Chaos or True Rest

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Ecclus. 43:23-33; Rev. 16:1-11; Luke 13:10-17

Many of us are simply praying for a fair election and the rule of law after this is all over.   The threat of chaos is also witnessed by many of the bystanders in our Luke reading today.  Will there be chaos? Or will this be a true rest for our souls?

Jesus breaks the Fourth Commandment today in dramatic fashion.  He heals a crippled woman on the Sabbath, a clear violation of scripture.  And what does he do?  He goes on to rebuke those who try to rebuke him.  “Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water?  And ought not this woman… be set free from this bondage on the Sabbath day?”

His opponents were put to shame and the crowd rejoiced at all the wonderful things that he was doing.

How on earth can this be right?  How is it that we follow a savior who is a law-breaker.  Precisely because of the reason Jesus gave!  This is a world intended for us to enjoy and celebrate, and this woman could not do that in her condition.  Is it too much for the Son of God, who is Lord of the Sabbath, to do this simple act of healing.

What is also interesting is that in this act, Jesus does not give us the green light to break the Sabbath as well.  He makes it clear that it is he who is doing this.  Elsewhere in Scripture he declares the Sabbath is made for people, not people for the Sabbath.  But that still does not mean he is throwing it out.

And yet, that is exactly what our culture has decided to do.  Most of us work seven days a week (at least as the Old Testament defines “work”).  Ministers almost always work on Saturday and Sunday.    I know very few of us who refrain from all housework, all work, and all shopping on the Sabbath.  Our day of rest has conveniently become a “day of catch-up”.  That’s what Friday day is in Jewish culture.

I believe Jesus is calling this crippled woman into a deeper call to the Sabbath.  She was preoccupied with her condition.  She was unable to rest on the Sabbath, or ever.  Jesus was providing an avenue for her to rest, and rest completely.

And so Jesus calls us.  Now, let’s go, and let us take the Sabbath seriously.  And in doing so, may we encounter the gracious acts of God in our lives, and be bathed in the richness of God’s love for us, and how he intends for us to celebrate and enjoy being in his presence.  May we come to know that God set us free from the bondage and judgment of the law, and requires us to take the love we share with God and others seriously.

-Matt

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