Why do we go to church? Why do we have chapel every week? Why do we have devotions in our classrooms? Have you ever wondered that? Why do we have these things?
In the Gospel I just read, Jesus asked if it’s OK to rescue someone or something that fell into a pit on the Sabbath. Now you’ll immediately shout, “YES!”...but not so fast! The people he was talking to thought nobody should work on the Sabbath day, Saturday. In fact, they thought that was all the Sabbath day was all about: Take a day off, and do nothing.
Is that what it’s all about? If we only read The Ten Commandments in Exodus, we might think so, because all God mentions with The Third Commandment is that He created all things in 6 days and then rested on the seventh. But is that everything?
No. In Deuteronomy, Moses restates The Ten Commandments. When he gets to The Third Commandment, he doesn’t mention Creation. He mentions The Exodus–when God led Israel out of Egypt. That’s the rest of the story!
But what does that mean? God wanted them to remember what He did for them through The Exodus. That was His big saving act in the Old Testament. They were to remember that on the Sabbath day. That means God’s Word would be spoken. They were to hear and believe it. What does that mean for today?
Jesus wants us to hear His Word. That’s what the Sabbath day is all about. He wants us to hear it more than just once a week too. Why? Because He wants to tell us all the time about His great New Testament saving act. What’s that? It’s Him dying for you! It’s Him rising for you! Why does He want you to hear it?
Because you’re a sinner! You have no way to do what God wants you to do all the time. You deserve to be punished for that forever. But Jesus was punished for you instead. How does you get that for yourself? We come to hear God’s Word feeling bad about our sins. Jesus takes those bad feelings from us and gives us joy. He forgives us. He tells us He has taken care of our sins. He tells us He loves us. And that gives us rest.