Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
The Work of Jesus
When I was a youth attending Schoeneck Moravian Church in the mid-1970s, I can recall each student in my confirmation class being assigned one of the Ten Commandments. My assigned commandment was “Remember the Sabbath . . . you shall not do any work” (Exodus 20:8).
What is interesting is that on the Sabbath, Jesus was busy teaching in the synagogue. Was that considered work? While Jesus was teaching, a crippled woman appeared before him (Luke 13:11). Jesus called to the woman and spoke these words: “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” Then Jesus “laid his hands on her,” and she was immediately healed. Was that work? Yes, it was, according to the leader of the synagogue.
Jesus’ actions were indeed considered work and were therefore offensive in the eyes of the law. I suspect that since she had lived with this ailment for eighteen years, Jesus could have waited one more day to heal her. But he didn’t. Jesus took time out of his Sabbath to teach and to heal a neighbor in need.
The Sabbath should not just be a day off from work; it should be a day dedicated to praising God. That is what Jesus did on the Sabbath. He praised God by teaching God’s Holy Word and by showing love to a neighbor in need. These two acts of worship were not deeds for self-satisfaction, but were done to glorify God.
What does glorifying God look like for you? We are called to find our Sabbath—a day for showing grace, mercy, and love, and a day for doing good. The Sabbath is a day to focus on Jesus, who said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Mark Newman, pastor, Newfoundland Moravian Church