Sabbath--When you hear that word, what does it mean to you? How is the sabbath viewed by Christians today? What was the sabbath like for you in your family of origin? Strenuously adhered to? Casually observed? Completely ignored?
The sabbath is built on the moral principle of grace--That no person or animal can go without rest and care. Unfortunately in Jesus day, sabbath was built by the religious leaders on the moral principle of law--To keep it was proof of ones closeness to God. How does this distinction make a difference?
Legalism in religion is a means of control. It separates people into the haves and the have-nots. The challenge, however, is that legalism is impossible for some and easy for others. Fasting is easy--if you have plenty of food. Sabbath is easy--if you can afford to not work. Jesus challenges this idea of legalism as oppression in his response to the Pharisees, as he reminds them how King David and his men ate the consecrated bread against the religious rules of the day. It appears there are higher rules of law than religious ones--like caring for the hungry and needy. How do you see legalism getting in the way of Christianity today? Where is it most pronounced? What might we do to live by the rule of merciful grace vs. the rule of the ridged law?
As we remember the Sabbath today, what are some ways we can live by the rule of grace? Besides just physically resting, what are some ways we can offer the gift of sabbath to others in our sphere of influence?
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