Live: Six Days…

Posted: August 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

9Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Exodus 20

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3 One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”25And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: 26how he entered the house of God, in the time ofAbiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” 27And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

Mark 2

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How do you know I’m a Christian?  Better yet, how do you know if I’m a *good* Christian?  You can tell because I go to church every week, (TWICE), and my wife and I give our money to the church, and we try to be nice to people.  And I NEVER give people the bird when I’m driving.   I keep the rules.

False.  (not about the bird- that part’s for real- pinky swear).

But that is what the popular mythology is- Christianity is a moral code.  Moral codes are a given set of rules to live by.  Do this, and this is your reward.  Do that, and THAT will be your reward.

That’s a totally normal way of thinking.  And honestly, it’s totally understandable.  It’s kind of just- how we’re wired.

Rules, boundaries, rewards.

Except for one little thing.  Rules, boundaries and rewards assume that we *need* rules, that we need boundaries, and that we need rewards to keep them.  And that’s not the way we were made.  It’s the way we’ve become.

The bible talks about a time when there were only two rules:  1) eat anything you want in the whole world- 2) except don’t touch those two trees over there.  You don’t need to be too familiar with the story to know what happened next.

Skip ahead, and the people of the world have pretty much totally lost track of God’s voice.  So he steps in to reintroduce himself.  And he has 10 “words” or commands.  Among them he commands, “Keep the Sabbath day holy.”

Skip ahead again, and hundreds of years later, this is now an elaborately detailed and nuanced law.  And the degree to which you keep it is the measure of your righteousness and devotion to God.  Keeping the Sabbath, tithing your produce and grain.  These were two biggies.  Rules, boundaries, rewards.

But Jesus comes along- and he doesn’t exactly see it the same.  He says, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.”  And then, he invokes an Old Testament title of authority and says, “therefore the Son of Man is Lord- even of the Sabbath.”  Pop!  Mind b l o w n.

What does this all mean?  Is he saying we don’t have to keep the Sabbath?  Is he trying to VOID what we have kept for so long as God’s Words?!  His commandments?

No.  Jesus says he came to fulfill law, not to abolish it.  He says also that none of God’s law will ever disappear or vanish.  If he’s not voiding it, then he is affirming it.  But if he’s affirming something that’s contrary to how we’ve understood it, we can only infer that we’ve not yet understood it.  Right?

God’s law is more than a boundary or rule.  It’s not a *restriction*.  And that is the message that Jesus gives.  But it’s hard for us to understand, because we like rules, with boundaries and with rewards.  Rules tell us where to stop, where to cease, what to avoid.  These are all negatively stated.  For the Pharisees- these letter of the law lovers- the Sabbath was a time to not do this, and not do that, because God told us not to, and we have to do what God said to not get in trouble, and to earn his favor.

But Jesus turns that on it’s head.

Every step outside God’s Laws is a dilution of life.

The intent of God’s Word- it’s very NATURE, is to give LIFE.  It is not to restrict it.  In God’s Word is perfect righteousness,  perfect light, and life everlasting.  Since the fall, our ability to see that is dulled.  We’ve taken this attitude that rules are an imposition, a restriction.  God’s intent is to give life, to restore freedom, to establish righteousness.  Every step outside God’s Laws is a dilution of life.  A loss of clarity.  The introduction of death into a pool of life.

Do I keep rules in order to prove myself?  Do I keep them to appease and manipulate God’s favor?  I think the Pharisees saw fulfilling the commands of the Law as a way to control God, in a sense.

But again, Jesus is showing them how they’ve misunderstood and warped both the letter and the spirit of the Law.

God’s Word and commands, and his authority over our lives is meant not to squish into a little “Christian” sized cookie cutter shape.  It’s meant to show us how Life works in the world He created for us to live and prosper in- because we’re NOT DOING IT RIGHT.  In fact, we tend to DO IT WRONG.   Jesus isn’t interested in you obeying for the sake of obeying- He already KNOWS He’s in charge.  He is interested in obedience, yes- but he is after FRUIT.  It says that for the joy of what lies ahead, he endured the pain and suffering of the cross.  Is it the joy of being the ultimate authority, the highest name, the greatest King among kings?  I don’t think so.  I think it’s the joy of seeing his Father’s world restored to communion, shalom, and Life everlasting.  As it was in the beginning, and as it shall be forevermore.

Live.

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Comments
  1. Jen says:

    thank you for this insight! I like reading your posts-you have a way of really putting things into perspective. 🙂

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