September 23, 2017

Truth Magazine Online Edition September 2017

MONTHLY COLUMNS EDITORIAL: Error by Mark … [Read More...]

Truth Magazine Online Edition August 2017

MONTHLY COLUMNS EDITORIAL: Thank You! Mark … [Read More...]

Truth Magazine Online Edition July 2017

THEME ARTICLES The Organization of the … [Read More...]

More Magazines

Featured Articles

2017 Truth Lectures – Video Interview w/ Dan King

Share

The Sabbath

By Mark Mayberry
4/23/2017

The Sabbath was a unique and important part of the Jewish religion. The Mosaic Code, given at Mt. Sinai, required that both man and beast cease from labor on the Sabbath (Exod. 20:8-11). In addition to being a day of physical rest and renewal, the Sabbath was also a day of spiritual devotion and worship (Lev. 23:1-3).

For the people of God, the Sabbath was a day of spiritual significance—looking back to the creation when God rested on the seventh day (Exod. 20:11); looking to the present, signifying God’s covenant with the nation of Israel (Exod. 31:12-18); looking to the future, anticipating the realization of His ultimate purpose (Heb. 4:1-11).

The command to properly observe the Sabbath was no trivial responsibility. Anyone who violated the Sabbath was subject to the severest of penalties (Exod. 31:14-15). For example, the Old Testament tells of a man who broke God’s law by gathering sticks on the Sabbath. The Lord commanded that the offender be stoned to death for his infraction (Num. 15:32-36).

Unfortunately, with the passing years, many Jews did not heed this lesson. The prophets repeatedly condemned the ancient Israelites for neglecting the Sabbath (Jer. 17:21-27; etc.). The length of the Babylonian captivity was determined by the extent of Israel’s greedy abuse of the sabbatical year (Lev. 25:1-7; 26:34-35; 2 Chron. 36:21).

Since the Law of Moses has been removed (Eph. 2:14-15), regulations regarding the Sabbath are no longer binding: “Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day—things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ” (Col. 2:13-14).

Now in the Christian age, Sunday has deep spiritual significance. Jesus Christ arose from the grave on the first day of the week (Matt. 28:1). The Lord’s church was established on the first day of the week (Acts 2:1ff), the day when New Testament disciples regularly assembled (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2). Thus, it is not surprising that Sunday is called “the Lord’s day” (Rev. 1:10).

While the first day of the week (Sunday) is not the “Christian Sabbath,” and the New Testament clearly indicates that we are not obligated to keep regulations regarding the cessation of work, or any other stipulation specific to the Law of Moses, we still recognize the necessity of honoring God in ways consistent with the New Covenant.

Today, we continue to emphasize the need for rest and renewal, reflection and remembrance, and a complete reliance upon the Word of God, but in ways that reflect our submission to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Share

Action, Accusation, and Answer

Action, Accusation, and Answer

By Mark Mayberry
4/23/2017

Introduction

Examining various negative encounters that certain individuals had with Jesus, let us reflect upon the recurring charge by the Pharisees that Jesus violated the Sabbath (Matt. 12:1-21; Luke 6:1-11). If this charge had been true, He could not have been the perfect sacrifice for sins. However, the Bible repeatedly affirms that Jesus lived a sinless life and that He manifested perfect obedience to the Father (2 Cor. 5:20-21; 1 Pet. 1:17-21; 2:21-25; 1 John 3:5).

Therefore, we conclude that the charge was false. This is a reminder not to accept baseless accusations, or the modern mantra, “perception equals reality,” which is rooted in relativism (1 Tim. 5:19-20). The Lord’s admonition, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment,” was offered in response to this very accusation, i.e., “He violated the Sabbath” (John 7:19-24).

Action

Note the actions of Jesus (or His disciples) that provoked a negative response: “At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat” (Matt. 12:1).

Accusation

Consider the accusation: “But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, ‘Look, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath’” (Matt. 12:2).

Answer

The Example of David

Jesus said, reflect upon the example of David, who in fleeing from the wrath of King Saul, committed numerous infractions of the law. Jesus’ implication is this: You revere him, despite his wrongs, but criticize Me, despite my innocence (Matt. 12:3-4; cf. 1 Sam. 21:1ff).

The Example of the Priests

Next, Jesus said, ponder the example of the priests, who (technically) break the Sabbath in performing their various duties, but are innocent (Matt. 12:5-6).

The Need for Compassion

Finally, the Lord reminded His audience of the need for compassion (heartfelt devotion): “But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent’” (Matt. 12:7). To better understand the original statement, compare and contrast various translations of the Old Testament passage quoted by Jesus (Hos. 6:4-6).

The Hebrew word chesed, used twice in this passage, often translated “goodness, kindness, faithfulness,” etc. actually refers to covenantal love and loyalty. The NASB reads, “your loyalty is like a morning cloud… I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice.” The KJV reads, “your goodness is as a morning cloud… I desired mercy, and not sacrifice. The NKJV reads, “your faithfulness is like a morning cloud… I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” The ESV reads, “Your love is like a morning cloud… I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice.”

Jesus also cited this passage on an earlier occasion, when the Pharisees reproached Him for eating with tax collectors and sinners, saying, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matt. 9:10-13).

Authority

Offering the ultimate defense for His actions, Jesus said, “For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” (Matt. 12:8). As a member of the Godhead, and as One on whom absolute authority is bestowed, Jesus is the Christ/Messiah, and also our Lord and Master (Matt. 28:18-20).

Conclusion

A careful study of these passages leads to several inescapable conclusions.  Despite accusations to the contrary, Jesus did no wrong and committed no sin (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:21-25). He did not pursue a path of situational ethics, but through His perfect life, and sacrificial death, fulfilled the demands of the Law (Matt. 5:17-18; Heb. 10:5-14). Therefore, we reject the accusation that Jesus violated the Sabbath, recognizing His actions were consistent with divine revelation, divine compassion, and His position as “Lord of the Sabbath.”

Share

More Posts From Featured Articles