Wednesday (January 17): "Is it lawful... to save life or to kill?"
Scripture: Mark 3:1-6
1 Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2 And they watched him, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3 And he said to the man who had the withered hand, "Come here." 4 And he said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent. 5 And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out, and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.
Meditation: What is God's intention for the commandment,
keep holy the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8; Deuteronomy 5:12)? The
scribes and Pharisees wanted to catch Jesus in the act of breaking
the Sabbath ritual so they might accuse him of breaking God's law.
In a few penetrating words Mark the Evangelist tells us that Jesus
looked at them with anger, and grieved at their
hardness of hearts (Mark 3:5).
God's purpose and intention for the Sabbath commandment
The legal scholars and religious-minded Jews were filled with fury and contempt for Jesus because they put their own thoughts of right and wrong above God. They were ensnared in their own legalism because they did not understand or see the purpose of God for the Sabbath commandment (remember the Sabbath day - to keep it holy - Exodus 20:8).. Jesus shows their fallacy by pointing to God's intention for the Sabbath: to do good and to save life rather than to do evil or to destroy life (Mark 3:3).
Commemorating Christ's resurrection and work of redemption
on the Lord's Day
Since the time of the first Apostles, Christians have traditionally celebrated Sunday as the Lord's Day (Revelation 1:10; Acts 20:7; Luke 24:30; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2) to worship together around the table of the Lord (the Eucharist or Lord's Supper) and to commemorate God's work of redemption in Jesus Christ and the new work of creation accomplished through Christ's death and resurrection.
Taking "our sabbath rest" is a way of expressing honor to God for all that he has done for us in and through Jesus Christ our Lord and Redeemer. Such "rest" however does not exempt us from our love for our neighbor. If we truly love the Lord above all else, then the love of God will overflow to love of neighbor as well. Do you honor the Lord in the way you celebrate Sunday, the Lord's Day and in the way you treat you neighbor?
"Lord Jesus, in your victory over sin and death on the cross and in your resurrection you give us the assurance of sharing in the eternal rest of heaven. Transform my heart with your love that I may freely serve my neighbor for his good and find joy and refreshment in the celebration of Sunday as the Lord's Day."Psalm 110:1-4 1 The LORD says to my lord: "Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool."
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: The tender compassion of the Lord, by John Chrysostom, 547-407 A.D.
"Jesus said to the man with the withered hand, 'Come here.' Then
he challenged the Pharisees as to whether it would be lawful to do
good on the sabbath. Note the tender compassion of the Lord when
he deliberately brought the man with the withered hand right into
their presence (Luke 6:8). He hoped that the mere sight of the
misfortune might soften them, that they might become a little less
spiteful by seeing the affliction, and perhaps out of sorrow mend
their own ways. But they remained callous and unfeeling. They
preferred to do harm to the name of Christ than to see this poor
man made whole. They betrayed their wickedness not only by their
hostility to Christ, but also by their doing so with such
contentiousness that they treated with disdain his mercies to
others." (excerpt from THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW,
quotations from Common
Bible: Revised Standard
Version of the Bible,
copyright 1973, and Ignatius
Edition of the Revised
Standard Version of the
Bible, copyright 2006, by
the Division of Christian
Education of the National
Council of the Churches of
Christ in the United States
of America. Used by
permission. All rights
references for quotes from
the writings of the early
church fathers can be found
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