Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The Third Commandment states: Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise the preaching of His Word, but keep it holy, hearing and learning it with pleasure.
The third commandment does not require us to recognize only certain days as holy, because that belongs to the ceremonial law that the Lord abolished. God made a covenant with the people of Israel before Mount Sinai through Moses. He said, I, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, freed you from slavery in Egypt. Now I want to make a great nation of you from which will be born the Messiah, the Savior of the world. I will be your God and you will be my people. Here are my requirements for you.
This law of Moses, then, named Saturday as the Sabbath day of rest. Why? According to the book of Genesis, God created heaven and earth in six days and rested on the seventh day and enjoyed His work. Therefore, for the Israelites and Jews to this day, the seventh day is the day to rest from their work and worship God for His creation. The seventh day should be a celebration of the work of God in creation.
However, in our worship we Christians celebrate the new creation that began with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And He rose from the dead early on the first day of the week. Therefore, the church changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday.
Jesus Christ fulfilled all the law of Moses perfectly and made a new covenant in His blood with all nations. So many of the rules of the law of Moses do not apply to us because they belong to the covenant that Christ fulfilled. The law of Moses was based on a universal moral law that God established in the beginning and this law still applies to us. Do not kill, do not steal, do not commit adultery. Above all, love God and love your neighbor as yourself.
We do keep the third commandment, but we understand it in this way: We should fear and love God so that we do not despise the preaching of His Word. This means we may worship and pray to God in every place and every time, but to meet for public worship, where we confess the faith before the world and receive the body and blood of the Lord in the sacrament, it is useful to dedicate at least one day of the week for this purpose. In fact, the church has developed a complete calendar to remember the life and teachings of Christ every year, such as Christmas, Easter and more.
Today, some sects around us say that the Sabbath must be Saturday, but do not understand that Christ fulfilled the law of Moses, so, we have spiritual freedom and obey the moral law only for the love of God.
Well, in our text for today, Jesus was invited to dinner at the house of an interpreter of the law of Moses on the Sabbath. The Jews did no work on the Sabbath day to honor God. Of course, the law of Moses allowed acts of mercy on the Sabbath, but for these men, the Pharisees, the written law was not enough. They thought of the law as a list of external events to meet and did not have the proper attitude in their hearts. They made obedience to the will of God a competition to win the respect and admiration of other men.
They multiplied the rules of the simple law of Moses to say they had done more than the law demanded and therefore were more spiritual and religious than other men. Like today there are sects that teach that the Bible condemns drunkenness, alcohol abuse, so the religious man should avoid alcohol entirely. But this is not the commandment of God. In the Roman church, they say that to be faithful in your marriage is good, but it is more spiritual to be celibate. But this is not the commandment of God.
The Pharisees did not believe in their need for a Savior and rejected Jesus for that. And they sought the opportunity to trick Jesus and speak ill of him. The text does not clearly say whether the man with dropsy came to the party of his own volition or the Pharisees brought him before Jesus. But they saw the opportunity to say that Jesus did not respect the Sabbath.
For God, the fulfillment of His will is not a competition to meet many rules. The Lord looks in the heart for the love of Himself first and sincere love of neighbor. When someone deals with obedience to the will of God as a competition, he does not love God with all his heart, all his mind and all his strength. Looking for the admiration of the people, then, is the mark of the self-righteous.
So Jesus reprimanded them with a question: "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath? And they held their peace. Then he took him and healed him, and let him go. And answering them said, Which of you will not have an ox or a donkey fall into a pit, and not draw him out on the Sabbath? And they could not answer him on these things. "
They kept silence because the law never prohibited acts of mercy. And they could not speak ill of Jesus. And Jesus said something else:
"When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.”
That means, does not seek his own glory, but lives in humility like a grateful child of God. Further:
"When you make food at dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made you. But when you make a feast, call the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; and thou shalt be blessed; because they can not repay you; For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous. "
These verses do not mean that we should not invite our relatives or friends to our parties. However, we must not think only those who reward us for our generosity, we must also share our goods with the afflicted and needy.
This lifestyle requires a spiritual transformation that is possible only with the help of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we take the time to hear the Word of God and receive their gifts in the sacraments. To remain in the true faith, not to gain merit in God's eyes. We can do this only because of our Lord Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection. In Him we have faith, hope and peace that passes all understanding. Amen.
Send Pastor David Ernst an email.