” Then he [Jesus] said to them,’The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27
The Pharisees, who were legalistic to the extreme, couldn’t understand whyJesus did not obey all the intricate laws that had been established about what could and could not be done on the day of rest- Sabbath. Over time, the laws given to Moses about remembering the Sabbath and keeping it holy had evolved into volumes of commentaries of dos and don’ts.
We are no different today. Different denominations have different rules. Even non-denominational places of worship do. Some only have Holy Commuion with juice, others wine, others just wafers. Some celebrate it every Sunday and others only a few times a year. Some allow dancing or clapping, others do not. Some allow women to wear make up or slacks- some do not. Some celebrate on Sunday, others Saturday. The list goes on and on. It is easy to get bogged down in the rules and ceremonial ways of doing things. But when that happens, it clouds our view of the One we are there to celebrate- our Lord.
I think what Jesus meant is that God gave us the 4th Commandment to have a day of rest and reflection knowing we would need it in order to get back on track with Him and to rejuvenuate our souls and our bodies. He designed it for us to focus on Him, not a bunch of man-made rules. Tradition and ceremony are both wonderful, but not if they become emphasized more than the Lord Himself. The Holy Spirit does not dwell in rules and practices, He dwells in the hearts of the worshippers.
Dear Lord, let me not get so caught up in how I worship that I ignore that it is You whom I am worshipping. Let me not judge others who choose to praise You with joyful hearts in ways I do not. Forgive me if I concentrate too much on the dos and don’ts instead of Your Commandments. Fill me with the joy of Your presence and renew a right Spirit within me. For it is Your sacrifice I come to honor and Your grace and mercy I come to celebrate with thanksgiving and awe. Amen.
“Yet a time will come and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.” John 4:23