The Second Sunday of Pentecost
Passage: Deuteronomy 5:12–5:15, Mark 2:23–2:28
†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Deuteronomy 5:12-15; Mark 2:23-28
Date: June 3rd, 2018; Pentecost 2; Series B
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
- Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
- What does this mean?
- We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.
- This is what Dr. Martin Luther teaches us in his Small Catechism.
- Our remembering the Sabbath day by keeping it holy is not for God’s benefit - it is for our benefit.
- God invites us to rest, reflect on his Word, and receive his forgiveness in order to strengthen our faith in him.
- After six days of creation God rested on the seventh day - not because of his exhaustion or weakness - but because he was setting a pattern for his creation and for his people.
- The Sabbath provides time for physical rest and time for spiritual rest through worship, fellowship, and devotion to God’s Word and promises.
- Although God no longer requires us to observe the Sabbath day on Saturday as he did for the Old Testament people - we do continue to need not only physical rest, but most important, rest from the impossible task of seeking security, righteousness, and salvation through our own efforts, work, and accomplishments.
- We hear the Good News that Jesus has already accomplished everything necessary for us and for our salvation and we receive it through the gift of faith.
- The Pharisees during Jesus’ time had turned the Sabbath from a day of rest and receiving God’s gifts - into a day of following strict laws and regulations - many of which were not God’s laws, but their own.
- They also took it upon themselves to be the Sabbath “police” - watching those around them to make sure no one was doing anything they thought they shouldn’t be doing according to the long list of rules they made up.
- This is what was going on in our Gospel lesson - they were watching our Lord and his disciples closely, and when they saw the disciples gathering some grain, they said to Jesus, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
- But this wasn’t God’s law - it was there own.
- And we continue to see this kind of thing today.
- Hotels in Jerusalem change the way their elevators operate on the Sabbath day.
- According to Orthodox Judaism it is considered work to make fire on the Sabbath and you must not work on the Sabbath according to Judaism.
- So, what does making fire have to do with elevators you might ask?
- Well, making an electrical connection creates a spark and making a spark is viewed as making a fire.
- So, you can’t push the elevator button because it makes a spark and that’s considered to be work on the Sabbath day.
- So, in the hotels from about 3:00 p.m. Friday until 3:00 p.m. Saturday the elevators go into “Sabbath mode”.
- They just continually go up and down, stopping at each floor - that way no one has to touch any buttons.
- That way you can keep the Sabbath by not doing any work.
- Doesn’t that sound restful?!
- That isn’t what God had in mind when he gave the Sabbath to be a blessing for us.
- In our Gospel reading for this morning Jesus said to the Pharisees, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”.
- We prayed earlier about what God did have in mind for the Sabbath in our Collect Prayer for this Sunday: “Eternal God, Your Son Jesus Christ is our true Sabbath rest. Help us to keep each day holy by receiving His Word of comfort that we may find our rest in Him, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.”
- The highest act of worship is to receive the gifts of God through faith.
- The Sabbath among Christians is not seen as a rule or regulation or law or a box that needs to be checked off to make God happy.
- The Sabbath among Christians is an opportunity to be served by Jesus.
- The Word of God gathers all who believe in Jesus Christ into the Holy Christian Church, and also calls believers to gather together in congregations for public worship. And this is for several reasons.
- First and foremost, God is present as his Word is proclaimed and his Sacraments are administered in church.
- Through these Means of Grace, he freely gives his gifts and blessings.
- Through the prophet Isaiah, God says, “For as the rain and snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 5:10-11).
- We gather to hear and receive God’s Word because it is not simply information, but the Word actually delivers what it says - forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life.
- Second, we gather for public worship to hear God’s Word at a set place and time.
- Though it is delivered through sinful and fallible men and simple means - the Word that is read, preached, and spoken over water, bread, and wine is not to be despised.
- Sunday worship is a public testimony to our faith in Christ and his resurrection from the dead “on the first day of the week” (Luke 24:1).
- Third, we gather for public worship because we are sinners who need one another and we need each other’s encouragement, “and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25).
- We share our blessings, burdens, and joys in petitions and hymns of praise with those present - and also remembering the Church throughout the world and the saints and angels in heaven (Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 12:22-24).
- And so here we are this morning at Divine Service - where Jesus promises to give you rest from your sins, rest from your guilt, rest from your doubts and fears, rest from your burdened conscience, rest from your death.
- Jesus says to you this morning, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
- This time is holy and set apart for God’s purpose - and his purpose is to forgive you, love you, and strengthen you.
- His purpose is to give you rest - now and for eternity.
- So, rest in Jesus.
- Rest in his mercy gained for you by his perfectly lived sinless life.
- Rest in his grace earned for you through his suffering and death on the cross.
- Rest in the promise of victory over death - the gift of eternal life, secured by his resurrection.
- Rest in the promise of your Baptism that you are God’s child and all that he has to offer is yours in Christ.
- Rest in Jesus.
- Your life is in his nail scarred hands.
- No burden. No fear.
- You are now free to serve, and love, and forgive.
- You are free to live.
- “On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God” (Psalm 62:7). Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.