Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Kings 5-6; Psalm 115; Acts 26
The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.
Growing up, Sunday was marked as a day of rest. We didn't travel, we didn't eat out, we didn't go out with friends, we didn't shop.
And yet, it was a work day. My dad was a pastor. And so on Sunday, the day of rest, he was up early, at the church, finishing up a sermon, preparing for Sunday School and worship, and then doing a service. After church we'd have lunch and everyone would nap a little, but then he was back at the church for whatever evening thing that particular church had going on.
In college, I took Sunday as a day of rest pretty seriously. I quit going to Sunday school so I could sleep in longer. I was thankful for open restaurants (particularly Schlotzkey's) so I could get a quick lunch, and then get to doing nothing. I truly experienced a day of rest, at other's expense.
And I obviously wasn't doing it right- I wasn't spending all day focusing on God's word, or spending time praying. I was doing nothing. Watching tv, snacking, reading.... anything to keep me from focusing on class work or my job!
The Pharisee's view of the Sabbath was that man was made for the day. So any work a man would do on that day was unlawful. Therefore, being hungry and rubbing some grain in your hands was work, and that was breaking the Sabbath. The Sabbath was to be a day of "pretentious idleness" as R.M. Edgar says, and "hunger...must be endured" to present to mankind the holiness of the Sabbath.
What the Pharisee's failed to realize is that man was not made for the Sabbath. The Sabbath was made for man. The Sabbath was created as a day of rest for us to rest in God. To stop our work, our worry, our rush, and spend time simply seeing and enjoying what God had created for us.
But also, in the Sabbath being made for man, it is a day for helping people. David's men were allowed to eat the temple food in order to save themselves, Jesus' disciples were allowed to rub heads of grain together for sustenance on the Sabbath so they could continue.
Now, my husband is that pastor. He's up early, at the church, finishing up a sermon, preparing to teach the teen Sunday School class, preparing for a worship service. We do not have a children's Sunday School at this time, so instead of being up early for that, we're up early so I can bath the three kids before church. We have church, we come home and eat, and then it is family nap time.
And after that, if there is an evening thing, my husband goes to that. If not, we stay home. We watch tv, we work in the garden, we play outside....
It is a day of nothing. A day to worship God and then relax from the week we just had, to revitalize our spirit and our body for the week ahead.
A day to recognize that Jesus, Son of Man, is Lord of the Sabbath, and Lord of our lives.