Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

A Day Set Apart

Luke 23:56

Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

112015 Ray McDonaldHow important is your Sabbath? We’re told to honor the Sabbath – to keep it holy. I wonder if we have forgotten this commandment in today’s society? Exodus 20:8–11 – 8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

It has become very commonplace for not only the world to see the Sabbath as just another day in the week – but more and more – even Christians are starting to treat the Sabbath as just any old day. Oh – some of us might make room for a couple of hours in the morning for worship and/or Sunday School – but – the rest of the day often becomes just another day. Many work on the Sabbath in their jobs (and before anyone says something – I know that some jobs are required on the Sabbath – but not all). Many treat the Sabbath as another day to accomplish the tasks at home.

I remember growing up – this was our schedule on our Sabbath (I know – for most Christians – Sunday is our Sabbath – while the first Sabbath was on Saturday).

  • We would awaken and eat breakfast – often without dad because he has already gone to church
  • We would prepare for Worship and Sunday School
  • We would attend both Worship and Sunday School
  • We would come home from Worship and eat lunch as a family (maybe the only meal all week we all ate together when we children were older)
  • We would take an afternoon nap
  • We would relax and prepare for the next day (homework and such)
  • We would eat supper – usually without dad because he had already gone to church
  • We would attend youth group and evening worship
  • We would come home – take care of anything needed for the next day and watch some TV if anything good was on
  • We would go to bed

How does that compare to your Sundays? I must confess mine has altered some from this schedule. Even as an older youth – my schedule altered some – usually after lunch as a family – I would go out to play ball with other children in the neighborhood. But youth group and evening worship were still a must!

Today is the Saturday after Good Friday and before Easter Sunday. Not much is said in the Bible about this day. It was a day of grief – as the Disciples and others must have been going through all sorts of emotions as the death of their friend – of their Lord – Jesus.

But even on this Saturday – the norm didn’t change. The women knew they were going to anoint the body (not knowing possibly that Jesus had been anointed at Bethany with the jar of perfume) – but the Sabbath was upon them and they needed to rest and go on the day after the Sabbath to do this important function. It was Saturday – and they rested and waited till Sunday.

I wonder what could wait for Monday for us? I wonder what we could put off on Sunday – to spend more time on our Sabbath resting and worshiping God? I wonder if what we do on Sunday is honoring of God and honoring of the Sabbath?

Here is today’s passage in partial context – from the end of the death of Christ narrative till the women rest – waiting for Sunday. There is nothing in Luke’s Gospel between Luke 23:56 and the Resurrection story two days later in Luke 24.

Luke 23:44-56 – 44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. 47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” 48 When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. 49 But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things. 50 Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, 51 who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. 52 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. 54 It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. 55 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. 56 Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

Let us examine our Sabbath – our Sundays. Let us ask ourselves the questions – How can we honor the Sabbath? How can we keep the Sabbath holy?

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.


March 26, 2016 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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