1. The Pharisees great misconception
We’ve been seeing the religious leaders’ misconception, and their criticisms of Jesus, who lives against the laws they had made. They complained about the disciples not keeping the Sabbath. The Sabbath was a day that God had regulated for the Israelites to take a day of rest. Leviticus 16:19-20 provides greater detail on how to keep the Sabbath day, but the religious leaders came up with extra and ridiculous laws to protect the Sabbath, such as limiting people’s movement to half a mile. That's 1,998 footsteps. They banned any form of work. The religious leaders made all these extra rules and got in the way of the gospel. We’re not just pointing our fingers at the Pharisees, but we have the same tendencies when we lose hold of the gospel. It’s easy for us to have the attitude of “I’m better than you because I have the gospel” but that mentality itself is of the Pharisees. The law that was given to the Israelites to keep the Sabbath was to remind them of their spiritual state of needing God, but the Pharisees took the keeping of the law as a demonstration of their righteousness. Jesus, in response, points to the old testament, to what David did, who ate the bread in the temple of God while he was on the run. He reminds the Pharisees that God made the Sabbath day for his children, for them to find true rest in Christ. We think rest is doing what we want to do, but true rest comes from worship. The Pharisees turned this blessing into a burden. Let’s put an end to our religious worship, and instead of just coming to church to spend time but to receive God’s grace and have true rest.
2. There is true rest for the soul only in Jesus
Verse 28 is shocking, where Jesus tells them that the even the Son of God is the Lord of the Sabbath, telling them that he is God, to which the Pharisees conspire to kill him. Jesus then goes into the temple and Pharisees watch him to see if he will heal a man with a withered hand so they can accuse him of working on the Sabbath day. Jesus questions them and then heals the man’s hand. In that same way, we need to receive the same healing in Jesus' name every Sabbath. Why is there power in Jesus’ name? Because in his name he gives us power to enable us. In his name, he calls us to be a light to all the nations. When we really heal the gospel, all of our scars can be healed in his name. That is why worship is everything. We can’t be satisfied just with coming to church but let’s meet Jesus Christ through worship and be healed. We think somehow if we travel or do what we enjoy for recreation, that our souls will be revived but true rest is in the soul and our soul can only find rest in Jesus. When we meet Jesus and have true victory on Sunday, we can enjoy meeting Jesus and that victory everyday throughout the week.
3. Let us enjoy the meaning and blessing of worship
Jesus isn’t downplaying the Sabbath. God set the Sabbath day not just for the Christians but for everyone in the world to have a day of rest. It is God’s gift to the world. There is nothing in the bible that says to worship on Sunday but the members of the early church in the book of acts met on the day after the Sabbath to commemorate or celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The congregation isn’t just a group of people but the body of Christ gathered together to worship. Worship is a time when God is present and when the forces of darkness are completely bound. In the midst of chaos and war, God’s people must gather together to worship and gain strength.
Wherever God’s people gathered, God was there and in that same way, God is here with us as we give worship. Let’s pray for worship to be restored not just personally but altogether as a congregation. Worship is the time for us to take back what Satan has stolen from us.