“[They were] indignant because Jesus healed on the Sabbath.”
Luke 13:14 (NIV)
Some of us were raised in a day and society when our kind of Christians had many rules to follow. We could not read the comics on Sunday, we could not get into our play clothes and go out with our friends on Sunday, we could not do very many things at all on Sunday. The general idea was that if we obeyed all these rules we would be good Christians and pleasing to God.
Sadly, no one ever could tell us why it was “sinful” on Sunday to read something amusing. Nowhere in the Bible was it recorded that children should not play with their friends on Sunday.
Jesus lived in such a restrictive culture in His day. How to obey the commandment to keep the Sabbath holy was a source of all kinds of debate. The teachers of the law taught many rules to keep and never used the Scriptures to support their teaching.
For example no one could fetch a bucket of water from the well using a rope. But if you used your belt instead of a rope it was OK. Physicians could never help a patient on the Sabbath unless the person would die if they did not intervene. This was the very thing that got Jesus very upset.
In the context of our verse today, Jesus told off the teachers who criticized Him for healing the woman who had suffered for so many years from her illness. He rightly pointed out that they all would lead their ox or donkey out of the stall to have a drink of water and slake their thirst on the Sabbath. So, why not relieve a person’s suffering on the Sabbath.
Jesus rightly indicated that we are much greater worth than an animal in God’s sight. Does not God care for us as much as the animals we own? Of course He does and He desires to have our needs met every day of the week. The Sabbath is not defiled because we work to meet others needs on that day.
God wishes us to be refreshed and relaxed on Sunday even more than on any other day of the week. He planned for people to have a day in seven for rest and refreshment. We may work hard the rest of the week but Sunday is for us to enjoy as we wish. Certainly worship of God and doing acts of mercy are especially good on Sunday. That goes without saying. However let us not spoil our “day off” from regular work with rules that destroy the very plan God had for the day.
Some dear people I meet with have given up on worship on Sunday because of childhood teaching about Sunday and how to keep it. They sensed from their religious instructors that God is a spoilsport and wants us miserable on Sunday.
If you were not taught that Sunday is a day to rest and recreate yourself, but rather it is a day to obey lots of rules that make life miserable see the liberty Jesus gives you to reclaim the day for good and positive things such as worship and praise to God and enjoying His creation how you choose.
Don’t be caught in the trap of the wrong way to do right and give up on your Christianity altogether.