Today’s Reading: Small Catechism: Third Commandment
Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy. (Small Catechism: Third Commandment)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. God wasn’t tired after making everything. The Sabbath isn’t a chance to parrot God’s catching His breath. The focus on abstaining from work on the Sabbath Day misses the point. The point of the commandment is in the word “holy.” You will not be holier by sitting on the couch eating junk food. Jesus insists that the Sabbath was created for man, not man for the Sabbath, because this day was not given as a measuring stick for you to prove yourself to God by. . . doing nothing. It only serves to prove how sinful we are that we somehow fail at even doing nothing to the point that the Pharisees would pick at each other and even at our Lord. Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy. Instead of looking to your works, look to something actually holy. Look to Jesus.
The Sabbath Day won’t become holy to you who are unholy in your sins. There’s nothing you can do to make the day holy. It’s like trying to clean a table with a dirty rag. The Sabbath Day becomes holy for you when you’re exposed to something holy. The Sabbath Day becomes holy to you when you do not despise preaching or God’s Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it. Go to church. Receive God’s gifts. He insists that a day be set aside to make you holy. The reason God set aside the seventh day wasn’t because He was tired. It was so God could spend time with you. Our rest is found in receiving the Word and Sacraments that take away our sins and leave us holy.
It’s also why we celebrate the Sabbath on the first day of the week, not the seventh. This is the day Jesus rose from the grave. This is the day a holy God conquered unholy sin and death. It isn’t about the day. It’s about the gifts. He gives you His Body and Blood to eat and drink. He gives you His Word, promising peace, forgiveness, and joy. He sets aside time and insists that you join Him so you will not remain in your unholiness and sin. He would dwell with you to cleanse you and bring you with Him to the last great day when the Sabbath rest will be unending. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
“You shall observe the worship day That peace may fill your home, and pray, And put aside the work you do, So that God may work in you.” Have mercy, Lord! (“These are the Holy Ten Commands” LSB 581, st.4)
-Rev. Harrison Goodman is content executive for Higher Things.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Discover new insights from each line of the Psalms in Engaging the Psalms: A Guide for Reflection and Prayer. Read, repeat, and return to the Lord as you walk through all 150 Psalms. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.