Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Church

Sabbath Issues

by Rev. Fr. Jobson Kottapurathu, New York

3rd Sunday after the feast of the Holy Cross

Bible Readings: St. Mark 2:23-28, Acts 7:2-5, Rom 8:1-11.

In St. Mk 2:23-28, Jesus deals with the socio-religious issue in the observance of Sabbath.

Vs 27-28: Jesus identified himself as the Lord of Sabbath. He was not depreciating the importance and significance of Sabbath. He pointed out the true significance of Sabbath with respect to man and indicating his right to speak about it ,in as much as He himself was the Lord of Sabbath. As a custom Jesus went to Synagogue on the Sabbath day (Luke 4:16). He observed Sabbath in accordance with the Old Testament prescription to regard the day as holy to the Lord.

Jesus, in his disagreement with Pharisees (Mt. 12:1-14, Mk. 2:23-28, Luke. 6:1-11) pointed out to them their misunderstanding of the Old Testament (OT) commands . They had sought to make the observance of Sabbath more rigorous than God had intended . It was not wrong to eat on the Sabbath , even if the food must be obtained by plucking corn from the ears. Nor was it wrong to do good on the Sabbath day. To heal was the work of mercy, and the Lord of the Sabbath is merciful ( ref: Jn. 5:1-18, Lk 13:10-17, 14:1-6)

Vs 25-26: Jesus emphasizes the human color of divine commandment. For this he cited the Old Testament(1 Sam. 30:7). Exodus 20; 8-11 exhorts the same humanitarian emphasis. In Vs 11 it is stated that the Sabbath belongs to the Lord. Here we can see an inseparable adhesion between the divine plan and the human life. The Israel, former slaves of Egypt, must show the mercy of Sabbath towards their servants in the promised land.

Vs 24: Pharisees criticizes the disciples. They could not see the intent of the disciples. Just made comments on what they did outwardly .

We may be strict in personal disciplines, religious and social rules. It is well and good. But due to our aggressiveness in the implementation of these life codes if we neglect the human dimension, then it is against the merciful Lord of Sabbath.

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