Sermon for Pentecost 2 – 6.2.24

+ 2nd Sunday after Pentecost – June 2nd, 2024 +

Series B: Deuteronomy 5:12-15; 2 Corinthians 4:5-12; Mark 2:23-28, 3:1-6

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church

Milton, WA

 

“Jesus Is Your Sabbath Rest”

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirt. Amen.

 

In 6 days, God created the heavens and the earth. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

 

Ever wonder why God rested? He wasn’t tired, worn out, or weary. God rested from his work of creation to provide a place and time for his people to rest in Him. In his word. In his promises. In his gracious providing. To give rest in body and soul. To preserve life. God didn’t need the rest but he knows we do. Sabbath was a blessing, a gift.

 

That’s the Sabbath day before Genesis 3 and sin, devil, and death creep into God’s very good creation. But even then, after Genesis 3, Sabbath was God’s gift, made for man to rest in his promises, provision, and peace – to point forward to the Sabbath rest won by Jesus crucified on the 6th day and rested on the 7th day for you. God’s gift of Sabbath in the Scriptures was a day where the Lord calls us to himself to receive his gifts and to give you rest in Jesus.

 

And yet, even after Genesis 3, we see fallen, sinful man always finds a way to ruin God’s good gifts. To take and twist God’s blessing – and turning them into burdens.

 

That’s what’s happening in Mark 2 and 3 this morning. A Sabbath Day showdown between Jesus and the Pharisees. Round one …the Pharisees spied Jesus’ disciples walking through the fields, plucking and eating grain. According to Deuteronomy, the poor were allowed to pick grain left on the edges of the field. For the Pharisees, however, it wasn’t what the disciples were doing, it was when that was the problem. Why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?

 

You get the idea that the Pharisees would not have been all that fun to hang out with. Always score-keeping, measuring their holiness, walking around with their legal notepads taking making sure no one steps out of line; it’s all very self-righteous. And harvesting grain was just one of the 39 types of work forbidden on the Sabbath day. But of course whenever we point the finger at the Pharisees, we point out our own sinful, self-righteous ways too. There’s a little Pharisee in each of us that Jesus is constantly calling to repentance and restoring in forgiveness as well.

 

Jesus, being a good teacher, replies with a question of his own. Haven’t you guys read your Old Testament? Don’t you remember how David ate the bread of the presence in the tabernacle when he was on the run from Saul? You guys got it all wrong. The Sabbath wasn’t about regulations and rule-keeping, but rest and restoration in my word. It’s supposed to be a blessing, not a burden. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 

 

If David did not violate the Law when he ate the bread of the presence, certainly, then neither Jesus nor his disciples are violating the Law as God gave it. Rather, the Son of Man who is David’s Son and David’s Lord is the one who decides what the Sabbath day is and what it means: it is for man; a day of rest for God’s people. Don’t tell me what the Sabbath is; I’m the one who wrote it! It’s me, God in the flesh. I am here and so is my kingdom. The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath. And Jesus gives the Sabbath for resting in and receiving his good gifts.

 

Round two…Jesus is in the synagogue. On the Sabbath. There’s a man with a withered hand. And the Pharisees? They don’t care for the man. No compassion. They’re perched like a kettle of holier than thou hawks watching Jesus. Waiting to see what he’ll do. Their accusations knocked like arrows.

 

Jesus knows their game, so he plays one of his own. He invites the man with the withered hand. Publicly. Loudly, I imagine. Come here!

What do you guys think? Is it lawful to do good or harm, save or kill on the Sabbath (to love the neighbor by healing on the Sabbath) or not?

 

Silence. They couldn’t answer. Wouldn’t answer. That would mean Jesus was right about the Sabbath and all their self-righteousness was wrong. Notice Jesus’ response. Anger and grief. Why? Their hard-heartedness. Their lack of compassion. They’d exchanged God’s gift of righteousness for self-righteousness. in trying to keep God’s Law they fell into legalism. In trying to measure their own righteousness they neglected God’s mercy. They turned the Sabbath day blessing into a burden. A time of resting in God’s word to a time of recounting their own righteousness. A gift into a grind.

 

Jesus healed the man. The Lord of the Sabbath rest brought a Sabbath restoration. A down payment of what he had come to do in his own great Sabbath rest in the tomb after his death and before his resurrection on the third day.

 

The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him. This whole scene is drenched in irony. The Pharisees – champions of the Law – actually miss the whole point of God’s Law. The Sabbath day blessing became a burden. They’re concerned about Jesus healing and preserving life on the Sabbath while they begin to plot to kill Jesus on that very Sabbath.

 

This Sabbath day showdown leads us to Calvary. To the cross and grave and risen Jesus. On the 6th day of the week. A Friday. Good Friday. God finished His labors for man. On Good Friday, God, who this time took on our image, took on our humanity, completed His great work of Salvation. And by His blood, He paid the price for our sin. And bore in his body on the cross all our pride, self-righteousness, and sin. All the guilt and shame heaped on others and on ourselves. All heaped on him who knew no sin and yet was made sin for you.

 

And then on the 7th day, the Sabbath day, the Son of God rested. They laid Him in the tomb just before evening fell. Jesus did no work on that day. Because the work of love was already done. He had loved His Father with heart, soul, and mind. He had loved His neighbor as Himself. Jesus had sacrificed everything for you. That day right there. That day between Good Friday and Easter. That’s why God gave the Sabbath. That’s why God gave us rest. Because now, we rest from our sin. Now, we rest from our death. Now we rest from our war against God. It is finished.

 

And for you, people loved by God, there is an eternal Sabbath rest that awaits. A day when burdens will be gone, and only blessing. A day of eternal gift. A day of rest and restoration in the resurrection of the body and  the new creation.

 

Until that Day, Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath, gives us days and times and spaces and moments of rest here in this life:

 

As you read God’s word daily He gives you Sabbath rest in his promises

As you confess your sins and receive absolution, he gives you Sabbath rest for in forgiveness.

As you live each day in your Baptism, he gives you Sabbath rest

As you kneel at his table, he gives you Sabbath rest in his body and blood.

Here in his house, in his word, in water, bread and wine, he gives you Sabbath rest in his gifts.

 

Today, and every day, Jesus is your Sabbath rest.

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977