God wants us to do good every day, not just on certain days.
I remember being a kid and having rules that my parents made my siblings and I obey. We had to eat all our vegetables, we had to clean our rooms, and worst of all we had a bedtime. I remember wishing that I could make rules that my parents had to obey. It’s a foolish wish and what’s even more foolish is that people try to make God obey their rules.
The Pharisees had this issue with Jesus. God created the Sabbath as a day of rest and then the Pharisees began to build regulations and put into place rules on what it meant to observe the Sabbath. This got awkward one day when Jesus and his disciples broke some of the rules the Pharisees had put into place!
Go ahead and read Matthew 12:1-21 before proceeding through this blog post.
Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath
1At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. 2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”
3 He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests.5 Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? 6 I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. 7 If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
9 Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”
11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.
God’s Chosen Servant
15 Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. 16 He warned them not to tell others about him. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
21 In his name the nations will put their hope.”
Is it good to rest? Absolutely! God created the Sabbath so that we could rest and we should observe the Sabbath but we shouldn’t be legalistic about it.
The disciples broke the Pharisee’s law by picking wheat when they were hungry. Is it restful for you to grill a steak Sunday after church? If so, then go for it and grill one for me too! See how goofy man-made rules can be?
Jesus broke the Pharisee’s law by healing a man’s shriveled hand on the Sabbath. Wouldn’t you try to help if you saw a car accident on the way home from the church service? I think God would want us too!
I don’t think Jesus would have told the Parable of the Good Samaritan any differently if he would have set it during the Sabbath. I think that God wants us to do good every day, not just on certain days.
But remember in order to do good works you will need good rest. Take a nap or eat a bowl of ice cream and be filled with good rest so that you can go do good works in the name of the One who allows you to rest.