Tuesday, June 28, 2011

John 5:16. The Sabbath

So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him.

At this stage all Jesus had done was to tell the man to pick up his bed and walk on the Sabbath, but the language technocrats tell me that the tenses used here suggest that the battle lines between the Jews and Jesus had already been drawn over Sabbath observance by part of the story that John omits.

We have to recognize that Sabbath observance is one of those old things that was being replaced by the new.

How does this reflect on today's society? Some years ago the Keep Sunday Special campaign fought a partially effective battle against Sunday degenerating in just another day of the week. I was half-hearted about this because although I perceived some merit in the case, I do not believe from Scripture that our Sunday equates to the Jewish Sabbath with all its restrictions and Laws.

The sabbath was made for man; not man for the sabbath. It is good that the working week is broken up one day in seven. Work is good for men, but so is rest, and we need time to contemplate and think, that is not compromised by physical activity. In the same way, those whose work is sedentary need time for physical activity. I cannot blame my son whose job is about sitting in an office or a car or an airplane, taking time to play cricket on a Sunday.

Societies that have tried a 10 day week have found that it is not satisfactory. Nor is it possible in modern society to shut down power generators every 7 days and the devices that some modern Jews use to avoid 'work' on the Sabbath are ridiculous.

I am pleased that we don't have to work on a Sunday and that there is time to go to church, but in a Muslim society where Friday is the Holy day I would have no problem in calling Friday my Sunday and using it in the same way that I do in the UK. Perhaps we would not sing 'This is the day' but every day is a good day for worship and being close to God.

No comments: