And There Was This Moment

There was a time when Shelley and I were in turmoil over a decision that needed to be made. It was the decision of whether or not to leave the church we’d attended for years. Anyone who has been in this position knows the difficulty we faced. We loved the people of this church but for one reason or another we weren’t sure we could stay.

The back and forth in our minds on this question was driving us to distraction. We felt incredibly burdened by this decision as we didn’t want to sin in making it. We really wanted to do what God wanted us to do.

And there was this moment.

A moment of realisation that neither decision was inherently sinful: we could do either, and that would be okay. The feeling of relief was almost palpable. The fact that we could make either decision and God would work through that was immensely freeing.

Which brings me to the discussion of the Sabbath we had at church on Sunday.

The Pharisees had a code of conduct for the sabbath covering 39 categories of behaviour that went far beyond the requirements of the law and into the territory of the bizarre. It was a burden on the people. There were so many rules that it was impossible for the average Joe to know what was and wasn’t permitted.

It was an environment of restriction that could drive a person to distraction. The people were incredibly burdened by these laws but didn’t want to sin. They really wanted to do what God wanted them to do.

And there was this moment.

A moment when the Lord of the Sabbath appeared and revealed to the people that many things were not inherently sinful to do on the Sabbath.

“Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Matt 12:12

The feeling of relief is almost palpable. Jesus had taken the burden off people’s backs and left them with a principle that was light and easy.

It’s okay to do good on the sabbath.

The Pharisees would have hated this as it left room for private interpretation of what was and wasn’t permitted, but that’s precisely Jesus’ point. The Law of God doesn’t give excruciating detail on what is and isn’t work, and so neither should anyone else.

We are free to do good. We are free from Pharisaical law keeping. This is the glory of the New Covenant. This is what’s so amazing about being a servant of the Lord of the Sabbath.

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