Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Tuesday after the Festival of the Transfiguration of our Lord

Posted on February 4, 2020 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: St. Matthew 12:1-21 (NKJV)
12:1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!”
3 But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? 6 Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. 7 But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
9 Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. 10 And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—that they might accuse Him.
11 Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? 12 Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other.
14 Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.
15 But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all. 16 Yet He warned them not to make Him known, 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:
18 “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He will declare justice to the Gentiles.
19 He will not quarrel nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench, till He sends forth justice to victory;
21 And in His name Gentiles will trust.”
So what’s the big deal with the Sabbath? To understand the Sabbath, and to understand what is going on in the Divine Service is to understand the difference between a Holy God and sinful man.
Regardless of what any atheist tries to tell you, people know there is a God. Paul makes that clear in the first chapter of Romans. The natural inclination of man is to think it is up to him to please God, or better stated, to please the god he creates for himself. That thought process can carry over to Christians when it comes to Sunday morning. Because our sinful nature is selfish, it is easy to think about what you are doing for God, rather than what God is doing for you.
But as our Lord said, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). The Sabbath of the Old Testament, and by extension the Sunday Divine Service we celebrate in the New Testament era of the Church, are the times God would have us receive from Him His gifts of forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-20). Indeed, God draws us to Himself so that we can have real rest from the worries of this life.
We pray: Heavenly Father, for Jesus’ sake grant unto us the peace that the world cannot give. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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