Mission of the Messiah – Chapter 5 Sabbath Controversies

Dr. Gray makes a solid case that Jesus’ actions and healings on the sabbath are likely deliberate and not coincidental. The people approaching Jesus for healing do so at times other than the sabbath, as they would understand that healing would not be permitted during the sabbath. As Gray points out, the healings that do take place on the Sabbath are ones that Jesus initiates, placing him in direct conflict with the traditional observance of Jewish laws. Gray states, “The reason Jesus heals on the sabbath is not to enrage or even to tweak the Pharisees and their followers, but rather to highlight the sabbath-significance of His mission.” In setting himself up as “Lord of the sabbath”, Jesus gives profound insight and places emphasis on our own observance of this day which is set apart from the others. How do we approach the Lord’s day? Is it a time to recall our release from sin and to celebrate our salvation?

– Deacon Ralph

I found this chapter to be very interesting and a bit eye-opening regarding the way the holiness of the Sabbath day is unfolded. The comparison between David and Jesus was important. But even more so, for me, was the explanation of why Jesus initiated healings on that day, during which only ‘rest’ was to occur. Keeping that day holy takes on an entirely greater significance and meaning when understood as not just release from bondage to Egypt but release from the slavery of sin and the evil one. It’s bigger. It’s bolder. And it’s deeper and richer. Jesus opens the Scriptures for us here (again) and forces us to look beyond literal interpretation and understanding (like the Pharisees) so that we can see the big picture and the mission as it is revealed.

– Mary

 Feel free to comment on any of the questions below, those found at the end of this chapter or on this chapter in general.

  • What can we learn from the Jewish observance of Sabbath?
  • What does Sunday look like in your household today?
  • What obstacles are there in keeping holy the Lord’s Day?

Share your thoughts!