Friday, February 19, 2010

God's Economy:A Sabbath Heart

In my last post, I spent some time digging into John 5, where Jesus heals the lame man at the Pool of Bethesda. When it comes to Jesus performing miracles of healing, we tend to examine the obvious common denominators. Often the recipients of such miracles had to personally exercise a degree of faith and obey some sort of command.

“Pick up your mat and walk,” (John 5:11)

“Stand up in front of everyone,” (Mark 3:3) “

“Go…Wash in the Pool of Siloam.” (john 9:7)

“Go and show yourselves to the priests.” (Luke 17:14)

However, another commonality can be found in that 7 of Jesus’ healings were performed on the Sabbath. This of course, was something that infuriated the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, who were more interested in religious legalism and personal position than their relationship with God and helping other people. So much so, that their hearts were so hard that they ignored the acts of God being done among them, and instead focused on the Jewish law, by which they maintained their superiority.

The fact that Jesus’ 7 different healings occurring on the Sabbath are recorded in scripture (John 5, Mark 1:21-28, Mark 1:29-31, Mark 3:1-6, John 9:1-16, Luke 13:10-7, and Luke 14: 1-6) is not some random coincidence I am sure. Throughout the entire scripture, the number 7 is the number of spiritual perfection or completeness.

So why did Jesus choose to heal people on the Sabbath when he knew it went against Jewish law? I think that Jesus was making a statement about the kingdom and about living in His economy, compared to living in man’s economy. He was showing a contrast of the different hearts involved. The Pharisees prided themselves on how well they kept the Law. Jesus was unimpressed, because Jesus is more interested in our hearts. He himself told the Pharisees that the greatest commandment in the law was,

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments"

(Matthew 22:37-40 NIV).

Jesus is certainly interested in our obedience. He tells us in John 14:23, “"If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.” However, he wants our obedience to be motivated by the right things. The Pharisees were motivated by their desire to glorify themselves. Their obedience was not out of love for God. They couldn’t even recognize God standing right before them!

Jesus performed miracles of healing on the Sabbath to show us what really honoring the Lord on the Sabbath, or any day for that matter, is all about. Doing that which glorifies God by showing love and compassion for others.

So how does this all fit in to a post that’s supposed to be about finances? Well, here’s what I think...

The Pharisees worshipped their money and position. They did what they felt made them look good in the sight of men, but in God’s economy, they were spiritually bankrupt. In our culture today, I think many people, whether they recognize it or not worship money and position as well. We may give to help others, but do we have the appropriate motivation?

Is it rooted in love for God or in “being seen by men?”

Are we good stewards of “our money” or God’s money?

Are we living for today, or are we living for THE day. (When we stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. (2 Cor, 5:10) )

In the throws of a “crippling” economy, Jesus stands ready to heal. Will we trust God and do what he instructs or will we allow the pride and self centeredness that exists in a materialistic society keep us from recognizing our greatest treasure?

Jesus’ work of healing was complete (remember the number 7?), when he freed us from the Law once and for all and made it possible for us to live in the Spirit.

He reminds us that honoring the Sabbath is about doing that which reminds us of and restores to us to our true identity as heirs of the kingdom of God.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:21



Sharon Sloan said...

Great, thoughtful post! His Word is a rich treasure!

I want to be a good steward over God's money and live for THE day!

"Everything under heaven belongs to Me." Job 41:11

christschild said...

This is a great post...and so true. Our treasure is in Heaven! I want to do good with what God has blessed me and my family with also. Doing His will is most important.

Nancy said...


This is great insight, especially in today's economy when there are so many messages that are purely prosperity-focused. God is love, and I believe love's opposite is selfishness. When the Pharisees acted out of selfishness, they certainly weren't "honoring the Sabbath and keeping it holy." And neither can we honor God if our motives are selfish, no matter how "godly" our actions may appear.

Thanks for directing me to your blog. Well said!

Nancy M.

Edie said...

Excellent post Stacy! I love the information about the number of times Jesus healed on the Sabbath. I never knew that before. Nothing is "random coincidence" with God.

Our obedience is proof of our love for Christ, not a prerequisite for salvation as the Pharisees made it.

With all that is occurring in this nation, I think you hit the nail on the head with this. "Are we good stewards of “our money” or God’s money?" Saying it's God's money and living like it is are very different. Living like it is His isn't easy but it's right.

Matthew 6:33 "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you."

aims said...

Thank you, Stacey! This post ministered to me in many ways.

Alyssa said...

I liked what you said about Jesus’ work of healing being complete when he freed us from the Law once and for all and made it possible for us to live in the Spirit. It makes me think of Galatians 5:1-7.

Like Paul says in Galatians 1:10, I think it all comes down to, who are we trying to please?

I learn more from you everyday :)