MAKER AND KEEPER OF THE SABBATH
OF WHAT did Christ say the Son of man is Lord?
"The Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day." Matthew 12:8. (See also Mark 2:28.)
Who made the Sabbath?
"All things were made by Him [Christ, the Word]. John 1:3.
NOTE.—Christ was the creative agent. (See page 408.)
Did Christ, while on earth, keep the Sabbath?
"As His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read." Luke 4:16.
DEBATE ON How TO KEEP SABBATH
Although Lord, Maker, and an observer of the Sabbath, how was He watched and spied upon on this day?
"And the scribes and Pharisees watched Him, whether He would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against Him." Luke 6:7.
How did Christ meet their false ideas of Sabbathkeeping?
"Then said Jesus, . . . Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life or to destroy it?" Verse 9.
How did they manifest their displeasure at His healing the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath?
"And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus." Verse 11. "And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel . . . , how they might destroy Him." Mark 3:6.
NoTE.—Although the miracle Christ performed had given evidence that He was from God, they were angry because He had shown their views of Sabbath- keeping to be wrong. Wounded pride, obstinacy, and malice, therefore, com- bined to fill them with madness; and they went out immediately and held counsel with the Herodians—their political enemies—for the purpose of ac- complishing His death.
Because Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath day, and told him to take up his bed and walk, what did the Jews do?
"Therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay Him, because He had done these things on the sabbath day." John 5:16.
NOTE.—It is noteworthy that not the least of the malice which finally caused His crucifixion, was engendered over this very question of Sabbath observance. Christ did not keep the Sabbath according to their ideas, and so they sought to kill Him. Many today cherish this same spirit. Because some do not agree with their ideas of the Sabbath, or Sabbath observance, they seek to persecute and oppress them—seek laws, and alliances with political powers, to compel respect for their views.
How did Jesus answer them?
"But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." Verse 17.
NOTE.—The ordinary operations of nature, as manifested in God's almighty, upholding, beneficent, and healing power, go on on the Sabbath. To cooperate with God and nature in the work of healing on the Sabbath cannot, therefore, be out of harmony with God's Sabbath law.
What effect did this answer have upon the Jews?
"Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him."
Because the 'disciples plucked a few heads of grain on the Sabbath day to satisfy hunger, what did the Pharisees say?
"And the Pharisees said unto Him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?" Mark 2:24.
What was Christ's reply?
"And He said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? how he . . . did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? And He said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath." Verses 25-27.
What was said of Christ's healing a woman one Sabbath?
"The ruler of the synagogue answered, . . . There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day." Luke 13:14.
What was Christ's answer?
"Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? and ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day ?" Verses 15, 16.
What effect did Christ's answers have upon the people?
"All His adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him." Verse 17.
How did Christ justify acts of mercy on the Sabbath?
"What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days." Matthew 12:11, 12. (See also Luke 14:5, 6.)
NOTE.—"Jesus observed the Sabbath Day of his own people. It was his custom to worship in the synagogues on the Sabbath Day. After he entered upon his own ministry, he and his followers continued to recognize and use the Sabbath Day, but according to his own individual and spiritual insight and interpretation. Even when Sabbath observance was made one of the chief grounds of bitter antagonism to him by the Pharisees he continued his recog- nition of the Sabbath and uttered no word that can properly be construed as lacking in deep reverence. Apparently, he expected that his followers would continue to hold and inculcate the spirit of the historic Sabbath."—W. 0. CARVER, Sabbath Observance, p. 25. Copyright, 1940, by the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Used by permission.
What dispute did Christ's miracles cause?
"Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because He keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles?" John 9:16.
NoTE.—By these miracles God was setting the seal of His approval to Christ's views and teachings respecting the Sabbath, and to His manner of observing it, and thus condemning the narrow and false views of the Pharisees. Hence the division.
JESUS MAGNIFIES THE SABBATH
According to Isaiah, what was Christ to do with the law?
"He will magnify the law, and make it honourable." Isaiah 42:21.
NOTE.—In nothing, perhaps, was this more strikingly fulfilled than in the matter of Sabbath observance. By their numerous traditional regulations and senseless restrictions the Jews had made the Sabbath a burden, and anything but a delight. Christ removed all these, and by His life and teachings restored the Sabbath to its proper place as a day of worship, of contemplation of God,, a day for doing acts of charity and mercy. Thus He magnified it and made it honorable. One of the most prominent features of Christ's ministry was this work of Sabbath reform. Christ did not abolish or change the Sabbath; but He did rescue it from the rubbish of tradition, false ideas, and superstitions by which it had been degraded. The Pharisees had placed the institution above man, and against man. Christ reversed the order, and said, "The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath." He showed that it was to minister to the happiness and well-being of both man and beast.
In view of the coming destruction and desolation of the city of Jerusalem, for what did Christ tell His disciples to pray?
"But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day." Matthew 24:20.
NOTE.—"Christ is here speaking of the flight of the apostles and other Christians out of Jerusalem and Judea, just before their final destruction, as is manifest by the whole context, and especially by the 16th verse: 'Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains.' But the final destruction of Jeru- salem was after the dissolution of the Jewish constitution, and after the Chris- tian dispensation was fully set up. Yet it is plainly implied in these words of the Lord, that even then Christians were bound to a strict observation of the Sabbath."—JONATHAN EDWARDS, Reprint of Worcester ed., 1844-1848, vol. 4, pp. 621, 622. "The Great Teacher never intimated that the Sabbath was a ceremonial ordinance to cease with the Mosaic ritual. . . . Instead of anticipating its extinction along with the ceremonial law, He speaks of its existence after the downfall of Jerusalem. [See Matthew 24:20.j"—W. D. KILLEN (Irish Pres- byterian), The Ancient Church (1883 ed.), p. 188.
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