Lord of the Sabbath

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Why was Luke written? To give us certainty (1.4).

The Big Idea in Luke: Jesus offers radical acceptance to unacceptable people.

The Big Idea in 6.1-11: Jesus claims authority to tell us how to live.

1. Jesus defines what is right (v1-5)

2. Jesus does what is right (v6-11)

Here are some further readings, resources, and questions to help you & your family further apply Luke 6.1-11 to your lives (NB: please listen to the sermon first before working through these):

-What beliefs do you hold on the following topics? What/who defines those beliefs (Jesus or someone/something else - if so who/what)? If you are a parent, how are you modelling to your children who your authority is & who they should look to to define right & wrong?

Forgiveness; sin; repentance; social action; unplanned pregnancy; care for the elderly; gossip; the Old Testament; marriage; parenting; make a list of some other topics.

-Jesus exposes 'religious' thinking in this account. What are some areas of life in which you are guilty of 'box-ticking'? E.g. prayer, reading Scripture, church attendance, small group membership, giving, forgiveness (i.e. 'I only need to forgive them if they ask me to forgive them'), learning doctrine & theology

-How would you define 'hypocrisy' to a child. In what sense hypocrisy normal for Christians? In what sense is it condemned? How would you define 'repentance' to a child? Is repentance of sin modelled in your life & home?

Here are some related texts to look up and read, for further study:

Luke 10 (The Good Samaritan),

Isaiah 58,

1 Samuel 21,

Deuteronomy 23

Zechariah chapters 7-8

Further reading on the Sabbath:

1) Here is a long quotation from A.G. Shead (Lecturer in Old Testament at Moore Theological College in Sydney) writing in the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology (Inter-Varsity Press, 2000), on the theme of the Sabbath in the Bible:

'…In its original setting, the fourth commandment [to observe the Sabbath] anticipated rest by prescribing rest, so that one kept the Sabbath by resting. However, the command soon escaped these confines, in part through it role as a sign of the whole law, and in part through the failure of Israel to find rest in the land. The stress in [the Old Testament] prophets on faithfulness as the heart of Sabbath observance was taken up in the New Testament, but there it was viewed in the light of what Jesus had done. As God's perfect human, Jesus lived the Sabbath day for God, releasing his fellow humans from bondage, bringing them into blessing, and at the last entering himself into God's rest. Ultimately, as Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus made it possible for others to follow him into that rest. This means that the Christian's task is no longer to keep the Sabbath (Jesus has done that already) but to believe in him.

'In its final setting, then, the fourth commandment is no longer a commandment for God's people, but its intent remains. The 'law of Christ' anticipates rest by prescribing belief, but now rest has been realized….

'…we are convinced that there is no theological connection between Sabbath and Sunday, despite occasional attempts to prove the contrary. There are hints in the New Testament that the first day of the week was set aside for evening worship, including the Lord's Supper (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16.2); Revelation 1.10 refers to 'the Lord's Day'. There is, however, absolutely no indication either that the 'first day' replaced the 'Sabbath day' in practice (the first Jewish Christians continued to attend the synagogue on the Sabbath), or that there was a transfer of Sabbath theology to Sunday worship. The Sabbath was a day of rest rather than a day of worship, and Sunday became a day of worship but was not initially a day of rest. Regularity, for which the seven-day week provided a ready-made framework, distinguishes (Sunday) worship (e.g. Heb. 10:25); completion, which was (and is) a final goal, distinguishes the Seventh Day. The Sabbath day, then, was a sign of this eschatological [i.e. end-time] rest, whereas Sunday is not presented in the New Testament as a sign of anything, despite its connection to the Resurrection. It is simply a well-chosen day upon which to gather to encourage one another in daily, unceasing striving to enter the Sabbath rest (Heb. 4:11). The only gathering which can truly be described as 'sabbatical' is the gathering of the bond-servants [i.e. servants of Jesus Christ] who will reign with the Lamb for ever in the New Creation (Rev. 22:3-6).'

2) We must also, of course, pay heed to Scripture's command to be sensitive to the 'weaker brother' (see Romans 14). For some Christians, strict resting on Sundays is held to be very important. This means that, on the one hand, we must be clear that it is only by Jesus' work that we can be right with God (not by whether or not we rest on Sundays). But on the other hand, we must be sensitive to the fact that some Christians may find it unhelpful to hear that others have been, for instance, shopping, or working a weekend shift.

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