Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20090204.htm
THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Luke: Jesus, The Son Of Man For All Mankind
Part XVII: Christ's Identity As The World's Savior By His Critique Of Heartless Sabbath Legalism
Lesson: Jesus presented Himself as Savior of the world and as GOD by clarifying the Sabbath was meant to minister to man's needs, not to enslave him in legalistic taboos in line with the initial purpose of the Sabbath's institution to counter false, oppressive views of the seventh day in pagan nations.
- If Jesus is God's Savior of the world, nowhere should this identity be clearer than in how He would differ from the distorted view Jewish legalism had made of God's ancient institution of the Sabbath Day.
- This contrast became evident in Luke 6:1-11, and we view it for our edification (as follows):
- Christ's Identity As The World's Savior By His Critique Of Heartless Sabbath Legalism, Lk. 6:1-11.
- When God instituted the Sabbath Day, He did so as a witness that He was gracious toward man in providing him nurturing rest opposite paganism's belief that the pagan gods oppressed men on that day:
- Israel's pagan neighbors "feared that their work would not prosper on the seventh, fourteenth, twenty-first and twenty-eighth day of the month connected with the four phases of the moon . . . 'These days, to which must be added the nineteenth of the month, which occurs seven weeks after the beginning of the preceding month, were regarded as unlucky days on which a man should afflict himself, eschew pleasures, and refrain from performing important work, for they would not prosper.'" (B. K. Waltke, Creation and Chaos, p. 65, citing U. Cassuto, A Com. on the Book of Genesis, p. 66)
- Also, paganism viewed man as a slave to do the work of the gods, Ibid., Waltke, p. 65.
- However, this purpose that the Sabbath testify of God's grace to man before pagan had become lost by an oppressive legalism in Israel that left the Sabbath Day so onerous, it became as burdensome as the seventh day had been for the pagans whose view of it the Sabbath Day observance was instituted to critique!
- Accordingly, Jesus met and corrected this oppressive, legalistic view of the Sabbath Day in Luke 6:1-11:
- Jesus corrected an errant view about harvesting and eating grain on the Sabbath Day in Luke 6:1-5:
- On one Sabbath Day, Jesus' disciples were criticized for picking, harvesting and eating grain, 6:1-2.
- They were not actually violating Scripture, but legalistic tradition: (1) Deuteronomy 23:25 permitted Jews to pick and eat grain from a neighbor's field, Bible Know. Com., N. T., p. 218. (2) However, Israel's leaders had developed the tradition that rubbing the heads of grain together to harvest it for eating on the Sabbath was servile work that God forbade for that day, Ibid.; cf. Exodus 20:10.
- However, this restriction made the Sabbath Day onerous like Israel's pagan neighbors had done, so Jesus corrected this burdensome tradition: (1) He revealed that David under duress was given the priest's shewbread that was technically unlawful for anyone but the priest, Luke 6:3-4 with I Samuel 21:1-6 and Lev. 24:5-9. (2) This revealed that the intent of the Law, that the Sabbath must nurture, must always take precedence over the technical interpretation of the Law that in this case oppressed. (3) Jesus further explained that He was sovereign over the Sabbath as God, and had the right to interpret the Law opposite human tradition, Lk. 11:5; Ryrie St. Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Luke 11:5.
- Jesus corrected an errant view about healing on the Sabbath Day in Luke 6:6-11:
- On another Sabbath Day, the scribes and Pharisees watched to see what Jesus would do about the needs of a man attending the synagogue activities who also had a withered hand, Luke 6:6-7.
- They intended to criticized Jesus for violating one of their traditions against healing on the Sabbath Day, believing that was a work forbidden by Exodus 20:10; Ibid., ftn. to Luke 6:7.
- However, Jesus revealed that it was better to do good and not evil on the Sabbath in line with God's initial intent that the Sabbath serve man's needs and not have man enslaved to the Sabbath as the ancient pagans did, Luke 6:8-9. Not healing the man when Jesus had the power to do so would have been an evil since it was in His power to heal him, so Jesus told the man to stretch out his hand, clearly not doing any human work himself, and it was healed, Luke 6:10; Ibid., B.K.C., N.T., p. 219.
- Jesus' critics could not reply to His argument, and they angrily left to plot against Him, Luke 6:11.
Application: May we believe in Jesus as God's Savior of the world, and rest in His grace toward us!