll was considered unlawful. The prohibition against working on the Sabbath is recorded in Exodus 20:8-11 and Exodus 31:12-17. Nehemiah 13:15-21 expounds on this when Nehemiah sees people working on the Sabbath. Often times, Jesus did things that were considered unlawful to do on the Sabbath (Luke 13:10-17, Luke 6:1-11, Mark 2:23-28, Mark 3:1-6, Matthew 12:1-14).

Mark 2:27-28 mark two facts about the Sabbath that apparently the Jews had missed. First, the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath, meaning that God instituted a law to prevent man from being over worked – to give him a day of rest from labor. Also, the purpose of this day was to remember God. The Pharisees had made the law burdensome to the people rather than liberating such that one became obsessive over avoiding work on the Sabbath rather that actually resting on the Sabbath. Jesus calls the Pharisees “hypocrites” because they would lead their livestock from feeding to drinking in Luke 13:15.

Second, Jesus (the Son of Man) is the Lord of the Sabbath.  In a manner of speaking, Jesus was receiving from the Sabbath that for which the Sabbath was in part instituted: worship of God. The man Jesus healed was later in the Temple, probably worshiping as most good Jews would probably do on the Sabbath, and Jesus found him there. Jesus tells him to sin no more so nothing else worse would happen. The man then goes and tells the Jews who healed him, and they persecuted Jesus. Jesus says that it is his Father who is working and he is too. Then the Jews wanted to kill him for both working on the Sabbath and claiming equality with God who is Lord of the Sabbath and Lord of all.

The prohibition against working on the Sabbath was given for two reasons: rest and worship. Some had got so caught up in trying to refrain from working on the Sabbath that they were working harder avoiding work than they would if they were actually working! The real crime here is not work insomuch as it is forgetting the purpose of the Sabbath by being legalistic about the Sabbath and condemning those who do not keep the Sabbath according to one’s own artificial standards. This temptation has not gone away either. Being devout does not mean that one should uphold the Sabbath for the legalistic purposes, rather it is good for Christians to have a day to rest and devote themselves to Lord of the Sabbath introspectively — and don’t be afraid to do good on the Sabbath either.

Lord of the Sabbath, help me to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy!

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